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Can You Put River Rock in a Fireplace in San Diego, CA
Category Landscape Rock
Adding river rock to a fireplace isn’t a safe choice, which is why many designers avoid suggesting this to homeowners. Instead, you should choose stone fireplace materials that can safely absorb heat. There are various stone options that allow you to maintain the rock-based design. Some selections include beach pebbles, gems, and stone veneer. Here are some things to consider when it comes to putting river rock in a fireplace.


River rocks typically contain water, which is why you should never use them in fireplaces. Although these stones are beautiful, the water in rocks that have been submerged in rivers can cause them to explode when they’re heated or placed near the high temperature of a fireplace. The explosions could cause them to chip, damage property, and potentially harm someone. The top river rocks to avoid include soapstone, limestone, basalt, and shale. Instead of these items, select other decorative stones or a variety of beach pebbles, from pure gold to green jade, mixed gold, and white pebbles.


Visual appeal is one of the reasons to put stones, gems, and pebbles in a fireplace. The exterior of your property may resemble these stones, giving your house a warm and familiar tone. Natural materials are something many homeowners want, and beach pebbles surrounding the fireplace add to the natural feel. Instead of being limited to one color or texture, the different styles give you more to choose from when selecting the decorative rocks. 

The sizes and shapes of beach pebbles also vary. Therefore, these materials can blend well and safely with the room and décor. For instance, if you have a wooden texture or a natural stone look in the room, adding mixed gold pebbles or stone veneer to the fireplace could accent the wood and make the property more visually appealing.


If you want to use river rocks, add fireplace stones to the surrounding instead of using decorative rocks that have formed in river beds. Stone slabs can be customized into any shape and size, ensuring your fireplace is unique and built to your liking. 

Another plus to surrounding the feature with decorative rocks is durability. Using bricks on hearths could cause wear and tear more easily, forming chips and cracks that make the room lose its visual appeal. However, stones, beach pebbles, and gems can provide the soft, warm, and natural look you seek without the risk of explosions. These materials can absorb and radiate heat from the fireplace without damage, making them an ideal choice.

Longevity & Low Maintenance

These are two advantages to using the stones mentioned above in your fireplace. The beach pebbles and other materials pair well with most textures and can surround the fireplace for many years without losing their luster. The natural stones also require less dusting or polishing, allowing them to maintain their allure without all the maintenance. You can hire a professional to clean and restore the stones if they become discolored. However, a damp sponge or washcloth can wash away minor stains.

For advice on how to properly use decorative rocks, reach out to the experts at RS&P Rocks Stones & Pebbles, a premier landscape rock and supply superstore. We specialize in drought-tolerant landscaping materials, including a variety of colored river rock and Mexican beach pebble, including black polished pebbles. To learn how we can help you enhance the character and beauty of your outdoor space, call us today at (866) 380-0770.

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