Title:
FIREPLACE SURROUND SYSTEM AND METHOD OF MAKING SAME
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A modular fireplace surround assembly for a fireplace opening is formed from a plurality of surround components comprising a first set of components, having a foam core and a manufactured stone veneer shell, located at least 8 inches from the fireplace opening, and a second set of components formed of entirely noncombustible materials including manufactured stone veneer. The first set of components are adapted to receive fasteners that pass through the back member for either direct or indirect mounting to the wall. In one embodiment, the first set of components includes a mantel shelf formed of interconnected, main and top components. The second set of components also establishes a front facing formed of a plurality of modular, interchangeable blocks arranged about the top and sides of the fireplace opening.



Inventors:
Heath, Robert W. (Napa, CA, US)
Ferguson, Donald W. (Napa, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/032808
Publication Date:
08/20/2009
Filing Date:
02/18/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
126/500
International Classes:
F24B1/198
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CAJILIG, CHRISTINE T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ALSTON & BIRD LLP (BANK OF AMERICA PLAZA 101 SOUTH TRYON STREET, SUITE 4000, CHARLOTTE, NC, 28280-4000, US)
Claims:
I/We claim:

1. A modular fireplace surround assembly mounted around a fireplace opening defined by top and side portions and being located in a wall above a floor, said modular assembly comprising: a plurality of surround components including a first set of components having a foam core and a manufactured stone veneer shell and being located at least 8 inches from the fireplace opening and a second set of components formed of entirely noncombustible materials including manufactured stone veneer and being mounted around the fireplace opening above the floor and including a front facing having a plurality of modular, interchangeable components arranged about the top and side portions of the fireplace opening, a first component of said second set of components having a lower end, an upper end, and a first groove located in the upper end receiving fasteners that pass through the first component into the wall and adapted to be covered by a second component of said plurality of surround components; and a mantel shelf having a lower main body and an outer skin formed of a manufactured stone veneer, a reinforced back member receiving fasteners that pass through the reinforced back member into the wall, and a top component fitted onto the lower main body whereby, when the top component is installed, the top component creates a finished surface that conceals the fasteners.

2. A fireplace surround assembly comprising: a plurality of surround components adapted to be mounted around a fireplace opening in a wall above a floor; and a mantel shelf including: a lower main body; a back member adapted to receive fasteners that pass through the back member into the wall; and a top component adapted to fit onto the lower main body whereby, when the top component is installed, the top component creates a finished surface that conceals the fasteners.

3. The fireplace assembly of claim 2, further comprising: a reinforcing member positioned against the back member within the lower main body.

4. A fireplace surround assembly comprising: a plurality of surround components adapted to be mounted around a fireplace opening in a wall above a floor, said plurality of surround components including a first component and a second component, wherein the first component of said plurality of surround components having a lower end, an upper end and a first groove located in the upper end adapted to receive fasteners that pass through the first component for mounting the first component to the wall, and wherein the first component is covered by the second component of said plurality of surround components.

5. The fireplace assembly of claim 4, wherein said first component is a leg member adapted to be mounted to extend vertically along the wall on one side of the fireplace opening.

6. The fireplace assembly of claim 5, wherein the leg member has an outer skin formed of a manufactured stone veneer.

7. The fireplace assembly of claim 4, wherein said first component is a corbel and the second component is a mantel shelf.

8. The fireplace assembly of claim 7, wherein the corbel has an inner core formed of foam and an outer skin formed of a manufactured stone veneer.

9. The fireplace assembly of claim 4, wherein said first component is a lintel and the second component is a mantel shelf.

10. The fireplace assembly of claim 9, wherein the lintel has an inner core formed of foam and an outer skin formed of a manufactured stone veneer.

11. A modular fireplace surround assembly mounted around a fireplace opening defined by top and side portions and being located in a wall above a floor, said modular assembly comprising: a plurality of components including first and second sets of components, each of the first set of components having a foam core and a manufactured stone veneer shell, with each of the first set of components being located at least 8 inches from the fireplace opening, each of the second set of components being formed of entirely noncombustible materials including manufactured stone veneer, with each of the second set of components being mounted around the fireplace opening.

