You have many choices in price, color, and style when building a marble hearth for your home. You will learn the basics in this article, including: how to install a marble fireplace hearth yourself, average prices for materials and tools when installing a marble fireplace, and some of the main points to consider when taking on such a project. You’ll also learn how to repair burn marks or chips in your existing marble hearth, short of hiring out a stonemason. You can build a marble fireplace mantle or trim for relatively cheap, provided you do your homework. Hopefully this article will be of great help to you in that regard!

Types of Marble

You can find dark marble slabs, green marble, white marble, or antiquated white marble for that “antique” style, which is very popular. Cultured marble is when marble dust is combined with cement. There is limestone marble, which is usually a beige or tan color, and comes from the bottoms of lakes. The green type of marble isn’t actually marble, but Serpentinite, a close facsimile. White marble is technically called Cararra, and is the type used in ancient Greek and Roman statues and temples. Paper marbling utilizes various color patterns blended together to give the material the look and feel of true marble. Faux marbling is the painting of a veneer intended to resemble marble, and is commonly used in projects which might face cost overruns. Breccias are a type of marble created by landslides or cave-ins, famous for its broken look. Also called Breccia Oniciata or Breche Nouvelle. For marble finishes, polished and honed marble facades are the most popular. Polished marble lends a reflective, shiny effect, and honed marble is sanded, for a rougher look with less reflectivity.

Cost of Marble

Marble, on average, costs about $20-$25 per square foot, and is generally purchased in 2×4 foot sheets. The higher end tile can fetch over $100 per square foot. Because of the relatively high cost of marble, many opt to use more inexpensive materials such as granite, travertine, sandstone or slate, all of which can be cheaper than purchasing bulk or even wholesale marble. The reason that both granite and marble can be so expensive is that quarries can be far removed from distributors and retailers. With materials and tile, the cost for building a marble fireplace can run you between $400 and $1,500.

Materials you’ll need

This is a brief overview of the materials and steps you’ll need for building a marble hearth. For setting the tile, you’ll need grout, a grout float, construction adhesive, cementitious backer board, tile spacers and thinset.

The steps for setting marble tile are:

  • Prepare the substrate
  • Dry fit the tile
  • Cut the tile
  • Spread the thinset
  • Set the tile
  • Fill out the field
  • Grout the joints

Marble is a fine accent for nearly any living room, bathroom or sitting room design, and 3/4″ to 1 1/4″ thickness is the standard for marble slabs from which to cut the frame for your hearth. One of the advantages of using marble is that it’s easy to clean. All you have to do is use a damp rag to clean it, and most of the time just a dry dusting rag. Marble is not as durable as granite, so be careful not to drop heavy objects on it, or it may chip or crack.

Repairing damaged marble

Repairing your marble veneer entails using a clear araldite epoxy resin which should be left on until it has hardened completely, then it can be shaved flush with a sharp file or scraper. One marble repair product mentioned on is “Akemi”, which is a two- part Epoxy, a polyester resin and hardner. The hardner consists of benzoyl peroxide. It is a 1,000 transparent knifegrade, which means it is of a thicker, heavy grade. It also comes with a color kit, so it can be matched with any marble tile shade.

There are many aspects to building a marble hearth, and construction materials and steps must be chosen and followed carefully, if you are to render an outstanding decorative veneer for your hearth. Once you have these steps down, and procure the right materials, you’ll be well on your way to having a very attractive and durable surface or mantle for your fireplace.

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