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Agglomerate marble – a form of re-constituted marble that came before micro marble, being made of larger chunks of raw material and is a cheaper alternative to natural marble. Drawbacks are the same as natural marble and with its highly variable and dramatic appearance it is not currently popular.
Boxed flush hearth, boxed hearth – Can be constructed from solid materials or sheet materials into a solid looking hearth where the risers are flush with the edges of the top surface. Very common for tiled hearths where lips are difficult to deal with. If jointed very carefully then stone boxed flush hearths can give the impression of a solid hearth. If made from solid materials they are relatively easy to cut and re-finish to special size applications but as a slab construction it becomes very difficult to re-size.
Back Panel – As the name suggests, the typically flat rear part of a fireplace that provides a decorative finish and protects the wall from heat where the fire or stove is installed. Materials vary enormously according to the fuel type and fireplace materials generally. Back panels are sometimes one piece but more often formed of 3 or 4 individual stone pieces known as slips. Having sections of stone eliminates any problems with expansion cracking in the corners of goal post shaped back panels with cut-outs in them. A back panel MUST be sealed to the fireplace opening when a combustion appliance is inset into them.
Bevel, chamfer, birds beak – Usually an edge detail where two surfaces meet at an angle other than a 90 degree sharp edge, e.g. the edge of a slab or sheet of stone. This removes a vulnerable edge, gives a clean finish and adds an attractive feature and can also assist jointing materials in a visually acceptable way. Chamfers tend to be equal and symmetrical where bevels are often not symmetrical. Almost every edge of a typical fireplace will have some kind of chamfer on it, even if it is very small in the order of 2mm.
Builders Opening – Part of the building in which a fireplace is built is the Builders Opening. It can be sided within an internal or external chimney breast and is larger than the normal 16” fireplace that is visible. Will require building work to expose the chamber if it has not already been knocked out.
Boxed & Lipped Hearth, lipped hearth – Constructed from sheet materials often 18-20mm thick, a boxed and lipped hearth has risers under the hearth top surface that are set back slightly from the edge to form a step or lip. The risers are fixed in place with marble mastic and blocks. These hearths are significantly lighter in weight than solid stone but cannot be as easily cut to special sizes to suit existing carpets etc. This is a very popular style of hearth whether made from limestone, micro marble, granite or MDF.
Constructional hearth – This is part of the building in which the fireplace is being installed. Traditionally formed of heavy stone or concrete it should be 150mm or more thick and is to protect the building fabric from the heat of a fire.
Corbel – Made from stone, wood or metal to match or contrast with the material of the fireplace itself, a corbel is traditionally used to support an overhanging shelf but is now more of a design feature or decorative device. Corbels are typically sited above the surround legs and often have scroll work or other decorative detailing to set them off as part of the over all fireplace impression.
Chamber – The space created inside the fireplace where a freestanding stove is typically stood. Usually framed by the fireplace surround and often lined with attractive bricks, tiles or boards.
Downlights – Lighting provided at the top either in the header of the fireplace surround or the fire chamber.
Embellishment – Features such as corbels, swags & bows, crests, laurel garlands, flags, incised patterns, feet, ribs and all kinds of decorative finials are known as embellishments. They may be formed from the same material or a contrasting material to the main fireplace. Usually secured in place with engineering adhesives.
Fireplace lintel, lintel – At least one lintel should be present above a fireplace opening and it is a long, strong, flat piece of timber, concrete or steel device that supports the load from bricks or blocks forming the wall above the opening. Timber is not normally suitable due to fire risk from a solid fuel fire.
Granite – Granite is a hard igneous rock mined where it is exposed in the earth’s crust. Generally of a consistent finish and hard wearing, heat resistant and with flecks of quartz that catch the light, although difficult to drill and polish well, granite is a good material from which to manufacture fireplaces.
Hard Wood – Typically broad leaved deciduous tree wood such as oak, elm, ash, beech etc. Highly attractive and hard wearing but relatively expensive.
Header – Generic term for the large horizontal top section of the fireplace. Usually sits above the opening, resting on the legs, and below the shelf. May form the entire top of the fireplace if there is no shelf section.
Hearth – The flat base part of a fireplace is the hearth. Often the first part to be installed and the rest built on top.
Incised – A form of detailing where a pattern, sections or lines are cut into the fireplace material surface in the form or an incision. May be formed by hand or machine.
Inner return – The common trade name for the surface of the inside of the fireplace surround legs that extend from the front of the legs to the back panel or into the chamber. These are often varied in depth to vary the rebate of the fireplace assembly.