12. The modular fireplace surround of claim 11, wherein the first set of components includes a mantel shelf.

13. The modular fireplace surround of claim 12, wherein the second set of components includes a front facing constituted by a plurality of modular, interchangeable components arranged about the top and side portions of the fireplace opening.

14. The modular fireplace surround of claim 13, further comprising: a hearth member mounted on the floor below the fireplace opening, wherein the second set of components includes a pair of adjustable plinth stones mounted on the hearth member.

15. The modular fireplace surround of claim 13, wherein the first set of components includes a pair of leg members extending vertically along the wall on opposite sides of the fireplace opening.

16. The modular fireplace surround of claim 13, wherein the first set of components includes a pair of corbels adapted to be mounted below the mantel shelf.

17. The modular fireplace surround of claim 13, wherein the first set of components includes a lintel member adapted to be mounted below the mantel shelf and across the fireplace opening.

18. A method of forming a modular fireplace surround assembly around fireplace opening having top and side portions and being located in a wall above a floor comprising: selecting a first array of desired fireplace surround components from a first set of components having a manufactured stone veneer shell; selecting a second array of desired fireplace surround components from a second set of components formed of entirely noncombustible materials including manufactured stone veneer; temporarily mounting the first array of desired fireplace surround components around the fireplace opening through the use of mechanical fasteners; permanently fixing the first array of desired fireplace surround components around the fireplace with an adhesive material; and mounting the second array of desired fireplace surround components around the fireplace opening and between at least some of the first array of desired fireplace surround components.

19. The method of mounting of claim 18, wherein temporarily mounting the first array of desired fireplace surround components includes: mounting a pair of leg members on the wall by passing at least one fastener into a groove in each leg member and into the wall; mounting a lintel on the wall above the fireplace opening by passing fasteners into a groove in the lintel and into the wall; and covering the grooves and fasteners with at least one of said first set of components.

20. The method of mounting of claim 18, wherein mounting the second array of desired components comprises: mounting a hearth on the floor below the fireplace opening; and installing a front facing, including a plurality of modular, interchangeable components each formed of an artificial stone veneer, by fixing the front facing in a desired pattern between the hearth and the first array of desired fireplace surround components.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention pertains to the art of fireplaces and, more particularly, to manufactured stone veneer assemblies for surrounding fireplace openings.

2. Discussion of the Prior Art

Interior fireplaces are often located in houses or other buildings such as hotels, restaurants, etc. to provide heat and also to add to the aesthetic appeal. Usually the fireplace is located in a wall of the house and has a fireplace opening so that the occupants of the home may tend to a fire in the fireplace and the fireplace can radiate heat into the house. The brick, stone, other masonry or wood detail surrounding a fireplace opening is known in the art as a decorative fireplace surround. Fireplace surrounds are commonly used to enhance the look and feel of a fireplace and also function to cover otherwise unsightly features of the fireplace, such as fireplace vents or the unfinished interface between the fireplace and the wall structure. Most commonly, surrounds are masonry structures prepared brick-by-brick or stone-by-stone by highly skilled and highly paid workers. Traditional brick or stone surrounds, for example, are composed of numerous individual bricks separated from each other by grout or mortar recessed between the bricks. The bricks are of uniform shape, but one row of bricks is offset from adjacent rows so that the grouted vertical spaces between bricks do not line up from row to row. While such a structure is quite durable, it is also quite expensive to construct.

Such surrounds may also include a mantel shelf that extends horizontally above the fireplace, and two legs that extend vertically along opposing sides of the fireplace. The mantel shelf and legs are often secured together as a single assembled piece that is mounted to the wall structure surrounding the fireplace. In other applications, the mantel shelf and leg members may be individually mounted to the wall structure surrounding the fireplace. It is sometimes also desirable to provide additional shelving and/or bookcase structure around the fireplace opening for supporting and displaying, for example, photographs, books and the like.

