What’s The Best Hearth Material?

While I knew exactly the look of the fireplaces I wanted for our living room and family room, one puzzle that presented a quandary initially was the choice of hearth materials, which is best out of slate or granite…so may I present to you:

Slate Hearth vs Granite Hearth: The Courtcase!

Modern Country Style: Modern Country Living Room Quest... Click through for details. Sofa upholstered using vintage grain sacks plus AWESOME cast iron arch and marble fireplace!:

Given that I’ve just been through this process, I though some of you might find it useful to hear my thoughts…. 

{Both materials do the job, and do it well, so it really is a matter of looking at the pros and cons of each and choosing your preference.}

When a room looks dark and with no focus, add a fireplace to bring a centre.:

Let me come right out and say it; this will not be entirely unbiased because:


{I chose slate for the hearth in both the living room and family room and ADORE them!}

black walls and emerald green sofas:

Here are four areas YOU’LL need to consider in your quest for the best hearth material:

1. The Colour

Slate hearths are a gorgeously dulled, very deep graphite grey, as opposed to granite hearths which are black, black, black. If you look at these images of gorgeous slate hearths, you’ll see what a difference the right colour can make. You want the colour of the hearth to look mellow, old and lovely, to blend into a cohesive whole with the fireplace, and, certainly in a period home, to look as though it’s always been there.


2. The Finish

Slate can be finished in a crazily rustic fashion or it can be more smartly honed for pure Modern Country Style (if you are leaning towards a granite hearth then honed is the look I’d suggest too). Honed slate gives a beautiful semi-matte sheen that catches the light exquisitely, whereas I personally find that granite always looks a bit new and shiny, almost plasticky – and not in a good way.

Mix horizontals and verticals Play with your book arrangements to find the best configuration for your space. Mix horizontally stacked books with classically positioned uprights for an informal look. This is also a great cheat for any oversized books that are too tall to stand upright on shelves.:

3. The Durability

There’s no two ways abut this, granite hearths have the edge here….though  slate is tough enough to have survived on many hearths for hundreds of years so it can certainly hold it’s own. It’s worth being honest about this though – your slate hearth will show sign of aging faster than a granite hearth.

Beautiful marble fireplace and overmantel mirror:

4. The Source

I cannot emphasise this enough. Whatever you do, go to a fireplace company you can trust. It was our fireplace fitter that showed me how exquisitely the separate pieces of slate in our slate hearth have been pieced together (needed to allow for heat expansion). I honestly hadn’t even noticed that there were any separate pieces! The light should have to be at exactly the right angle to notice the slightly visible seam lines (in fact, the fitter needed to use his torch to show me!). Plenty of fireplace ‘experts’ will just cobble it together and leave you with very visible seams.

Ladies and gentlemen, in the court case of the best hearth materials, granite vs slate, I find for…


Images via unknown, Modern Country Style, Gallerie B, Apartment Therapy, For Interieur, Houzz, unknown, Modern Country Style 

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