Countdown To A Warm Winter

5 Things to Consider When Building a Fireplace

A cold spell is about to hit and although we are fortunate with our winter weather, a comforting fireplace not only adds ambience, but also a cozy home.

But like any other construction project, creating a plan beforehand can help assure that the project you are doing will be a huge success, so there are a few points to check before building a fireplace.

Taking each one into account can help you save effort, time, and of course, money.

Here are some of the things to consider when building a fireplace:

5. Know its purpose

Having a fireplace can add value to your home and, of course, bring about a calm and relaxing atmosphere in your backyard or even in your living space. Whether it is for an indoor living room or an outdoor patio, knowing your purpose will help you create a more concrete plan.

Are you planning to build a fireplace to add more warmth in your home while reducing electrical bills, (especially with load-shedding a frequent challenge) or is it simply to add character to an area? You must know your purpose to determine what type of fireplace you want to build exactly.

 Here are some options:

  • Wood Burning Fireplace: This may not produce a large amount of heat and is not suitable for warming up a large area, particularly outside. However, the lovely little wood-burning heaters that are made especially for indoor heating, are not only attractive but designed to be very effective with only a little wood. Measure the area beforehand so you can discuss it with the consultant and get the best option. Fantastic during load shedding.
  • Gas Fireplace: Energy-efficient and does not require high maintenance. Equally fantastic during load shedding.
  • Pellet Stoves: Perfect for warming up bigger spaces.
  • Electric or Bio-ethanol; Warms up the small area that surrounds the hearth.

4. Installation and Running Costs

It’s a good idea to also account in advance for the cost of installing the fireplace and its future running costs. It may influence whether you want to install in the first place. For instance, opting for a wood-burning fireplace may involve a much more significant pre-installation outlay. One needs to take into account the flues and the fact that they need to extend past the roof of your home so you don’t annoy the neighbours. Installation may also mean either core drilling through a wall, or even the slab above if you have a double story.

Still, its future running costs would be low, especially if you have easy access to firewood.

3. Renovation costs

Another point you should consider is the renovation costs. Opting for a wood-burning fireplace would require a chimney, and this will undoubtedly involve significant renovations if you do not have one yet. Building a fireplace will require the services of a construction company and may require re-submission of house plans.

If you select a pellet stove, (or the internal wood burning fireplaces mentioned above), you will need to install a flue requiring some relevant alterations.

Similarly, gas fireplaces require a piping flue system and a vent to release the gasses, while electric fireplaces require an electrical outlet.

2. Building and safety codes

Each place has its safety and building codes. Some mandatory requirements may include the projections and thickness of the chimney footer, the roof penetration length, the external air supply location, positioning of the gas line, emission levels, and much more. Go through these requirements carefully with the installation company.

Sometimes, you may end up with no choice but to remain with your area’s “default option” because this is what is approved in your location’s building code.

1. Fireplace Design

Whether it is for warmth or an aesthetically pleasing environment, the design of your fireplace would be of utmost importance. Of course, you would want to make sure that your fireplace serves its purpose while matching your home’s style and design at the same time. You can go for the more traditional techniques detailed with iron or marble or go for a minimalist design with glass. The choice is endless.

The smaller wood-burning stove option will need to be placed a meter from the wall, so bear in mind that furniture may need to be rearranged, and… more importantly, curtains repositioned if they are to lie next to the external flue. (Although these flues are insulated).  Generally, a space of at least half a meter needs to remain on either side of the flue, so take the surrounding space into consideration when you are looking at adding an internal, freestanding fireplace.

Stay warm and if you need advice, chat to us

Bruce

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