There have been attempts to provide fireplace surround assemblies that have the appearance of real brickwork but are made from artificial materials. Generally, such artificial surround assemblies have been molded from cement compounds that are formed to simulate the texture of actual brick and then colored with dye or paint to imitate the appearance of brick. For purposes of installation, such molded surrounds are usually cast as two units, i.e., a vertical legs and lintel unit and a horizontal hearth unit, which are positioned around a fireplace opening.

Unfortunately, affixing mantel shelves, legs or other surround components to the support wall can be difficult and time consuming. One known method includes applying an adhesive between the support wall and the surround component. A metal lath is placed on the wall and secured, then an adhesive, such as Portland cement (mortar), is spread on the lath and the fireplace surround component. The surround component is then placed against the lath. When the cement dries, the surround components are securely held in place. However, using a metal lath requires cutting, is expensive and sometimes difficult to install. Also, during construction of a building, hammering and other activities regarding the construction of a building may be taking place. Often the mantel shelf and legs may be displaced by other construction activities before the adhesive has dried. As a result, the mantel shelf, legs and other components may be positioned at an odd angle when the adhesive dries, giving an undesirable look and usually requiring an expensive fix.

Another proposed solution includes attaching a number of individual hooks to the support wall at the locations of wall studs. The method also includes attaching a number of hooks on the back of the mantel shelf or other surround components that engage the hooks on the wall. Once each of the hooks is properly positioned and affixed to the wall, the hooks on the mantel shelf are aligned with the hooks on the wall and the mantel shelf is hung on the wall. This method suffers in that it can be cumbersome and time consuming to properly position the hooks on the wall and the mantel shelf.

Based on the above there is a need in the art for a fireplace surround that is formed of inexpensive yet aesthetically appealing components that may be customized to different sized fireplaces and is easily installed by unskilled workers in a work environment subject to vibration caused by other construction activities.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a modular fireplace surround assembly adapted to be mounted to a support wall around a fireplace. The modular fireplace surround is formed from a plurality of surround components selected from first and second sets of components. In the first set of components, each component has a foam core and a manufactured stone veneer shell. These light weight components include non-noncombustible materials and are located at least eight (8) inches (at least approximately 20 cm) from the fireplace opening. In the second set of components, each component is formed of entirely noncombustible materials, and these components are formed from a manufactured stone veneer, such as lightweight concrete or glass reinforced concrete.

The fireplace surround is modular and, prior to installation, is customized by a consumer who may pick and choose components considered to be desirable by the consumer. Each of the components may be mounted to the support wall in various layouts. A fireplace surround according to a preferred embodiment of the invention may have one or more of the several components discussed below.

A mantel shelf is one of the more common surround components. The mantel shelf may be mounted in two preferred ways. In a first preferred embodiment, a metal track is mounted in the wall above the fireplace opening and brackets are mounted to the back of the mantel shelf. The mantel shelf is formed with a foam core and an outer shell. The foam core makes the mantel shelf relatively light and thus a workman can easily lift the mantel shelf and engage the brackets on the mantel shelf with the track on the wall. Additionally, the workman can put an adhesive, such as Thinset mortar or latex adhesive, on the back of the mantel shelf if a more secure connection is desired. The brackets will permanently hold the mantel shelf in place until the adhesive sets. In an alternative embodiment, the mantel shelf has a lower hollow main body with a reinforced back member adapted to receive fasteners that pass through the back member into the support wall. Such a connection is sufficient to permanently hold the mantel shelf in place, but adhesive may be used if desired. A top component is installed over the open upper portion of the main body and creates a finished surface that conceals the fasteners.

Some of the surround components are provided with a groove, located in a top surface, adapted to receive fasteners that pass through the component into the support wall and, when installed, the grooves are covered by a second component. Corbels, lintels and legs are examples of surround components that fall into this category. As discussed, each of these components is formed with an inner foam core and an outer shell formed of manufactured stone veneer however, the shell may be hollow. Surround components located near the fireplace opening are formed of solid manufactured stone veneer, such as glass reinforced concrete. Hearthstones, plinth stones, corbels, lintels and front facing blocks are examples of components that fall into this category. Finally, a front facing is constituted by a plurality of modular, interchangeable stone components arranged about the top and sides of the fireplace opening. These components may be placed anywhere in the surround but are shown framed by a mantel shelf on top, legs on the sides, and a hearth below. It should be understood that the components could be brick, marble or granite tiles, slabs, or stone pieces as well.

When a workman installs the fireplace surround, the following method is typically used. A consumer selects a first array of desired components from the first set of components each having a foam core and a manufactured stone veneer shell designed to be located at least eight (8) inches (20 cm) from the fireplace opening. A consumer then selects a second array of desired components from the second set of components formed of entirely noncombustible materials including manufactured stone veneer or other noncombustible facing materials such as natural stone, brick, granite, or limestone tile etc. The first array of desired components are temporarily mounted in the fireplace surround. For example, a pair of leg members is mounted on the wall by passing fasteners through a groove in each of the leg members and into the wall. The grooves and fasteners are then covered with another of the plurality of components, such as a pair of corbels or a mantel shelf. Likewise, a pair of corbels is mounted on the wall by passing fasteners through a groove in each of the corbels into the wall, with the groove and fastener being covered by the mantel shelf. A lintel is mounted on the wall above the opening by passing fasteners through a groove in the lintel into the wall and covering the groove and fastener with the mantel shelf. The mantel shelf is generally the last of the components to install. A hearth is mounted on the floor below the opening when the surround is placed around a wood fireplace. A pair of adjustable plinth stones is placed on the hearth. A front facing, including a plurality of modular, interchangeable components each formed of an artificial stone veneer, is placed between the mantel shelf and the hearth in a desired pattern and fixed in place with an adhesive. Additionally, selected components can be installed on the support wall.

With this arrangement, a fireplace surround can be quickly and inexpensively installed on site. Additional objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more readily apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments when taken in conjunction with the drawings wherein like reference numerals refer to corresponding parts in the several views.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the front of a fireplace surround according to a first preferred embodiment of the invention showing an arrangement with a lintel and mantel shelf across the top of the fireplace facing materials and legs outside a modular facing;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the front of a fireplace surround according to a second preferred embodiment of the invention showing an arrangement with a mantel shelf, corbels and a trim on the inside and outside of a modular facing;

FIG. 3 is a cut-away view of the surround of FIG. 2 showing a connection between the mantel shelf and a wall;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the mantel shelf of FIG. 3 showing mounting clips;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the mantel shelf of FIG. 2 showing a two-piece arrangement;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of one of the corbels of FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the corbel of FIG. 6 taken along the line 7-7;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of one of the legs of FIG. 1;

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of the leg of FIG. 8 taken along the line 9-9;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the lintel of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view of the lintel of FIG. 10 taken along the line 11-11.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

With initial reference to FIG. 1, there is shown an exemplary fireplace 20, having an associated chimney 21, located in a support wall 22 of a house or other building 23. As shown, the fireplace 20 is a pre-manufactured fireplace having a front opening 24. Vents 26 may be provided above and below a firebox 28 to allow air to circulate and provide better heating efficiency. A pair of glass doors 30 is provided to allow people to tend to the fireplace 20. The doors 30 may be left closed or open as desired. When the fireplace 20 is not is use, the doors 30 are typically left shut in order to prevent air from escaping up the chimney 21. The fireplace 20 may be a conventional wood fireplace or may be fueled by natural gas, propane or other sources.

A fireplace surround assembly 40 is adapted to be mounted on a support floor 41 and to the support wall 22 around the fireplace 20. The surround assembly 40 is modular and formed from a plurality of surround components 42. A consumer who may pick and choose components that he considers desirable to customize the surround assembly 40. Each of the components may be mounted to the support wall 22 in various configurations. In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, surround assembly 40 may have one or more of the several components discussed below. The surround assembly 40 shown in FIG. 1 is just an example of one possible configuration. Another configuration will be discussed below in reference to FIG. 2. However, it should be readily understood that various configurations are possible.

With reference to FIG. 1, a hearth extension 44 is required for wood burning fireplaces and is formed of several hearthstones 46. Even though the hearth extension 44 is not required for gas or electric fireplace installation, hearthstones 46 are commonly used for aesthetic appeal. When used with a wood fireplace, the hearthstones 46 must be non-combustible and extend at least 16 inches (40 cm) from the firebox 28. If the front opening 24 is more than 3 square feet, the hearth extension 44 should be at least 20 inches (40 cm). The hearth extension 44 must also meet any other heat resistant requirements for the selected manufactured firebox 28. The hearthstones 46 are typically formed of concrete or glass reinforced concrete and are 1½ inches (approximately 4 cm) thick, 12 inches (30 cm) long and 20 inches (51 cm) wide and formed in several different lengths. The hearthstones 46 are installed in a conventional manner by attaching a metal lath 47 over a prepared surface of the floor 41 with fasteners 48 that penetrate the floor 41 to a depth in the order of ⅝ of an inch. The hearthstones 46 are then set in a full setting bed of masonry or thin set mortar 49. Lath 47 is not required on noncombustible floors, such as those made with concrete slabs. Optionally, there may be preformed recessed cavities, such as ⅜″×⅜″ recesses (not shown), on the hearth stones to accommodate grout joints.

Plinth stones 50 are used as a decorative trim component at the base of the fireplace surround assembly 40. The plinth stones 50 are formed of solid manufactured stone veneer, such as glass reinforced concrete. The plinth stones 50 are installed using lath 47 and masonry or thin set mortar 49. Also, latex construction adhesives may be used in areas that do not have non-combustible or heat requirements set by the fireplace manufacturer.

Around the top 52 and sides 53, 54 of the fireplace opening 24, a front facing 55 is formed of manufactured stone veneer and may either be a preformed or precut panel 57 as shown in FIG. 1 or may be a plurality of modular, interchangeable components pieces or blocks 59 as shown in FIG. 2. When utilized, stone components, pieces or blocks 59 are placed in the surround assembly 40. In either case, the front facing 55 is installed on a metal lath substrate 60 with masonry or installed with Thinset mortar 62 or, if sufficiently far away from the firebox 28, it is typically secured with latex construction adhesives.

In FIG. 1, the facing 55 is framed by a lintel 63 on top, legs 64 on the sides, and plinth stones 50 below. A cove molding 66 is placed at the inner edges 67 of the manufacture stone veneer of the front facing 55. The cove molding 66 is made of manufactured stone veneer, which is typically made of glass reinforced concrete and installed by adhering the cove molding 66 to an inner edge 67 of the abutting front facing 55 next to the firebox opening 24 using adhering materials that meet the non-combustible and heat performance requirements for the associated firebox 28. A mantel shelf 70 is located above the lintel 63.

In FIG. 2, the front facing 55 is framed by a mantel shelf 70 on top and hearth extension 44 below. A cove molding 66′ is placed at outer edges 77 of the manufacture stone veneer of the front facing 55. The cove molding 66′ is adhered to a sheathing (not shown) of the support wall 22 away from the firebox 28 so that adhesives, such as latex construction adhesive, may be used instead of a lath and mortar. A preformed architectural trim 80 is placed around the firebox 28 and is used at inner edges 81 of the front facing 55. The preformed architectural trim 80 is made of manufactured stone veneer, which is made of precast lightweight concrete. The preformed architectural trim 80 is adhered to the edges 81 of the front facing 55 and the substrate or metal lath 60 next to the opening 24 using adhering materials that meet the non-combustible and heat performance requirements for the associated firebox 28. If the preformed architectural trim 80 is adhered to the sheathing of the support wall 22 away from the firebox 28 other adhesives, such as latex construction adhesive may be used.

