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Top Ten Tips for Renovating an Existing Fireplace

Fireplaces don’t have to be the ugly duckling of your home – but so often they are!  It is true that we have seen our fair share of ugly fireplaces in our 18 year history.  This article deals with the top ten considerations when renovating your existing fireplace area.  The approach is the same whether you “Solusize it “ or simply change out your firebox.

Attractive fireplace features factor big in the enjoyment AND  in the resale of a home – right after kitchens and bathrooms., And yet, they are often left to the very end of a renovation in both time and budget.  Sometimes what goes in can be quite a design disappointment.Ugly old fireplace

So to help prevent some of those post renovations blues, Solus presents you with the Top Ten Tips that we recommend you consider before redesigning your existing fireplace.

1. Fuel Choice: Based on what is available at your location, you will need to determine if you want a natural gas, electric, wood-burning or a bio-fuel fireplace.  Reputable fireplace shops in your area should be able to steer you in the right direction.  Most fireplace retailers carry a select number of brands and specialize in providing a safe flame for your home. It’s a good idea to visit at least two shops within your local area, as they will have competing brands and should give you up to date advice about fuel choices that can be delivered to your home.

2. Size and Scale: slider1You will need to keep in mind the scale of the room and how much of a statement you wish to make with the fireplace. The general rule of thumb is that the bigger and taller the room is, the more you can entertain the idea of a larger fireplace and/or surround /cladding combination.

3. Focal Point: Is the fireplace going to be the focus of the room to gather around or will it only be used on special occasions? The furniture placement will greatly effect where the fireplace is viewed from and how.

4. Style: Consider what style you are looking for as the fireplace and surround can dramatically alter the look of a room. Is the style of the home contemporary, traditional or transitional (somewhere in-between)?Fraser with Overmantel Concrete Fireplace Surround

5. Hearth: Does it require a hearth? You can have no hearth, or one that is flush with the floor, an elevated hearth or sitting hearth.  A substantial hearth will add great prominence and don’t forget elevation.  Although a hearth is not essential, one will greatly add to the look of your fireplace.

6. Mantel:  Would you like a mantel? If hanging stockings is important it will require one. If considering tile, flagstone or paneling then one might not be required. More than being a place to store nick-naks, a mantel can break-up the look of the wall and also distribute heat away from any paintings or TVs above the fireplace.

7. TV Screen:  This one is usually the most contentious issue when designing a fireplace – as one party may want a 60″ inch behemoth on the wall and the other one wants… well TAPER in HALVA anything else!  Of course any good relationship is about compromise so let’s mount that TV, but make sure it’s not too high or your neck will pay the price and remember to use a heat barrier, like a concrete mantel, to keep the heat away from the AV.

8. Sub Straight:  A bit more technical, but your fireplace installer will be able to help.  As you get closer to the installation date you will need to decide on a sub straight, which can be anything from concrete board, plywood or drywall depending on the surround, cladding or fireplace box you are going forward with.

9. Structure: Find out what structural limitations you may have to work within. There may be all sorts of things lurking behind your wall that dictate what you are able to install. You will want your contractor or builder to review prior to going full steam ahead with you renovation.

10. Budget: Last, but certainly not least!  What is your budget?  Remember to allow for the cost of the materials plus the cost of installation.  A fireplace renovation done wrong is not easy to undo. It is not something one does every day – consider a professional.

If you ask yourself all of these question you are one step ahead of the game for having a

Happy at home by the Fireplace
Happy at home by the Fireplace

hassle free and on-time fireplace installation. Then all you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy your beautiful fire feature or share it and invite your friends and family over so they can tell you how great your new fireplace looks!