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What Is Cultured Stone?

If you’re looking to remodel your home, upgrade your fireplace or build an outdoor fireplace, fire pit or kitchen, you’ve likely come across cultured stone. Cultured stone has become increasingly popular as a home accent. Both indoors and out, cultured stone is being used to help people realize their ideal design while bringing along a host of other benefits. The ubiquity of cultured stone might have you wondering about the material: What exactly is it? What are its benefits? Where can I use cultured stone around my home? Here are your cultured stone questions, answered.

Cultured stone: A definition

As you can guess from the name, cultured stone is a man-made product. It’s manufactured by pouring concrete into molds. By using different mold shapes and colors of concrete, cultured stone can be made to look like any type of natural stone. Cultured stone is most often sold in panels for easy installation. Most cultured panels feature a variety of shaped and colored “stones” to mimic the variegated look you’d get from using a mix of natural stones.

Benefits of cultured stone

If you’re considering using cultured stone in your home, you might be wondering how it compares to alternative building materials. As you might guess due to its popularity, cultured stone has many benefits, including:

• Cost. Cultured stone is considerably cheaper than natural stone alternatives. Cultured stone can cost a quarter to half the price of natural stone.

• Weight. Cultured stone is much lighter than natural stone. When you install a wall, fireplace or island of natural stone, you need foundation or structural support to bear its substantial weight. Cultured stone can allow you to enjoy the look of stone where you’re unable to build infrastructure to support the weight of natural stone.

• Easier installation. The panels and lighter weight of cultured stone make it easier, and faster, to install than natural stone.

• Aesthetic options. Natural stone can be limiting. It can be difficult to find the stone you’re looking for near you, and it’s often cost prohibitive or even impossible to order the natural stone you want. On the other hand, you can find cultured stone in nearly any style.

• Environmental friendliness. Stone quarries are large and intrusive on the environment. Cultured stone lets you get the look of natural stone without having such a profound impact on the environment.

• Easy care. Because it’s made out of concrete, cultured stone is incredibly durable and doesn’t require any special care.

Installing cultured stone in your home

If you think cultured stone might be right for you, stop by one of FireSide Hearth & Home’s four locations to look at your cultured stone options and learn more about installing cultured stone in your home. With the experts at FireSide Hearth & Home, you can plan a beautiful cultured stone indoor or outdoor fireplace, firepit, outdoor kitchen or accent feature.

By Justin Peoples | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

All About Outdoor Kitchens

“Outdoor living” has become a catch phrase in lifestyle magazines and on home improvement shows. In light of that trend, outdoor kitchens have been growing in popularity. If you’ve seen outdoor kitchens in magazines or on TV and you’re wondering whether an outdoor kitchen could be right for your home, here’s what you need to know.

Outdoor kitchens come in all shapes and sizes.

When you think of an outdoor kitchen, you might envision a dream kitchen setup outdoors: A giant gas grill, countertop surrounds, an island for entertaining and accessories like sinks, refrigerators and pizza ovens. While your outdoor kitchen certainly can be the kitchen of your dreams, they can also be more modest. In reality, an outdoor kitchen can range from a portable grill island to a large, elaborate permanent outdoor kitchen. That means regardless of the size of your yard, your cooking needs, and your budget, you can design an outdoor kitchen that’s right for you.

Your outdoor kitchen should be conveniently located.

If you’re trying to find the perfect space in your backyard for an outdoor kitchen, consider the overall flow of your backyard. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to design an outdoor kitchen that’s isolated from the rest of your backyard space and from your kitchen. Know that you probably will make trips between your indoor an outdoor kitchen to fetch ingredients, utensils and cookbooks. For that reason, you want to have your outdoor kitchen located conveniently to your indoor kitchen. You also will want your outdoor kitchen to flow seamlessly to your outdoor entertaining spaces. This way, whoever is cooking the meal doesn’t feel isolated from family or friends while preparing a meal.

Outdoor kitchens must be constructed from durable materials.

Outdoor kitchens have to be able to take the abuse of the elements. In the summer, they must deal with rain and storms, as well as plenty of sunshine. In the winter, they have to withstand snow and freezing temperatures. For that reason, your outdoor kitchen needs to be constructed from durable materials. Stainless steel appliances hold up well, as do nonporous countertop surfaces like limestone, sealed concrete, or UV protected cultured granite.

Outdoor kitchens should start with the basics.

Designing an outdoor kitchen can seem intimidating, but the best way to go is to start with the basics and expand from there. At a minimum, your outdoor kitchen should have an area for food preparation, cooking, and cleanup. Like indoor kitchens, outdoor kitchens can be set up in a variety of classic constructions, such as L-shaped, U-shaped or galley. They should also take work flow into consideration. Once you have the basics considered and settle on a design shape, you can add in all sorts of extras, such as a fryer, an extra cooktop, a sink, an oven or a bar space, the possibilities are endless!

If you’re ready to explore installing an outdoor kitchen in your yard this summer, stop by one of FireSide Hearth & Home’s showrooms. Our experts can show you some of the possibilities of an outdoor kitchen. We’ll help you plan the perfect space for your yard and your cooking and entertaining needs!

By Justin Peoples | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment