August 23


Useful Tips and Measurement Guidelines

By Brian McMonagle

August 23, 2017


The shelf width or mantel width is the widest point of the fireplace. Appearance wise, where possible, keep the shelf width less than the chimney breast width. If the room contains a flat wall, (no chimney breast) then a fireplace size of one third the wall measurement is a reasonable guideline for choosing your preferred size.


Normally the hearth width corresponds with the shelf width. Fabricated hearths for solid fuel fires generally measure 3” in height and are no less that 18” deep and the hearth along with the back panel should be fabricated with sufficient expansion joints where solid fuels are being used. Black granite has proven itself to be the number one choice for hearths and back panel inserts.


Generally the measurement is 36” x 36”, requiring an insert or back panel of min. 37” x 37”. The rebate on most units is 3”, but may be less or greater in a minority of designs. Always check the rebate dimension before fabrication.

Fire openings is a matter of choice for each customer, but standard openings in fabricated inserts are mainly 16” and 18” but larger openings can be discussed. In many cast iron designs the opening is limited to 16”.


As manufacturers, we appreciate the concern about the shade, colouring and the natural fissures that are all part and parcel of a natural material; however, we endeavour to reproduce the product as accurately as possible, but due to the beautiful nature and characteristics of natural materials there will almost always be a certain uniqueness to your chosen design.


Once you fireplace is installed allow 4–5 days before you light a fire. When you proceed to lighting fires it is imperative you temper the marble or granite. To temper, first day light a small fire (say three briquettes) and allow to burn out. On second day increase the fire by 1 briquette and allow to burnout. The next day increase the same, and so on for about 10 to 14 days.


Impregnation (sealing) products enter the pores of the stone and make the surface water-repellent and oil-repellent. The product must be applied on a dry and clean surface. We use the most advanced nano technology sealer on the market and all of our installation team are qualified applicators


Most normal household cleaners can leave a greasy smeary layer on the surface of polished granites, sometimes ring marks from glasses etc. can be seen on this greasy layer. We provide a specialist stone cleaner on every installation free of charge.

This cleaner is an outstanding ready to use product for the daily maintenance of granite work surfaces. It effortlessly removes light dirt and grease. Its special ingredient offers additional protection when used in conjunction with the initial installation sealing product used for stain protection and repelling oil and water.

The cleaner maintains the natural appearance of surfaces and hardly affects the colour and structure of the surface. It has a pleasant, fresh fragrance and its vapors are non-hazardous. It has also been approved for use on food preparation areas.


  • Do not use knives on your counter top, try to use chopping boards to avoid scratches. We provide a chopping board to match your worktop.
  • Always take care not to drop any large objects on the edge of stone as chipping may occur
  • Hot pans taken directly of a hob or cooker and put directly onto stone may leave a mark or a crack in the stone, again place mats are always recommended.
  • Whilst the sealer we use is extremely effective any stone is liable to stain if a substance like oil or wine is left on its surface for long periods of time, always try and wipe up a spill immediately and never let a spill sit for too long a period.
  • When sealed on installation, the sealer takes approximately 7 days to fully penetrate & cure into the stone; extra care must be taken during this period.Don’t leave any oil based substances sitting on the surface for long periods of time as they may gradually seep into stone during this curing period.
  • No matter how well sealed a stone counter is, if oil or anything oil based if left on the counter for long periods of time there is a possibility of staining, if this occurs contact McMonagle Marble and Granite. for advice and possible solutions on lifting stain.Never leave any acid based product on granite or quartzite for long period as it will etch the finish on the stone, even when sealed!

We hope that you will continue to enjoy your granite worktop for many, many years!

Brian McMonagle

About the author

Brian took over McMonagle Marble & Granite from his father Cathal in 2009. A family run business McMonagles was originally a fireplace distributer. Brian’s innovative steps has now expanded the company to over 20 employees, International markets and into the leading marble and granite fabricator of the North West of Ireland.

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