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  • For this fireplace, the design goal was a modern, contemporary look. The color is twilight gray with a natural concrete finish, and the mantel was cast in one piece to achieve a seamless look. The custom wood shelving echoes the clean lines of the fireplace while displaying unique art objects.
  • The clean lines and pure white silica-sand finish of this one-piece concrete fireplace surround complement a minimalist design style. The color is titanium white, and the sleek finish was achieved by diamond grinding.
  • Most of the materials in this northern Michigan home are wood, stone and concrete. The homeowner opted to use concrete for the fireplace hearth and mantel because of its natural look and ability to be cast in any shape and thickness. The hearth lines were softened by incorporating a slight radius, and the twilight-gray color harmonizes nicely with the surrounding stonework.
  • The owners of this home loved the idea of creating a concrete fireplace surround they could customize to suit the space. They selected a dark brown color for the mantel and hearth to match other elements in the room. The white surround has a broom finish to add a bit of texture, and the hearth is raised slightly above the floor to give it a floating look.
  • For this home, featured in Grand Rapids Magazine, the builder and designer chose concrete for all the fireplace surrounds because of its ability to be customized. This massive concrete fireplace surround was set on a steel I-beam so it appears to be floating. The hearth has an 8-inch drop-down face to cover the beam and features random veining on the top, done in the same color as the thin vertical surround that extends around the fireplace. The color of the hearth is white sand and the surround is taupe. The random veining was achieved by creating voids in the concrete and filling them with a slurry mixture.
  • This concrete fireplace surround is on display in a high-end cabinet and retail shop. The original natural stone surround was cracking, so the store owner decided to replace it with concrete that matched the color of the stone. The surround was cast in multiple pieces and assembled onsite like a puzzle. The hearth floats about 2 inches above the floor. The vertical side pieces were made to wrap around steel framing, adding to the complexity of the mold making.
  • This fireplace, custom made for a Parade Home, features a stainless steel surround set off by a dark-colored concrete hearth with an aged look. This was achieved by troweling the top of the hearth to give it a bit of texture. Hidden brackets on the bottom support the piece.
  • In this beautiful juxtaposition of concrete and wood, the concrete surround extends from floor to ceiling and is set off by a wood mantel and wall panels. The 12-foot-long hearth features a radiused front.
  • This fireplace was created for a display at Builders Fireplace. The textured ½-inch-thick panels were designed to replicate old boiler plate steel and are dyed in multiple colors to give them an aged effect. Hard Topix designed special rubber molds for the panels so they could be duplicated and used again. Once the panels are cast, they can be cut with a concrete saw to fit the desired design arrangement, as shown. “Panels like this can be shipped anywhere in the world and then cut and installed by a builder or mason,” says Eerdmans. The size of the panels is 64 x 32 inches.

As the chill of fall arrives, many homeowners will be rekindling their fireplaces and basking in the cozy warmth and ambience of the flickering flames. But even when the fireplace isn’t in use, it often remains the focal point of the room and makes an important design statement. That’s why more homeowners are turning to concrete to create custom fireplaces, hearths and mantels that define their space and design style.

“Our typical client is someone who doesn't want a standard fireplace, but wants something creative and unique. They don’t want people to walk in their house and feel like it’s the same as the one next door. They love the creative aspect and possibilities that concrete offers,” says David Eerdmans of Hard Topix Precast Concrete, Jenison, Mich.

Eerdmans has been making precast concrete fireplaces, hearths and mantels for nearly 10 years and has seen a steady growth in demand as more people become aware of the design possibilities. “Concrete fireplaces have been up and coming because they offer a fresh, innovative and creative solution to traditional materials. And new codes require a noncombustible material for fireplaces, so concrete is the perfect choice,” he says.

The most popular looks run the gamut from clean and modern to aged and rustic, according to Eerdmans. Some people want a minimalist appearance, incorporating clean lines and using natural concrete finishes and colors. Others combine concrete with stone, wood or metal to create interesting design contrasts. For greater dramatic effect, homeowners are also asking for raised hearths that seem to float above the floor, and fireplace surrounds that extend from floor to ceiling.

ContractorDavid Eerdmans
Hard Topix Precast Concrete, Jenison, Mich.

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