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Get on the case with a new fireplace

En hytte med en peis av Lys Oppdal skifer murstein tørrmur.

An extra heat source at in the very heart of the house? Whatever you look for in a fireplace, you can be inspired by these different ways of building a new fireplace.

– Most people who want a fireplace today do so because it’s cosy. It has become less and less important as a source of heat, says Cato Hetland.

Hetland works for Tegl og Betong (Tile and Concrete), which for over 25 years has worked with natural stone, paving stone and most other types of stone. He explains that the most important thing to think about when building a fireplace is the size of the room.

– If you want a large, open fireplace, the room should also have a certain size. This is so the fireplace doesn’t dominate the room, but even more because of the air quality, he says.

A cabin with a large fireplace and bookshelves from floor to ceiling. The fireplace is a dry wall of slate bricks.
Oppdal quartzite wallbricks and mantles.

– Big fireplaces eat air

Remember the fire triangle? A good fire needs heat, fuel and air. The bigger the fire, the more air it consumes.

– People often bring in pictures of a large, beautiful fireplace from an old cabin and want us to recreate it. What they forget is that old buildings weren’t as energy efficient and as well-insulated as homes are today. There’s a lot to think about when building an open fireplace, but with some knowledge and good planning – it’s also possible, Hetland says.

Cabin fireplace of Light Oppdal slate bricks that is a room divider between kitchen and living room. Slate tiles on the floor of the same natural stone.
Oppdal quartzite wallbricks and flooring tiles.

A large fireplace of wallbricks of Oppdal quartzite slate, mounted as a drywall. IThe floor has slate tiles with hewn edges.
Oppdal quartzite wallbricks and flooring tiles with hewn edges.

He explains that people’s need for comfort has also changed a lot from the time when the fireplace was the only source of heat in the home.

– Ventilation is really important when it comes to open fireplaces. It’s not just about getting air into the fireplace, but also about getting it out again. In the past, people had a greater acceptance of smoke in their sitting rooms. Nowadays, the requirements for comfort and user-friendliness are completely different and it’s important to remember this, he says.

So, do you still want an open fireplace? There are a number of possibilities that are really interesting.

– We love a good challenge and almost everything is possible. So we need to find creative ways of ensuring a good supply of air. For example, we had a customer who was a builder and wanted to have the fireplace look like the grab of a digger. So we designed it so that the air supply came from between the teeth of the grab, Hetland says.

Cabin with fireplace (drywall) of Oppdal slate bricks. The fireplace insert is shaped like an excavator drawer.
Oppdal wallbricks and slabs.

Houses and flats mostly have closed woodburning stoves.

– We mostly build open fireplaces in cabins. Besides being better for the indoor environment and taking up less space, closed woodburners are more effective heat sources, he explains.

A cabin with a fireplace and baking oven that is recessed into a drywall of Oppdal quartzite slate wallbricks.
Oppdal quartzite crazy paving and wallbricks.
A cabin with two brick fireplaces in light gray slate from Oppdal. Flooring tiles are of the same type of slate.
Oppdal quartzite flooring tiles and wallbricks.

But don’t despair! You can have whatever you like

If you have a design for a charming cabin with a well-planned interior and think; – Well, I want an open fireplace, but don’t have room… don’t worry.

– At the moment, we’re building something we call ‘guillotines’. This is a combined stove and fireplace. You have a glass door that can be closed from above down, so you have the feel of an open fire, but also close it when you wish. I would hazard a guess that this type accounts for 60-70 per cent of what we install today, Hetland says.

A bright living room in a cabin with a slate fireplace of Light Oppdal slate drywall bricks. In front of the fireplace it is furnished with a sitting area.
Oppdal quartzite wallbricks.

The surrounding area

We’ve already established that in 2021, an open fire is all about feeling cosy. So, it’s also important that the rest of the rooms work together. 

– We often use natural stone such as slate and soapstone around the fireplaces we build. This is first and foremost a Norwegian stone type and goes really well with other types of natural stone.

Et portrett av Cato Hetland som står foran sin arbeidsbil og høye brøytekanter

– We often use natural stone such as slate and soapstone around the fireplaces we build. This is first and foremost a Norwegian stone type and goes really well with other types of natural stone.

Cato Hetland
CEO, Tegl & Betong

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