A fireplace is a warm, inviting feature to have as part of your home. Though not something that is often top of mind during a home renovation, it’s a good idea to consider how a fireplace can affect the design of your remodel. Perhaps there are things about your fireplace you’d like to change. Or perhaps you want to add a fireplace to a room in your home. Either way, it’s important to figure out what type of fireplace will be best for your remodel.
At Lamont Bros., we’ve remodeled hundreds of homes across the Portland Metro Area. Our team of design experts understands the challenges of incorporating a fireplace into a remodel design. If you have questions about how your fireplace fits into the overall vision of your remodel, you’ll find answers here.
In this article, we’ll discuss the things you need to know when remodeling with a fireplace. Once you’re finished reading, you should be confident in your understanding of the options available to you and be one step closer to making a decision for your project. In this article, we’ll discuss:
- Reasons to include a fireplace in your remodel design
- 3 different types of fireplace remodels
- Pros and Cons of 5 types of fireplaces
Why should you have a fireplace?
Having a fireplace isn’t for everyone, but they can be a great feature in nearly any home. Here are a few reasons why you might want to have a fireplace.
Fireplaces produce heat
Most homes have HVAC systems that take care of central heating. However, a fireplace can reduce your utility consumption by providing an additional source of heat. Or, if you want to be able to heat a localized area of your home without turning up the temperature everywhere, a fireplace can be a good solution. Depending on the type of fireplace you have, it can also be used to heat the home during a power outage.
Fireplaces add Design Appeal
A well-designed fireplace can be a beautiful focal point in your home. It can provide a beautiful visual and aural ambiance, whether lit or not. The flicker of the flames, the crackling of the fire, and the glow of the embers all add to the overall aesthetic appeal of a room. It’s a timeless, traditional feature that can enhance nearly any space.
Fireplaces Increase Home Value
Dating back to some of the [earliest homes ever built by humans](https://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/article/140129-oldest-hearth-israel-cave-new-human-species-discovery-archaeology-science#:~:text=New species of early human,300%2C000 years ago%2C say archaeologists.&text=An ancient limestone cave in,more than 300%2C000 years ago.), fireplaces are among the most popular design features. That remains true even today. According to Redfin, homes with fireplaces tend to sell at 13% higher prices than homes without. So, if you’re looking for ways to increase the value of your home, adding or upgrading a fireplace is one way you can do so.
Types of Fireplace Remodels
Depending on the current design of your home and whether or not it has a fireplace already, you may be looking at one of several types of projects. Below are the most common types of fireplace remodels.
If you already have a fireplace and are satisfied with the way it works but want to make it more aesthetically pleasing, you’ll need a cosmetic upgrade. In this type of fireplace remodel, the working elements of the firebox stay the same, while the surrounding visual elements get the treatment.
Most often, it’s the hearth and surrounding elements that homeowners want to change. Red brick, tile, and brown stone fireplace surrounds are less popular today. Most homeowners choose to upgrade to whitewashed brick, marble, or gray stone. It’s also an opportunity to update the finishes, such as trim, molding, or paint. This might also include installing a new fireplace screen or doors.
In some cases, you may want to change the type of fireplace in your home. This typically involves not only updating the visual elements but also altering how it functions. Converting a fireplace from one fuel source to another can be complex and expensive, but it is possible.
The most important factor to consider is ensuring proper ventilation for the new fireplace. For example, wood-burning fireplaces require a chimney, while gas fireplaces require a different type of vent that can be installed in a former wood-burning chimney.
Many manufacturers offer drop-in fireplace models that can be easily installed in an existing location. If you’re converting to a gas or electric fireplace, you may need to have utility lines run through the wall, which can add additional costs.
Perhaps you’ve found yourself in the unfortunate position of wanting a fireplace and not having one. In this case, you’re going to need to install an entirely new fireplace. The good news is that you’ll have total control over how the new fireplace looks and functions. The bad news is that adding a fireplace is the most expensive type of fireplace remodel.
When adding a fireplace, the space is a blank canvas and you’re holding the brush. You’ll get to make the fireplace exactly as you want it. Fuel source, size, design aesthetic, and materials are all yours to explore and decide what works best for you.
Types of Fireplace and Why They Matter
The type of fireplace you select will largely determine the scope and cost of the project. While there are several ways to categorize fireplaces, their fuel sources will have the most direct impact on your remodel project and user experience. Below is a list of the 3 most popular types of fireplaces.
A wood fireplace relies on natural wood as a fuel source. One of the most historically popular methods of heating, wood fireplaces are becoming less common as homeowners move towards other heat sources.
- Renewable, easily sourced fuel
- Unparalleled ambiance & experience
- Very warm
- Requires no power or gas
- More effort to run and maintain
- Expensive to build
- Less efficient burning
- Illegal to build in some areas
Using a propane or natural gas fuel source, gas fireplaces are increasing in popularity around the world. They offer a strong between the ambiance of a wood-burning fireplace and the safety and control of an electric fireplace.
- Good for homes with natural gas hookups
- Real flame with extra safety
- Better temperature control
- Can be used in a power outage (depending on model)
- Requires gas hookups
- More expensive than wood
- Must have ventilation
- Nonrenewable fuel source
Rather than directly consuming a source of combustible fuel, electric fireplaces use a heating element. The flames displayed within an electric fireplace are not actual flames and do not give off heat. Electric fireplaces require no ventilation and are relatively easy to install.
- Easy temperature control
- Simple installation, can go anywhere
- No vent required
- Flame & heat are separate
- No real fire
- Requires electricity
- Less heat output
- Low energy efficiency
Want to learn more about home renovation?
Now that you understand more about what type of fireplace remodel might be best for you, do you feel confident in making a decision for your home renovation? If so, continue your research. Check out our portfolio on whole home remodels to gather more design inspiration and learn about the remodeling process.
Want to start designing your remodel? If so, don’t do it alone! Let our team of professional remodel designers help you navigate the challenging process of home remodeling. Click the button below to schedule a call with a member of our team.