Sitting around an outdoor fire is something every Canadian has enjoyed, usually in the form of a bonfire. Outdoor fireplaces are now increasing in demand as more people discover outdoor living. Outdoor areas are becoming extensions of indoor spaces and more home owners areenjoying the open air as much as possible. With more government regulations and restrictions on outdoor burning in the city & country, new options are necessary.
The fireplace can be the focal point or centrepiece of your outdoor room, especially in the cooler weather of spring or fall.This allows you to enjoy the outdoors into sweater season. We all have this primal attraction to fire, where we can kick back and relax with family and friends and reconnect. There are now many options to consider –from which fuel best suits your needs and requirements to the many design styles available!
Your decision on fuel types should start with your local municipal regulations – are you allowed to burn wood only at certain times of the year or not at all? If that is the case then you will want to consider gas/propane models or even electric.
Wood fireplaces are usually factory made fireboxes with a stainless steel chimney system, which you build into a masonry structure. These give a traditional feeling to your area with stone or brick or you can change it up by using stucco or concrete to finish it off with a modern twist! Wood fireplaces give lots of heat and you get to hear the snap, crackle of the wood. Nothing is better than toasting marshmallows in the hot coals at the end of the evening. Thedown side can be buying and storing the firewood, and getting a good draft going so that you don’t annoy your neighbours with smoke.
Gas or Propane Fireplaces
Gas or propane fireplaces are becoming popular options for many reasons.
- They are not usually affected by municipal restrictions, as they are a contained and controlled fire.
- They are extremely convenient, turning on with the flick of a remote or BBQ lighter and off with a knob. No waiting for hot embers to die down at the end of the evening.
- There is no smoke, so your neighbours aren’t bothered by the smell
- No mess of bark, bugs and ashes or sparks as the fire burns cleanly.
Outdoor gas fireplaces are available in single sided, see through models, and indoor/outdoor models where you have one side outside and the other side inside your home! These fireplaces are available in a variety of different shapes and sizes ranging from more traditional square or rectangular to sleek linear models. The inside of the fireplace has options too – whether you prefer a modern look with glass crystals, stones and driftwood or time honoured log sets for that authentic “wood burning” look.
Outdoor electric fireplaces are now available, look for the outdoor rating listed in the manual though.
Electric fireplaces have advantages such as:
- you can have the fire going without turning on the heat in the hot summer months and have the heat option in the shoulder seasons
- easy to start and turn off with a remote control
- safe, no smoke or sparks to worry about
- simple to install, great for DIY installations
- zero maintenance unlike gas, propane or wood appliances
These units have a stainless steel cover to keep the moisture out when not in use. It is also recommended that you have a 2’ overhang or roof above the unit to protect it from the weather. As far as the electrical requirements you will need to have a GIF outlet to plug the unit into. Electric fireplaces have come a long way in the last 10 years. Electric outdoor units are even available in a three sided design which will blow your guest’s mind!
We have fireplace solutions for a range of circumstances, drop us a line with your questions and we will guide you through the process of selecting the best outdoor fireplace for your particular situation.
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Michele Kadwell-Chalmers, fireplace consultant
The Original Flame inc