Fireplace Renovation Options

Fireplace Renovation Options

A fireplace makeover can easily provide a new focal point in your home

By Sylvia Cochran

Stone Fireplace and Kitchen
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Fireplaces used to be the focal points of the living room because they were a home's primary heat source. But central heating and other heating options have made fireplaces optional, and many homeowners now find that old-fashioned brick fireplaces clash with their modern home decors. There are a number of fireplace renovation options, which, depending on your budget, may provide a complete overhaul of your fireplace or merely an attractive facelift.

Radical Renovation

Choose a radical renovation of your fireplace if you want to start from scratch and redesign the look and feel of this feature. This is a costly undertaking that will require demolition work and usually also the services of a licensed contractor. The result will be well worth the mess and expense: A custom-built fireplace presents a stunning focal point for your home or office, and seamlessly ties into its decor. Before using a newly renovated fireplace, have it inspected by a chimney sweep to ensure that there are no cracks or other problems that might impact the functionality or safety of the fireplace.

Exterior Updating

When cost is a major consideration and the fireplace is generally in good working order, opt for a facelift of its exterior instead of a radical renovation. This is especially apropos if the fireplace in question was built in the 1950s or 1970s, and features outdated brick designs or unattractive colors. Fireplace brick paint is specifically formulated for use on the area surrounding the pit opening and will not melt or bubble when heated. As an alternative, you may consider installing marble slabs or granite over the brick to give your fireplace an updated look that is aesthetically pleasing and fits into your home's color scheme.

Heating Element Update

Consumers with wood-burning fireplaces may find that wood-burning restrictions prevent them from enjoying a crackling fire when they would like to have it most: on cold, damp winter evenings. There are several fireplace renovation options that allow wood fireplace users to update their fireplaces to gas power. This requires the installation of a gas burner and gas line, but the rest of the fireplace remains virtually unchanged. Another option is the electric fireplace insert that provides heat as well as environmentally-friendly energy use.

Usage Update

Renovate your fireplace with a new use in mind. For example, if you no longer desire a working fireplace but instead would prefer a stunning conversation piece, concentrate your efforts on the mantle and the surrounding brickwork, and remove the burning element altogether. As an alternative, if you want to use the fireplace, but only for the occasional cozy fire rather than major heat production, install an insert that lets you use gel fuel. This fuel is the same type that you use to keep your fondue pot warm, and it offers clean-burning fire and a bit of heat.

About the Author

Sylvia Cochran is a regular contributor to DexKnows, specializing in home and garden.

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