Referring now to FIGS. 3 and 4, the mantel shelf 70 is formed of a 5/16-inch shell 82 of manufactured stone veneer coated onto five sides of an expanded polystyrene core 88. A reinforced back side 90 of the polystyrene core 88 is finished with a polymer cementitious skim coat over a fiberglass matt. The mantel shelf 70 may be mounted in various ways. In one embodiment as best seen in FIGS. 3 and 4, a reinforcing back member in the form of a metal track 100 is mounted in the wall 22 with fasteners 101 above the fireplace opening 24 and brackets 110 are mounted to back 90 of the mantel shelf 70. The foam core 88 makes the mantel shelf 70 relatively light and thus a workman can easily lift the mantel shelf 70 and engage the brackets 110 on the mantel shelf 70 with the track 100 on the wall 22 to form an overall mantel shelf assembly. The workman will typically put an adhesive, such as Thinset mortar or a latex adhesive Portland cement mortar, on the back 90 of the mantel shelf 70 for a more secure permanent connection, and the brackets 110 will hold the mantel shelf 70 in place until the adhesive sets. For mantel shelf 70, brackets 110 are fastened into the wall studs and are a primary support, with the adhesives being a secondary support. In an alternative embodiment, a mantel shelf 70′ shown in FIG. 5 is configured as a two-piece arrangement and has a lower hollow main body 112 with an integrated, internal reinforced back member 113 adapted to receive fasteners 115 that pass through the back member 113 into the wall 22. Such a connection is sufficient to permanently hold the mantel shelf 70′ in place, but adhesive may also be used if desired. A top component 116 is installed over the open upper portion of the main body 112 and creates a finished surface that conceals the fasteners 115. In this embodiment, a metal lath does not need to be used.

Referring now to FIGS. 1-3 and 6-11, some components 120 of the assembly 40, such as corbels 130, 131, are provided with a groove 132 adapted to receive fasteners 133 that pass through the component 120 and into the wall 22. Grooves 132 and fasteners 133 are then covered by a second component, such as the mantel shelf 70 when installed, such that the fasteners 133 are hidden from view. Corbels 130 and 131, legs 64 and a lintel 63 are examples of components 120 that fall into this category. Each of these components 120, except the corbel 130 in FIG. 7, is formed with an inner foam core 150, such as a polystyrene foam core, and an outer shell 155 formed of GFRC (glass fiber reinforced concrete) manufactured stone veneer. As best seen in FIGS. 2, 3, 6 and 7, corbels 130, 131 are used as decorative trim and are also used as additional support for the mantel shelf 70. A back side 160 of the inner core 150 is finished with a polymer cementations skim coat over a fiberglass matt.

Referring now to FIGS. 1, 8 and 9, legs 64 are used as decorative trim and are also used as additional support for the mantel shelf 70. The legs 64 are formed with a shell 175 of manufactured GFRC stone veneer coated onto five sides of an expanded, polystyrene core 176. A back side 180 of the core 176 is finished with a polymer cementations skim coat over a fiberglass matt. In the embodiments shown, each leg 64 is integrally formed with a respective corbel 185 such that each leg 64 has a groove 181 in its top surface 183 adapted to receive fasteners 184 to be covered by another component 42, such as mantel shelf 70 as shown in FIG. 1.

Referring now to FIGS. 1, 10 and 11, the lintel 63 is used as a decorative trim component under the mantel shelf 70 between the fireplace surround legs 64. The lintel 63 is typically formed of a 5/16 inch (0.8 cm) shell 186 of GFRC manufactured stone veneer coated onto five sides of an expanded polystyrene core but may also be made as a multi-piece unit, such as a three-piece unit. In addition, the lintel 63 may be made without foam. A back side 190 of the core 187 is finished with a polymer cementations skim coat over a fiberglass matt. If the lintel 63 has to be cut to a certain length during installation, then the resulting exposed polystyrene core 187 is concealed when installed against the manufactured stone veneer of the side of the associated leg component 64. In construction similar to the corbels, the lintel 63 has grooves 191 in its top surface 193 adapted to receive fasteners 194 and be covered by another component 42, typically the mantel shelf 70.

