Interior designers cannot possibly know EVERYTHING there is to know about interiors and interior surfaces. There is so much information and it is constantly changing with new technology. I would like to tell you a little story about a time that I showed that I do not know it all, and how it was just fine that I didn't know. I can still be trusted!
Up until two years ago, I would have thought that quartz was a perfectly suitable fireplace surround. I designed a home with a quartz kitchen counter and a matching quartz fireplace surround. It is noncombustible- so it meets code in that regard. I was careful to plan for all the required clearances. I even looked at manufacturer sites and saw quartz used in this capacity.
During the schematic design phase of each project, I develop preliminary selections. I then confer with the product rep and contractor to broaden my awareness of that particular product and verify that my application is suitable.
In this instance, my rep immediately let me know that quartz was not a good selection for a fireplace. While quartz is heat resistant for short periods of time, it has a binder that will discolor if heated too long. So, there you have it. I do not know everything, and that is okay because my sources and methods prevent errors and inform me more with each project. Not only that, but as a design firm, I hold errors and omissions insurance that not only protects me if there were to be an error that was overlooked, it also protects my clients!
So, what CAN be used as a fireplace surround?
Always check with a product representative before selecting a fireplace surround material, and never trust what can be found online. I found an HGTV article stating that WOOD was a good fireplace surround (maybe beyond the noncombustible safe zone, sure, but the image showed wood right up to the box)! Remember, I saw quartz being used on quartz manufacturer sites, leading me to believe it was an appropriate material.
Take a look at our Pinterest board for inspiration:
When finished with the construction, take a look at our suggestions to spruce up the fireplace with some fun decor (yes, I managed to get a skull in there...)