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What is your preference? Slate, Ceramic, Marble or Granite

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by jeffatus, Sep 30, 2006.

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  1. jeffatus

    jeffatus Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2005
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Southeast Michigan
    I am going to install a woodstove (steel plate, if it matters) in my basement shortly. I am looking to hear your preferences on what to put the stove on....slate, marble, ceramic or granite. Here is my take on it, please feel free to disagree (that's why I am posting):

    Ceramic.......may be the cheapest, but way too easy to chip. I don't really see as an option.

    Marble.........more expensive, but is it too fancy looking for a steel stove in a basement? Seems easy to clean off ash spillage as well, a plus if that's the case. Will this one hold up and not stain or leave burn marks from hot ash?

    Slate............This one, I think, looks the part (i.e. rustic). Will it chip too easily or be hard to clean up the ash? If it can be cleaned once a month with a bucket of soapy water and scrub brush, that will work. But I am still woried about the breakage. The price seems reasonable.

    Granite.........price may be the deciding factor with this one. It's pricey but will, I am sure, hold up just fine. I could only justify the price if the others really don't compare in durability/cleaning.

    Please let me know your thoughts.

    thanks
    jeff

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    South Puget Sound, WA
    How will the hearth be used? Just for the stove to set on, or will it be a place tough enough to flake off a small split or two with a hatchet?

    Ceramic - Cheap tile is not appropriate, but a good porcelain tile with the color all the way through it should work fine.

    Marble - I wouldn't use this, especially if polished. Surface can be very sensitive, especially to an acids

    Slate - Yes, there are several nice install pics on the site that have been done with slate. Just be sure to use a good quality or it will constantly be flaking

    Granite - Nice, with a wide range of options, colors and finishes. My friend did his gas stove install with granite and it is stunning. Granite is very durable.

    Other options - Lots of other flat stone, brick, paver stones would also work. The main thing is to install it correctly and have a very ridgid bed so that there is no flexing of the hearth surface.
  3. jeffatus

    jeffatus Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Southeast Michigan
    I guess I will try to be careful with the stove and whatever stone/tile I put down, but I want something that will be able to take the abuse of me dropping a log or the fire-poker on it. I like the idea of slate, but I am concerned about the chipping (the shards that seem to pop off). I did not know there was different grades of it, I guess that makes sense. But if the price goes up too much for the good quality slate, I might as well spring for the granite.

    One thing I have not thought of that you mentioned was some sort of field stone. I could care less about having square tiles to lay down, and I actually like the idea of a more natural/uneven look.

    thanks for the help.

    jeff
  4. BikeMedic2709

    BikeMedic2709 New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    North-Central Ohio
    I like the idea of fieldstone. If/when I build mine I will go with the fieldstone. The rugged weathered look with a nice new stove is just awesome.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Fieldstone would look deadly nice. Go for it.
  6. DriftWood

    DriftWood Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2006
    Messages:
    718
    Loc:
    Bluewater Area, Great Lakes
    On My Hearth and Surround chose a natural stone slate, really Quartzite it is from China, is easy to cut with a stone saw,durable, cleans up easily and ash dose not show on it. I got the stone tile at The Tile Shop its is called Boading Cream tumbled .
  7. cbrodsky

    cbrodsky Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Millbrook, NY
    Here's ours in slate... the slate on the surround is 1/2" african "Silverblue" variety. This would be plenty durable for the floor. Our floor used simple blue/gray NY 1/4" slate to help us keep it level with the wood floor. I have dropped some hearth tools and never chipped it, but I would suspect it would be easier to damage or see a chip on this as compared to the 1/2" stuff on the wall that has a more rustic cleft to it. Since the surface isn't polished, a chip wouldn't show very easily, and being a natural material, the color/pattern goes all the way through.

    One point about slate - you almost always seal it to ease the grout install cleanup - in fact, this will be something to consider carefully for any rough surface natural stone install you might consider. As a result, it's very easy to cleanup. We found a nice matte sealer at our tile shop that worked well, albeit very pricey - something like $40 for a pint! But that did the whole job. Then, after grouting, I'd seal that as well. It makes cleanup a cinch.

    I think marble is very finicky about what thinsets/grouts etc. you can use and my understanding is it is more prone to breakage - from what I understand, an easy thing to screw up if you don't research it carefully.

    I'd guess rustic granite is probably your toughest option for durability if you have good masonry skills - could look awesome. I'd think that polished granite will chip and show - we have a chip on our counter edge and never dropped hearth tools on it :)

    -Colin

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  8. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    917
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    Deltaville,VA
    Last one I did was Granite with 1/16 inch grout lines. Looked great, easy to clean and durable.
  9. slofr8

    slofr8 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Messages:
    60
    Loc:
    Northern Maine
    ]NY Soapstone,
    where did you get the fire wood rack we see in the picture?
    It looks like the right size and style for us.
    Dan.






    Here's ours in slate... the slate on the surround is 1/2" african "Silverblue" variety. This would be plenty durable for the floor. Our floor used simple blue/gray NY 1/4" slate to help us keep it level with the wood floor. I have dropped some hearth tools and never chipped it, but I would suspect it would be easier to damage or see a chip on this as compared to the 1/2" stuff on the wall that has a more rustic cleft to it. Since the surface isn't polished, a chip wouldn't show very easily, and being a natural material, the color/pattern goes all the way through.

    One point about slate - you almost always seal it to ease the grout install cleanup - in fact, this will be something to consider carefully for any rough surface natural stone install you might consider. As a result, it's very easy to cleanup. We found a nice matte sealer at our tile shop that worked well, albeit very pricey - something like $40 for a pint! But that did the whole job. Then, after grouting, I'd seal that as well. It makes cleanup a cinch.

    I think marble is very finicky about what thinsets/grouts etc. you can use and my understanding is it is more prone to breakage - from what I understand, an easy thing to screw up if you don't research it carefully.

    I'd guess rustic granite is probably your toughest option for durability if you have good masonry skills - could look awesome. I'd think that polished granite will chip and show - we have a chip on our counter edge and never dropped hearth tools on it :)

    -Colin[/quote]
  10. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
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    27,352
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    True woodburner's last will and testiment has to include:

    "Upon the arrival of my ashes from the crematorium, bring the stove up to operating temperature. With full primary air and damper open, the ashes are to be tossed into the the firebox and the door immediately closed.

    This for me will be heaven. Should I be headed the other way, it will conditioning."
  11. cbrodsky

    cbrodsky Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    Messages:
    517
    Loc:
    Millbrook, NY
    We ordered it from Northline Express:

    http://www.northlineexpress.com/detail~PRODUCT_ID~5EN-LR1B.asp

    They also have a slightly longer model that I would have liked, but we don't have the room for it.

    Dylan also mentioned using bluestone - I second that - would look very nice and at least in the northeast, can be had in all sorts of machined sizes and thicknesses. Still, can be very prone to chipping, flaking and scratching - esp. random bluestone. We built our back patio and walks out of it and it will show wear. But it would look really nice for a hearth, and in outdoor applications, that wear gives it nice character over time.

    -Colin
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