Jamb – An older term originating from construction and joinery generally that means vertical inside surfaces. More often called the inner returns of a fireplace or fireplace legs in modern terminology.
Leg – A fairly self explanatory name, the side parts of the fireplace that stand each side of the opening to support the header and shelf parts. They usually have different depth outer return compared to the inner returns, the inners being shallower to for the rebate of the fireplace inside the legs.
Limestone – A soft/medium hardness sedimentary rock mined where it is exposed easily in the earths crust. Reasonably heat resistant and easy to cut, smooth and obtain a good finish on, the layers of deposition give a high quality natural grain to the rock when finished into slab which can be either very subtle or bold in its appearance. Cutting limestone across the gain can produce a speckled effect. Fossils and calcified veins are sometimes found in Limestone and selecting the best blocks from the quarry is a hard earned skill. Colour is typically creamy white to beige which is neutral and therefore very popular in recent years.
MDF – Medium Density Fibreboard is widely known as MDF. A man made board with good dimensional stability in dry conditions and consistent strength and hardness properties. Easy to cut, shape and machine into shapes and then assemble with glue or screws and finish in the same way as wood. Accepts a wide variety of finishes and is an excellent material for household fireplaces and suites.
Micromarble, micro marble – This man made marble derivative was developed to eliminate the variations and inconsistency of natural marble. Using crushed marble aggregates, quartz and polymer fillers, huge blocks are cast which can then processed in the same way as natural stone. The advantage is a homogenous and
Natural Marble – Often originating from Italy, natural marble is a reasonably hard naturally occurring stone that is usually rich with minerals and faults in veins and blemishes which give it a unique dramatic appearance. Requires a lot of filling of defects but accepts an excellent polish and is hard wearing and durable in use. Inconsistency of the material is a draw back for householders who expect a consistent finish on their fireplaces and so has fallen out of favour in comparison to micro marble which is able to be manufactures in steady consistent finishes.
Outer Return – The common trade name for the outside surface of the legs of a fireplace surround that extend from the front surface to the wall.
Rebate, rebate depth, recess depth – The fireplace rebate is the distance between the inner returns of the legs and the notional wall surface as per by the outer returns depth – in other words the difference between the inner and outer returns of the legs and the top and bottom/side depth of the header. Most commonly rebates measure approximately 1” for standard thickness back panels or slips to be fitted, they can be as large as 3” or greater to special order. 3” rebates allow for the installation of slimmer electric fires straight onto a flat wall and a wider variety of deeper fireboxes for gas or solid fuel when the opening depth is insufficient on its own. The rebate volume MUST be sealed to the back panel or slips and chimney opening front (wall surface) where combustion appliances are inset into them to ensure that combustion gases and excessive heat do not enter the void behind the fireplace.
Returns, return – The outside and inside of the fireplace legs.
Riser – A vertical part of the hearth that lifts it above the ground level, easily distinguishable on a boxed and lipped hearth.
Solid hearth – As the name suggests these are made from a solid slab of material. When thicker than a nominal 18-20mm handling becomes more difficult. Much easier to deal with
Shelf, mantel shelf, mantel piece – The very top surface of the fireplace commonly used for displaying household items. Often has a decorative profiled edge.
Slip – Often the back panel of a fireplace is formed with slips. Easiest to see when a gas fire is fitted into the back panel of a fireplace where 3 pieces of flat stone for the left, right and top slip to fill in the area between the fire and the fireplace legs and header. These slips are the reason for a 1” or greater rebate
Sub Hearth – An additional level of heart placed on top of the main hearth as a decorative feature. Typically used when the fire or stove in the back panel is not level with the main, lower hearth surface.
Suite, Fireplace suite, Fireplace package – Most commonly seen with electric fires mounted into a pre-manufactured MDF fireplace, a suite is a combined fire and fireplace package. Also available with gas fires and stoves in various combinations. Charlton & Jenrick offer probably the largest range of suites of all fuel types and materials available in the UK.
Solid wood – The term given to fireplaces made from boards of solid timber. Expensive and subject to natural variations in colour and grain, these are still considered the premium level of wooden fireplaces.
Soft wood – A common term for woods of lighter, softer density such as pine etc which tend to be from non-deciduous trees. A cost effective material for fire surrounds but not as hard wearing as hard woods.
Veneer – A thin layer of wood applied over a substrate of either cheaper wood or engineered material such as MDF. Gives the prestige and rich finish of solid wood without the cost of the whole panel.
Wood effect – A printed wood effect finish that is a representation of wood but entirely engineered and man made. Generally of poor quality and often not hard wearing either.