Atlanta Stone Fireplace

by Matt Goering

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Few additions to an Atlanta home add more to your main gathering space than an Atlanta stone fireplace. There's just something about firing up a stone fireplace on those cool Atlanta nights that makes families and friends want to gather around the warm flickering light. Choosing the right stone fireplace in Atlanta, however, isn't as cut and dry as you might think. There's deciding which material to use (natural stone, natural stone veneer, or simulated stone veneer), as well as which type of fireplace to install (wood burning, vented gas, vent-less gas, or electric). The only way to make the right choice for you and your home is to be educated on the possibilities.

Atlanta Stone Fireplaces and Pollution
The Atlanta metropolitan area grew more than 20 percent between 2000 and 2006, making it the fasting growing metropolitan area in the country. That kind of growth has a lot of advantages, including increased wealth, diversity, and prosperity. It does have a downside, however. Stretching back into the 1990s, and continuing into the boom years after the millennium, Atlanta can also claim to be one of the most polluted major cities in the country when it comes to air quality. While most of Atlanta's pollution is attributed to automobiles and coal burning factories, every bit of pollution counts. That's exactly why choosing the right fireplace for your home is so important from an environmental perspective.

  • A Wood Burning Atlanta Stone Fireplace is the most traditional and comfy fireplace you can install in your home, but it's also one of the worst when it comes to pollution. If you like to fire up your stone fireplace in Atlanta every night from fall to spring, then you might think twice about wood burning fireplaces. If you only light up for gatherings and holidays, then wood burning fireplaces are still a fine choice, and an environmentally-responsible option.

  • A Vented Gas Atlanta Stone Fireplace is another option for residents of the A-T-L and the surrounding metro area. These fireplaces are much more efficient than wood burning counterparts, new varieties emit almost no exhaust, and generally they're more efficient when it comes to providing heat for your home. They're also easier to install. In conjunction with simulated stone veneers, going this route can cut the cost of an Atlanta stone fireplace by thousands of dollars.

  • A Vent-less Gas Atlanta Stone Fireplace is yet another choice you can go with when it comes to your new stone fireplace in Atlanta. Use these units with a grain of salt, however. Vent-less, or vent-free, models are easy to install because they don't require a chimney or vent to the outdoors, but it comes at a price. Vent-less models release their exhaust, including water vapor, carbon monoxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide, directly into your home. If you only enjoy a fire occasionally, and for short periods of time, these are excellent, and cost effective, options. If you spend your entire winter enjoying a good book in front of flickering lights, think twice. Not only can they induce the development of fungus, mold, and mildew by increasing moisture levels indoors, but more dangerously, they can create serious health risks from increased carbon monoxide and dioxide levels in the air.

  • An Electric Atlanta Stone Fireplace is pretty much for show. It's the equivalent of installing an attractive, artificial fire display combined with electric heat. These units have no exhaust whatsoever, and thus no health risks, but for many homeowners the illusion isn't quite good enough. Add to that a significant spike in your electric bill if used on a regular basis, and you're probably better off with a vented gas fireplace if sitting around the hearth is a regular event in your household.

    A Few Other Considerations When Installing an Atlanta Stone Fireplace
    Settling on the type of fireplace is just the first step. After that, your most important decisions are whether to go with natural stone, natural stone veneers, or simulated stone veneers. Natural stone is the cream of the crop, and with Stone Mountain sitting off in the distance, a granite stone fireplace is the perfect option for those who want to bring the natural world just outside metropolitan Atlanta into their home. Stone veneer consists of thin-cut natural stone applied as an aesthetic product, and gives you real stone looks at a much cheaper price. Finally, there's simulated stone veneers. These veneers are made from molds of natural stone using colored polyurethane or concrete. They're almost indistinguishable from the real thing, and are your best option if you're on a tighter budget. If you think that an Atlanta stone fireplace is the right fit for you home, talk to a contractor with experience building stone fireplaces for Atlanta metropolitan area homeowners.

    Matt Goering, formerly a carpenter and house painter, is a freelance writer for the home improvement industry who has published over 600 articles.