Cladding is a term which refers to an additional layer of material installed on a pre-existing surface as a protective layer. Cladding a surface is a process of giving it an external skin which can protect it from damage or change the outward appearance.
The most common use of cladding is external, in the form of weatherboards. These prevent homes from becoming damaged by the elements over time. However, cladding can also be internal. Internal cladding is mostly installed for aesthetic reasons, with the exception of kitchen and bathroom wall tile which protects against splashes.
When it comes to fireplace cladding, most of the renovations are purely for aesthetic value. Cladding over a fireplace is a great way to instantly enhance the décor of a room, as it provides a focal design point from which the rest of the style can unfold. Fireplace cladding is extremely popular in Australian homes, with a mix of traditional and modern designs.
Traditional fireplace cladding is made from sturdy materials such as brick or stone. However, modern fireplace cladding ideas have been growing more creative with the use of metal, glass, steel, sandstone and even timber becoming more popular. There is also an influx of tiles and veneer as opposed to solid materials.
What to consider when deciding on fireplace cladding?
Before installing cladding, you will need to determine whether your foundation is heat-resistant. A heat resistant wall will have been covered with plasterboard or another type of heat repellent material.
To test if your wall is heat resistant, simply touch it while the fire is going. If it is warm, but not hot, it is probably heat resistant. If the wall is hot to touch, you may want to reconsider cladding as it could increase your risk of a house fire. Make sure that any cladding adhesive you use is also non-flammable and heat-resistant, especially if you are planning to DIY.
Designer heating: 10 beautiful fireplace cladding ideas for all sizes and styles
Where to purchase: Tile Cloud
Estimated cost: $58 / square metre
Tile is rapidly growing in popularity as a fireplace cladding option in modern Australian homes. It is affordable, easy to install and there are hundreds of styles available. In terms of patterns, textures and colours, anyone looking for fireplace tile is spoiled for choice. Browse Tile Cloud’s online catalogue for an overview of various traditional, contemporary, rustic and romantic tile designs.
Where to purchase: Schots
Estimated cost: $3, 000 - $6, 000
Marble has a warm elegance that is well suited to a fireplace aesthetic. Marble is also low maintenance, which is convenient when it comes to cleaning the ash and soot residue from the fire.
A marble mantle like those offered at Schots is a great way to bring some sophistication into your living room aesthetic without having to clad the entire wall. Marble is one of the most expensive cladding materials and is recognised across the world as a luxury item.
Where to purchase: Chazelles Fireplaces
Estimated cost: Contact for quote
Steel is another versatile material. It can be manufactured to mimic other finishes, such as natural stone or timber. However, a raw steel fireplace surround has an industrial charm that cannot be ignored.
Steel-look fireplaces create a contemporary brutalist chic similar to polished concrete floors, exposed brick, and architectural glass. They are the perfect décor choice for the bold modern designer.
Where to purchase: Carter Holt Harvey
Estimated cost: $8 - $40 per square foot
Now, having timber that close to a flame could make anyone nervous. However, timber is a safe material which can be used effectively for fireplace cladding. Timber is also very cheap and you could even DIY an environmentally friendly fireplace surround from reclaimed wood.
There are a few more concerns – for instance, the timber must be at least 6 inches away from the fireplace opening – but timber is largely regarded as a safe fireplace cladding material. The type of fire will also influence the risk level, as electric or gas non-combustible fires are much more compatible with timber cladding than wood fires.
06. Dark brick
Where to purchase: Melbourne Brick
Estimated cost: $0.87 / brick
Charcoal brick and other vibrant brick colours are becoming more celebrated in modern design schemes. Dark brick works well on small fireplaces, creating a moody and mysterious accent for the room without overwhelming the space.
05. Classic brick
Where to purchase: Elephant Brick Co
Estimated cost: $125 per square metre
Classic brick is the most popular choice for a traditional look fireplace. Red brick has been in use for fireplaces since the 12th century. Brick is an excellent choice for fireplace surrounds and construction as it can withstand high temperatures without conducting the heat.
Where to buy: Austral Wright Metals
Estimated cost: Contact for quote
There are a lot of options beyond steel when it comes to metal fireplace cladding. Darkened copper in particular is a beautiful metal fireplace option which allows for some stunning interior design features.
Where to purchase: Sydney Sandstone
Estimated cost: $100-130 per square metre
Sandstone has a simple charm which imbues a room with a sense of casual elegance. With its rough texture and large, asymmetrical pieces, sandstone has a feel of raw beauty that works well in coastal and minimal aesthetics.
Where to purchase: Lopi Fireplaces
Estimated cost: $7, 000 – $15, 000
Decorative glass fireplaces are a relatively new development in fireplace technology which provide a sophisticated and futuristic aesthetic. Glass fireplaces allow you to watch the fire at all times, taking advantage of the natural beauty of flames. They are a way to connect with nature and feel almost as if you are camping – all from the comfort of your own home.
01. Stone fireplace surround
Stone cladding fireplaces are the most coveted styles for a reason. Stone fireplaces have a holistic natural beauty that compliments the rawness of a roaring fire. A double sized stone fireplace surrounded by cosy armchairs will bring endless comfort and a slice of cottage life.