Fireplaces can add to your property’s appeal and its value by as much as 5%. They rank among the top three features desired by new homebuyers. See how you can take advantage by doing the 12 Steps to a Fireplace Upgrade.
1) Start by giving it a good cleaning
Soot can build up in your chimney, limiting the airflow, creating a blockage, and may cause fires. A chimney sweep will remove any buildup and offer advice about the best upgrades for your chimney.
2) Get Your Firebrick in Shape
After years of hot fires, the fireplace mortar can crack, crumble, and fall out. Gaping mortar joints leave the bricks more vulnerable to damage. Before the wood-burning season starts, examine the condition of the mortar in the firebox. Then take an hour or two to replace any that has deteriorated.
3) Add Glass Fireplace Doors
Installing glass doors on your fireplace is an effective way to limit the air that can go in and out of your home. Glass doors can also improve the control of a fire’s intensity. Note that most fireplace doors are made with tempered glass, which can only withstand temperatures up to 600°F. Where ceramic glass can withstand temperatures up to 1400°F. retrofitting glass doors to an existing fireplace isn’t difficult, and the doors come in standard sizes that fit in any flat firebox opening.
4) What the Firebacks?
Firebacks are similar to fireplace inserts in that they increase the insulation in a fireplace and reflect heat off the rear wall. Firebacks sit in the fireplace behind the grate to amplify the heat from the fire into the room, better than the firebox wall would. There are many high-quality firebacks available that you could choose from to upgrade your fireplace. They can be made of affordable stainless steel or a more expensive ornamental cast iron.
5) Fireplace Dampers
Fireplace dampers form a tight seal when it is closed to allow airflow up the chimney when open. There are alternative dampers available, which are more productive during off-seasons when the fireplace is rarely in use.
6) Fireplace Grates
You can improve the efficiency of a fireplace with a fireplace grates. One fireplace grate can cause the hot part of logs to project heat forward. Another design can cradle the wood, allowing air to enter underneath, causing the wood to settle toward the middle to allow for less tending of the fire.
7) Fireplace Exchangers
A forced air heat exchanger could help if you want your fireplace to provide heat into one or two rooms of your home. These units needed to be chosen carefully, to ensure that the high temperatures to be generated by the heat exchanger can handle it when the fireplace and chimney are in use.
8) Outside Air Inlets
For a fireplace to operate correctly, a lot of air is needed. An outside air inlet installed for the chimney can help you fireplace work more efficiently. In newer homes, which are very tightly sealed, external air inlets are often helpful.
9) Add a touch of paint
Keep the classic elements of your fireplace but give them a new lease on life with a fresh coat of paint. Light, cool, crisp paint colors, such as those in the white and gray families, are popular today. Yep, painting, or even whitewashing your fireplace brick is all the rage.
10) Install a Mantel
A mantel serves not only as an architectural anchor but also as a functional shelf to display your one of a kind items. Some mantel comes in kits that lock together with a few twists of the Phillips-head. You can have a whole new look in less than a day.
11) Tile a Hearth
The hearth has been the ornate buffer between the fire and the carpet. Consider giving new life by adding colorful new tiles. Changing the whole look of a fireplace in one or two weekends.
12) Tile the Surround
Chipped bricks, and years of accumulated soot can turn what should be the focal point of a living room into an eyesore. Replacing a hearth and surround makes a big difference in the way a fireplace looks. Tiling a fireplace surround isn’t a quick makeover, but it’s worth the effort. Cast-stone veneer looks a lot like the real stone, with styles ranging from stacked stone to river rock without the price tag. You can also cover a brick surround with four sleek granite slabs for a smooth, quick fix.
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Kurt Kopp is a dedicated professional with a commitment to excellence. He is a master builder of over 35 years of experience that strives to deliver the highest quality product to his valued customer.