Adding a Fireplace to an Existing Home

Did you just buy a new home without a fireplace, or did you decide to add a fireplace to an existing room?  Gas Logs From HomeOfDecorThat’s what we did.  Although our home was brand-new, it was a spec home, so the builder chose the upgrades, and he didn’t include a fireplace.  Rather than pay over $5,000 to have him add one later, we decided to do it ourselves.  I’m glad we did, but the process was definitely a learning experience.

Wood Burning Fireplaces Versus Gas Log Fireplaces

The first step is deciding what type of fireplace you can have.  There are many places in the country that will only permit gas log fireplaces, also known as vented fireplaces, because of pollution concerns.  Gas Log Burning FireplaceThis includes cities like Denver (notorious for its brown cloud), and many towns and cities in California.  Some are passing new laws even as you read this.  If you’re not sure what types of fireplaces you may have, call your local building department to find out about any restrictions before you proceed any further. 

Choosing the Location of Your Fireplace

Armed with this information, it’s time for the next step – choosing the location of your fireplace.  There are many questions to be answered here, and lots of things to consider before you can even begin to start shopping. 

The location of your fireplace may also determine the type of fuel you will use.  Wood burning and vented gas fireplaces require access to an outside wall, while unvented gas fireplaces may be placed anywhere.

If you want a wood burning fireplace, you must choose a location that can accommodate a brick chimney along the outside.  Personally, I love this look, especially when ivy starts to climb up the wall, with beautiful green leaves contrasting the red chimney bricks.   But I wouldn’t want a chimney jutting into the middle of an existing deck, nor narrowing an egress along the side of the house.  Think carefully about this, because you are making a decision which will forever change the outside look of your property.  But don’t let this scare you away from adding a fireplace, since this will also increase the value of your home, not to mention lowering your heating bill.

Even if your plan calls for a vented gas or propane fireplace, you still need to ventilate it.  The nice part about a gas fireplace is that it just needs a simple vent about 8” in diameter, which won’t affect the outside look of your home significantly.  We put our gas fireplace in the corner of our family room, using parts of both an inside and outside wall, making it a beautiful focal point in the room, with an outside vent that’s barely noticeable.

Once you’ve decided upon the location of your fireplace, the next step is determining whether to choose a wood burning or gas log fireplace, if you have the option.