The forecast this weekend is perfect reading weather. So, fix your favorite drink, grab a snack and get cozy. This week’s This or That series will focus on fireplaces. Is a brick fireplace better than a tile fireplace? Sit back, satiate your appetite and quench your thirst while we explore the pros and cons of each.

Fireplaces were created out of a need to heat a home. With the advent of central heating, fireplaces have become more of a design element. Most homeowners use the fireplace as the central focal point of their living space. Traditionally, brick fireplaces were prominent. However, more recently, tile is gaining more traction with many designers. Let’s take a closer look to help you decide which is best.

Brick fireplaces are more commonly found in older homes. Brick is a durable and strong substance that provides a room with a sense of warmth to a room. Brick pairs perfectly with rooms decorated in earthy tones. Brick also comes in a variety of different colors and textures, providing some versatility. Brick can be purchased new or reclaimed. Since there are many options with brick types and colors, brick may be utilized for many styles, including traditional and contemporary. Brick is fairly cost-effective and easy to install. Repairs are also fairly simple, as you can easily replace individual pieces.

Yet, brick fireplaces do have some drawbacks. First, brick does not allow unique design styles to shine. Some homeowners may not like the traditional look of brick. If that is the case, and brick is already installed, options are limited. Plus, naturally, brick is a porous substance and is unable to be sealed. Brick is, therefore, more susceptible to stains and requires more regular maintenance. If you are looking for a more modern, versatile look, then brick might not be the correct option for your fireplace.

Tile fireplaces, on the other hand, allow a lot of design freedom. Where brick has some variations, tile has an abundant amount of possibilities. Not only are there different types of tile, but the color options are endless. For a modern look, tile users can utilize black or white for a clean, sophisticated look. For our more adventurous and creative readers, tile can be bought in many different textures and colors. For example, if the room has a nautical theme, tile can be used around the fireplace to resemble a mermaid’s tail. If that is too ambitious, there are tiles that resemble stones or pebbles. There are even tiles that resemble wood as well. With tile, the design possibilities are endless.

As with all things, tile is not perfect, and there are some negatives to using tile. If you are considering tile, depending on the type, it can either be as cost-effective as brick or can be much more costly. Another thing to keep in mind is the material of tile. Some tile does not have a high heat capacity and can crack easily with high heat temperatures. Tile is not as strong or as durable as brick. Lastly, tile fireplaces are not as prominent. If the home does not already have a tile fireplace, installing a tile fireplace can be laborious. Tile users will either need to sand down their brick to place tile on top of it. Or, the entire fireplace will have to be deconstructed in order to replace the original with the desired tile.

As with the entirety of this series so far, neither design feature has a clear-cut advantage. Some of our readers will prefer brick, while some tile. Some may even use stone or wood. Hopefully, you have found this blog useful in helping design a prominent feature of your home. And, next week, when you sit down to read our next installment, you will be doing so in front of your fireplace.