Are you living with an old style fireplace that just doesn’t match your home decor? The fireplace typically is the welcoming focal point of your home, if you have a tired looking gas fireplace with “fake looking” logs and a bulky brick finish, now is the time for a makeover!
Fireplace makeovers can range in price and scope depending on your budget. If your gas fireplace is in good shape but the whole look needs help, you can paint the brick structure for an inexpensive update. Don’t like the mantel you have? It can be removed or changed to a more modern look. If you are sick of looking at brick and want a sleek contemporary look, we can install natural stone or tile facing over top of the brick finish; this is referred to as refacing or resurfacing. Tastes change, or if you have moved into an older home it may not be your style!
If the fireplace is too bulky and overwhelming for your space we can also remove the brick back to the wall and create a smaller footprint by perhaps installing a marble or tile facing. Or covering the top portion with drywall to make it appear scaled down to fit the room better.
You may find that you have the opposite situation, a large room with cathedral ceilings but the fireplace looks too small. The scale of the room may dictate a full floor to ceiling stone fireplace to anchor the room. Integrating cabinets or book shelves on either side of the fireplace will give you space for your television, books or artistic glass pieces and again, make the fireplace more substantial.
Do you need a visual to determine what the size change will look like? You can use cardboard or paper and tape it on the wall or fireplace to show you how the size will work in your space. If you need a scale drawing many interior designers will offer this service for a fee and give you good advice to tie your whole look together.
Where to Begin with Your Fireplace Makeover
Where do you start? I like looking through HOUZZ or Pinterest for ideas, to see what appeals me. Many times I will find a couple of pictures that speak to me and I will take components from both pictures to create something unique that works for the space I am working on.
Prices can vary widely depending on the materials (ex. Natural stone facings, tile, barn board) involved and the time required to achieve your dreams. Having a budget in mind will help the process. You may have a design or look that you want to achieve but if it doesn’t fit your budget then we can modify the design or change materials to make it work for you.
One word of caution, you do need to consult the fireplace installation manual regarding clearances. I have seen many people reface their fireplaces and create a dangerous situation by installing combustible materials too close to the fireplace opening or by covering air circulation grills that are required by the manufacturer to keep the firebox temperature at a safe and acceptable level. Fireplaces, whether they are gas or wood, also have clearances related to mantel height in relation to the firebox opening.
Another aspect to remodelling your fireplace is the actual fireplace box. You may just have an open fireplace that you burn wood in at Christmas time and it sucks heat out of your home the rest year or an older wood or gas insert that has seen better days. There are many high efficiency wood inserts that are quite stylish and can compliment your look as well as providing a good source of heat and cutting down on your heat loss.
With gas fireplaces being on the market for over 30 years many are starting to break down or wear out. There have been a couple of manufacturer’s products that have been red tagged by Technical Safety Standards Authority. This generally occurs when the fireplaces are old and the pressure relief doors don’t reliably work properly, then the glass front can blow out creating a potential safety hazard. So it is advisable to have your gas or propane fireplace serviced annually. If your fireplace has been in for 20 years, now is the time to update to a safer product and a more current look.
Michele Kadwell-Chalmers, fireplace consultant
The Original Flame inc.