As can be seen from the above discussion, the surround assembly 40 can use two types of components 42. A first set of components has a foam core and a GFRC manufactured stone veneer shell. The foam core makes these components light, but since they are not made entirely of noncombustible materials they are located at least 8 inches (20 cm) from the fireplace opening. A second set of components is formed of entirely noncombustible materials and these components are formed from a manufactured stone veneer, such as glass reinforced concrete or lightweight concrete. In one embodiment, the method of establishing the surround assembly 40 includes having first array of desired components selected from a first set of components having a foam core and a manufactured stone veneer shell designed to be located at least 8 inches (20 cm) from the fireplace opening. For example, legs and lintels and mantel/shelves can be in the first array An array set of desired components is also selected from a second set of components formed of entirely noncombustible materials including manufactured stone veneer. For example, hearthstone or plinth stones and cove moldings can be in the second array.

The desired components from the first set of components are temporarily mounted around the fireplace opening. For example, in accordance with the embodiment of FIG. 1, hearth stones 46 are initially installed first and then plinth stones 50 are mounted thereon. The pair of leg members 64 are mounted on the wall 22 above plinth stones 50 by passing respective fasteners 184 into the groove 181 in each of the leg members 64 into the wall 22. Next, the second set of entirely fire resistant components defined by the facing 55 is mounted. The lintel 63 can then be mounted on the wall 22 above the opening 24 and between the integral corbels 185 of leg members 64 by passing the fasteners 194 through the grooves 191 in the lintel 63 and into the wall 22. The mantel shelf 70 is mounted over the leg members 64 and lintel 63 so as to cover the grooves 181, 191 and fasteners 184, 194. The mantel shelf 70 is mounted in one of two ways. More specifically, the one-piece mantel shelf 70 is mounted by first mounting the track 100 over the fireplace opening 24 with fasteners 101. The mantel shelf 70 is then lifted in place so as to engage brackets 110 embedded in the mantel shelf 70 with the track 100. With the second embodiment of the mantel shelf 70′, fasteners 115 are placed through the reinforced back 113 of the hollow main body 112 and the top component 116 is then put in place to hide the fasteners 115 and give a finished appearance. To complete the assembly, cove molding 66 is provided. Assembly of the fireplace surround assembly shown in FIG. 2 is carried out in a similar manner as to that shown in FIG. 1. Therefore, when corbels 130, 131 are employed, corbels 130, 131 are mounted on the wall 22 by passing fasteners 133 into the grooves 132 in each of the corbels 130, 131 and into the wall 22. Again, the grooves 132 and the fasteners 133 would be covered with the mantel shelf 70. The front facing 55, including the plurality of modular, interchangeable components 59, each formed of an artificial stone veneer, is placed between the mantel shelf 70 and the hearth extension 44 in a desired pattern and fixed in place with an adhesive. The components can also be installed in other sequences, i.e., starting with components next to the firebox opening and installing remaining components as work continues outward from the firebox opening.

Although described with reference to preferred embodiment of the invention, it should be readily understood that various changes and/or modifications can be made to the invention without departing from the spirit thereof. For instance, a fireplace surround assembly may be made entirely with front facing of interchangeable blocks and not include a mantel shelf or a hearth extension. In fact, given that a consumer can readily pick and choose desired components from the first and second arrays, a wide range of readily producible fireplace surround assemblies can be established. In addition, it should be realized that the order of assembly of the components as set forth herein could readily be altered without affecting the overall, final fireplace surround system construction. Components described as having a foam core can also be made with fire resistant hollow core GFRC. In general, the invention is only intended to be limited by the scope of the following claims.