Nearly every Katahdin Cedar Log Home features a hearth — from a focal centerpiece in a great room with soaring cathedral ceilings to a cozy master bedroom fireplace. While many dream chimneys and fireplaces feature natural stone, it’s important to understand your options when designing your home’s fireplace.
We spoke with Katahdin dealer Bill Ryan, of North Point Contracting in Arundel, Me., who had some commonsense suggestions for homeowners planning a chimney in their log home. One thing most people don’t realize is that a natural stone hearth can add a significant cost to your home’s budget.
Your “Dream” Hearth: What’s involved?
Several factors make natural stone chimneys an expensive detail in any home. The first budget item to consider is the cost of materials. In Maine and the Northeast, natural granite is an easy and mostly locally available stone. However, if your heart’s desire is stone originating from a quarry far away, transport costs may boost the price of materials dramatically.
The second budget item to consider is log home design. The weight of a full natural stone hearth and chimney can measure in tonnage. Thus, the structure surrounding the natural stone chimney needs extra reinforcement. You may see added depth and extra footings in the foundation and boosted reinforcement for the floor and roof system.
A third factor to consider is labor. Masonry with natural stone is an art form, which often takes added time to construct. While the results are stunning, keep in mind that slowed progress on natural stone masonry can delay scheduled items such as the installation of a metal roof system. And a specialist in fireplaces may charge a premium.
Get the Look Without the Expense
Ryan recommends to many of his log home customers to opt for great looking synthetic stone facing. You’ll be able to select from a broad range of colors, styles, and species of stone without conventional limits. The housing and chimney are constructed using cinderblocks and wood framing around chimney tiles or sleeves. The synthetic stone is then applied to the finished exterior for the look and feel of the real thing. “With today’s advanced synthetic materials, most people won’t be able to tell that your soaring chimney and heath is not natural stone,” Ryan noted. One great solution for facing your hearth is ClipStone (right).