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Curl Up in the Warmth: How to Remodel a Fireplace

You’ve been staring at that fireplace for too long now. The dated mantel, the wrong colored tile, the dated brick. Any or all of these things act like nails on a chalkboard whenever you look at it. The good news? You’re not the only one. We’ve worked with many people who have wanted to know how to remodel a fireplace and over the years, we’ve picked up a few things that will help you through the process and make your new fireplace exceptional.

Identify what’s wrong with your fireplace

Is it the tile or rock or brick that surrounds it? Is it the placement in the room? Is it the mantel or lack of a mantel? Is it the built-in structure that surrounds it or the hearth? Or, maybe you’re doing a larger remodel project and you’re considering adding the fireplace to the project. Whatever your reason, depending on what you don’t like about your fireplace will ultimately guide your project and its cost.

Surrounding material and future options

A variety of materials can surround a fireplace. Sometimes, the surrounding material is attached to the wall and can be torn out. Then, the backing material can be replaced and a new material applied. Other times, the surrounding material is a part of the structure. No matter what your circumstance is, we can help you figure out the right solution. We work with experienced contractors who will help you determine what, if any, structural changes need to be made to your home.

Remember though, the great thing with a material change – and the most fun part – is figuring out the look you want. So many choices exist these days. You’ll be amazed what can be done with tile, brick veneer and ledgestone. And even if you have an idea in mind, we recommend you look at several of these options before deciding on one. You never know what may surprise you.

The placement

If you don’t like where your fireplace sits in the room, the level of complexity of the project increases, but don’t let that discourage you. We’ve helped many people move their fireplace. Just know, that moving a fireplace to another place in the room most likely will involve some sort of structural change internally and externally. For instance, do you know where your current fireplace is vented? Is it through a chimney that’s a part of the house? Or is it vented through a hidden pipe in the wall? Once again, we can help you find an experienced contractor to guide you through a fireplace move.

The mantel

The mantel, often the centerpiece of the fireplace, is definitely worth thinking through really well. What do you want it to look like? As with surrounding materials, you’ll have a lot of fun options to consider. And don’t forget to think about what you want the mantel’s purpose to be? Do you want to display framed pictures or decorative objects on top of it? If so, a groove in the top to help things stay in place may make sense. Are you thinking you might put a TV above it? If so, you’ll want to consider how high the TV will actually sit and where the power for the TV will come from. If the TV is too high, you may be craning your neck to watch your favorite shows. And if there’s no power in the area, you’ll need to add outlets to avoid unsightly wires.

The firebox

How old is your firebox? Does it look dated and out of place with your current style? Does it look beat up and used up? Does it have a blower? Many times, when someone remodels their fireplace, it makes sense to replace the firebox. Other times, a really good cleaning or even a refinishing with heat resistant paint may be all that is needed. We do see many fireboxes that were initially installed by the contractor and are quite inefficient or, they’re surrounded with brass trim or accents that just don’t cut it anymore. Don’t fret, though. If you choose to replace your firebox, there are a variety of options to consider.

Enjoy the process

As you can see, remodeling a fireplace offers a lot of things to think about. We do advise, based on the possible complexity of this project, that you speak with professionals who know how to remodel a fireplace and have experience doing so. If you’re like some people who visit us, it could be a matter of tearing out some old tile and redoing what was there. But, if you’re like others, it could mean tearing out walls, running electrical, and thinking through structural changes. No matter which project yours ends up being, have fun researching your options, embrace the process and know that we’re here to help.

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