If you are a homeowner, and are thinking about the installation (or repair) of a fireplace, I’m here to give you some good news: you have a LOT of different options as far as design and model types. But this field can be very confusing — where should you start?
I suggest that you begin first with an understanding of how to build a fireplace. Not necessarily because you are going to build your fireplace yourself, but you should nevertheless understand everything that is required in building one — in particular the safety issues that are involved. Even though you may not necessarily ever install your own fireplace unit (you will need a trained professional to do that) becoming knowledgeable about the installation procedures will help you to interact more knowledgably with your chosen installer.
If you are looking for fireplace design ideas what I suggest is that you just stay right on the Internet — there are a number of fireplace manufacturer websites that are loaded with pictures showing a typical installation — and these can give you a lot of ideas for your own house. There are books you can purchase as well that can give you a lot of fireplace design ideas and tips — and it never hurts to read up on the subject before you actually begin spending serious money!
One of the nice things about today’s fireplace units is that you can purchase high-quality accessories such as fireplace facades and even decorated fireplace mantles that will allow your newly-installed fireplace to look as if they were custom-built just for your particular room. If you want to spruce up the look of an older fireplace without spending a bundle, a relatively inexpensive way to do this is to purchase a stained-glass fireplace screen. These also provide you with greater convenience because you can simply cover up your fireplace in-between cleanings.
Another one of the advantages of today’s zero clearance wood burning fireplace reviews is there are a number of alternative installation options for them. For example you can purchase a direct vent gas fireplace if your home does not have a chimney, or your existing fireplace chimney is no longer working properly. Direct vent gas fireplaces have their own separate venting pipes and fittings, which allows you to install these types of fireplace units in places you may not have considered before: a bedroom, den, or even a basement.
If you don’t want to go to the expense of putting in a separate venting system, you can choose to purchase a ventless gas fireplace. These types of Fireplaces does not require a ventilation system, and are useful in rooms where it would not be possible to have either a gas fireplace, or a more traditional wood-burning kind.
Another modern fireplace option is a wood fireplace insert. Wood fireplace inserts are simply a more efficient type of firebox, which are fully insulated and permit a more efficient combustion — meaning these fireplaces are much more energy-efficient. If you are looking for a way to really heat up a large room, and you want to improve the efficiency of your existing fireplace, wood fireplace inserts are a great choice.
And let’s not forget the out-of-doors — there are many different types of outdoor gas fireplaces that you can purchase — most of them are designed to run off of liquid propane, which means that you can move them about on your porch or patio. They provide lots of warmth in the early spring or in the late fall when the weather turns cooler. Of course if you feel ambitious, you can purchase an outdoor fireplace kit and assemble one for yourself — you can get outdoor fireplace kits in various sizes– and they are generally equipped with good quality materials which will hold up very well outside.
So whatever your needs, be assured — if you just do a little searching and digging, you can find a fireplace design and model that will meet your needs exactly — whether it’s renovating an existing wood burning fireplace, or updating to a new ventless or direct-vent model — or even if you are purchasing one for use outside — you and your family will be able to spend many enjoyable hours in front of it.
How to Build A Fireplace
The first thing to take when you’re learning how to build a fireplace, is to consider carefully the area where it will be located — you might even want to take some measurements first. You need to make sure that you will have an adequate amount of room for the size of fireplace that you wish to install.
The simple fact is that no matter how badly you want to build a fireplace, certain areas may just not be suitable. For example, if you’re building an indoor fireplace it needs to be kept a safe distance away from people, pets, and furniture — it may not be possible to install a fireplace if the installation would place you or flammable objects too close to it.
The next stage in your thinking is to think about the kind of fireplace that you want to install — because the procedures on how to build a gas fireplace, for example, may differ somewhat from what you will have to do to install a wood burning fireplace. Think carefully about the size of fireplace you will need, the type (wood or gas burning, electric, etc.) and the costs involved — can you really afford it?
How to build a fireplace properly also involves the proper consideration of how you will need to insulate your environment from the heat and flames of your fireplace. For example, if you are building an outdoor fireplace, you will need to make sure that you learn how to build a proper fireplace foundation — and it will need to be from materials such as concrete, or bricks that will not burn. You will also need to learn how to build a proper fireplace foundation if you are installing a unit inside your home — and this is also going to need to be constructed from fireproof materials.
Another thing you will have to do when you learn how to build a fireplace inside or outside is to make sure that the smoke and fumes will be able to be vented safely away from your area. Note that both indoor and outdoor fireplace types must have proper ventilation — many people attempt to build a fireplace outdoors, only to find that it was not designed or positioned properly and now they — or the neighbors — have to endure those smoke and fumes.
A major part of learning how to build a fireplace is to understand — and follow — the fireplace manufacturers instructions for installation of your unit. Improper installation may render your fireplace unusable and/or unsafe! Another part of the picture here is to learn how to build a fireplace “to code.” By this I mean that your fireplace installation must comply with your local municipalities fire code regulations — if it doesn’t, not only might your fireplace be a hazard, but your local municipality code enforcement officer may require you to tear it out completely and start over again!
Finally, an important part of learning how to build a fireplace involves learning how to operate it properly once it has been built. For example, what types of wood products should be burned in your fireplace (if any)? How should you clean it ? How often? What is the proper way to extinguish your fireplace fire? Make sure to learn all you can about how to build your fireplace properly — and don’t forget to practice fireplace safety!