When you hear someone use the term hearth, it generally is being used to refer to the masonry work that covers the floor and chamber inside and around a fireplace or wood burning stove. This masonry construction is designed to allow for ashes, embers, and flaming piece of wood that may fall or rollout of the fireplace or stove to fall on stone rather than on flammable materials such as wood or carpet. The word hearth may also, in many contexts, indicate the fireplace as a whole and abstractly has come to represent the warmth and safety of a family unit. There are many different types and styles for hearths but they all help our family stay safe and warm while enjoying a roaring fire in the chilly fall and winter months.
Hearths are generally constructed from stone, brick, cement, or tile. “Hearth materials may come in a variety of colors and styles. Rustic-looking fireplaces may use hewn rock. Contemporary fireplace design may incorporate limestone, marble, sandstone, or even synthetic composite products. Each has a different level of heat resistance, and some materials are better than others, depending on the intended use of a fireplace or wood-burning stove” (WiseGeek). However, here at Wharfe Valley Hearths, we were the first UK company to think outside the box. That’s when we started to sell Glass Hearths for stoves
It may cover part or all of the wall around a fireplace, as well as the floor in front of it. Many hearth designs also feature a mantle above the fireplace which traditionally is used to display photos and other décor ad to hand stocking on at Christmas time. For wood stoves, the hearth may be simple tile, stone, or ceramic slab that the stove sits on. The slab will extend for a few inches around all sides of the stove to catch falling ashes and embers.
Traditionally, hearths came to be because any people did their cooking on and around the fireplace and needed a flat safe place to put pots and pans without catching the floor on fire. Also, many buildings and homes were once heated with wood stoves and fireplaces and hearths allowed for the heat to be held in the room and also gave families a place to site close to the warmth without the risk of being burned. Everyone from the rich to the poor had hearths if they had fireplaces or stoves but naturally the more well-off a family was the nicer their fireplace and hearth would be so for some a nice hearth was a sign of social status as well as a practical way to stay warm and a place to prepare food.
Hearths come in many shapes and sizes, and are made using a variety of building materials. Larger ones are often found in larger homes with large living rooms in order to give more area for the family to gather around the fireplace. Hearths today are often considered to be a key interior design element for a room, especially up north where fireplaces are common. The visual impact that a fireplace and tile or stone hearth can give is a popular design choice in modern designs and constructions, making them a popular option that more and more homeowners are including in their home’s design and décor.