Is Marble Good for an Antique Fireplace Surround?

Since antiquity, the fireplace has been a core element of any home. It has provided humanity with light in the evenings, warmth during the cold winter days, and allowed us to cook delicious meals. Nowadays, innovation has made the more functional characteristics of the fireplace no longer required due to cheaper and more efficient alternatives for cooking and heating. However, no one can deny the aesthetic presence and the impact a fireplace can have on a room. 

There are countless options for fireplaces, but one that has stood the test of time is using a marble fireplace surround. Marble is a highly versatile material that was particularly popular in ancient Greece and Rome. Many of their intricate and imposing marble statues and columns are still in pristine condition and can be admired even today. When it comes to fireplace surrounds, marble offers considerable advantages compared to other alternatives, but to get the most out of it, people must consider several of the material’s intrinsic features. 

The Benefits of Marble

Marble exudes sophisticated air and brings a lot of class to a room. A fireplace surround made of the material becomes a timeless piece that will surely attract the attention of any family and friends you bring over for a party. It can also fit all kinds of homes – a marble surround can be applied with equal effect in homes going for a particular historical period or a contemporary room following the latest interior design trends. 

Furthermore, marble comes in numerous colours, allowing people to find the right fit to match the existing color theme. Due to its versatility, marble can be shaped into smooth, clean designs or used to create highly decorated pieces, giving even more options to pick the perfect one according to personal preferences or design ideas. 

What makes marble a particularly appropriate choice for a fireplace surround is that it is extremely heat resistant. In practical terms, this means that any debris or embers that might pop out will not cause any combustion when coming in contact with the marble, reducing the chances of accidental fires. 

Marble Peculiarities

As a material, marble is rather strong, has significant durability, and boasts incredible heat resistance, but it is also a type of porous stone. Do not underestimate this fact, or you might risk ruining your newly installed marble surround rather quickly. Porous substances are prone to staining, and marble is not an exception. Thus, if there is a lot of traffic moving close to the fireplace or you have little kids or pets, you should take necessary precautions to safeguard the condition of the fireplace. 

While the marble surround will most definitely become the focal point of the room and the favourite place to hang out during a gathering, some practical aspects should not be ignored. For example, marble takes a lot of space, and even decorative surrounds could be significantly larger than other fireplace types. This means that the chosen room must have sufficient free space to install a marble surround.

Practical Advice For Cleaning Marble

The three main culprits for staining an actively used marble fireplace surround are smoke, soot, and ash. The best way to ensure the material’s longevity is to maintain it regularly. Keep in mind that prevention is always the better option than having to deal with the problem afterward. 

When it comes to soot accumulation, clean the fireplace and its surround each time you light a fire. Naturally, having enough time for a full cleaning every time is not realistic, but a quick wipe to remove any soot and dust residue should still suffice. The same also applies to ash – you should strive to clean the fireplace after each use. 

As for how to clean it, using a soft brush and plenty of warm water should do the trick! For particularly dirty or smoky areas, you can also try applying mild soap. Just make sure no soapy residue is left on the marble as it could damage its surface over time. 

In general, if you act quickly enough, most stains should not present a problem. However, if the liquid or smoke has been left for a prolonged period of time and has managed to permeate deeply into the marble, it may be necessary to call an expert instead of trying any homebrew methods. 

Photo by Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels