What is a Fireplace Hearth made of?

Everyone can picture a fireplace, minimalist or ornate, with a roaring fire stacked with logs on a cold winters night…but what about the surrounding area of the fireplace hearth?

It’s not something commonly thought of, and in most cases you’ll only ever think of a fireplace hearth if and when you need to buy, replace or repair one.

Below we’ll look at what a fireplace hearth is, why they are necessary, and why the most popular materials for a hearth are brick, granite, stone, marble, and other hard-wearing materials.

What is a Fireplace Hearth made of?

Before we can talk about what a hearth is made of, we should establish precisely what we mean when we say “hearth” and it’s purpose within the home.

What is a fireplace hearth?

In simple terms, the hearth is a fireplace floor. But we’re not just talking about the bottom of the fire, or fire-bed, where you put the logs. A hearth extends into the room and acts as a safety floor and barrier if hot embers spit out from fire. Instead of hitting your carpet, vinyl or wooden floorboards, embers will cool on the hearth.

For this reason, it’s essential to keep the hearth empty and clear. If you decorate it with ornaments, homely items or furniture, a fire could begin quickly and easily if an ember ends up in the wrong place.

A hearth should act as a barrier and you should only ever be on or near the hearth when you’re starting or adjusting your fire. And even when you do, be sure to remain careful.

The purpose of a hearth

Of course hearths can add character and charm to a home, but the primary purpose of a hearth is safety.

Hearths are usually made of strong material that can be exposed to high temperatures without cracking. Most are made of many smaller tiles to increase the strength of the hearth, instead of one big slab. This also facilitates easier repair if one tile happens to crack or chip.

When embers spit out of the fire, they land on the hearth and never come into contact with anything combustible.

They also ensure everyone is kept at a safe distance from the fire.

What is a Fireplace Hearth made of?

Whatever a hearth is made of, it needs to be non-combustible. If anything hot touches it, there needs to be zero chance of it catching fire. As a result the most popular materials for a hearth are brick, granite, stone, marble, ceramic, cement, and slate. Each of these materials is incredibly hard-wearing, robust and solid enough to be exposed within a busy home, and most importantly resistant to high temperatures resulting from a fire.

This means that any loose or unwanted embers that spark from the fire will simply rest and cool to ash on the hearth. We’ve listed some of the most common hearth materials below:


Bricks. They’re a ubiquitous building tool. Many homes, large-scale structures and indeed fireplaces are built with brick.

Bricks are cheap, easy to install, and can last for a long time. In fact, many homes have brick hearths simply because the fireplace was built simultaneously with the house.


Granite is another sturdy and durable material. It comes in various patterns, so you can have a granite hearth that allows for artistic expression and interior design benefits.

They’re also scratch-resistant, so you won’t need to worry about unattractive marks.

Ps. Mount Rushmore is made of granite, evidence that it’s a durable and robust hearth option…


If looks are your number one priority, marble is an excellent choice. It might be slightly more expensive, but you’ll get a hearth with a sleek, modern look if you’re willing to pay the price.

A marble hearth is also straightforward to clean and maintain. There’s a reason why many churches, statues and government buildings made of marble have lasted so long and still look beautiful in old age.


We understand that “stone” is a vast category. There must be thousands of stones, and each will have its own advantages.

But, limestone is the most common type for hearths. This is primarily because it’s cheap, affordable, and easy to work with. Soapstone is also a common hearthstone.

Perhaps you live in a place with an abundance of a particular type of stone, and you may have a hearth made of said stone.


Like brick, cement and concrete are also very cheap and easy to work with materials for a hearth. They’re simple to repair if needed and can be painted any colour you want. Just make sure to use fireproof paint.


Ceramic is often used in pots and pans, proving its excellent heat resistance. It’s also easy to clean and looks both homely and modern.

It’s not the cheapest material on this list, but for some people, the look it gives is worth the price they pay.


If you’re searching for a rustic look, slate is a great option.

It’s strong, sturdy, and heat resistant. If it gets dirty, it’s easy to clean. The biggest downside is that slate can scratch and mark more easily than some of the other options listed above.

For the best heat resistance, the slate should be divided into tiled segments.

Whether you’re learning about fireplaces for the first time, considering an upgrade or new installation, we hope this helps you understand more about fireplace hearths.

For everything else home heating, stick with CosyWarmer.com