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2011 - Volume 1 Issue 1
Casas Bonitas
Article: Bob Skolnick
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Many new homes today come with a fireplace, but adding a fireplace to an existing home is not difficult, it adds to the enjoyment of the house and can reduce heating costs. A fireplace also increases the market value and appeal of your home when you eventually place it on the market for sale. Today there are many more options as to the type and style of fireplaces that can be added.

    Photo Captions

1.) The contemporary fireplace is the center of the great room’s focal point. The marble bowl and the colored glass pearls create beauty and warmth.

2.) This fireplace insert has a gas ignition system and a decorator ceramic log kit. The carved post and inset mantel beam add richness to the fireplace.

3.) This is an example of custom ceramic log kit with embers.

4.) A traditional wood-burning fireplace set off by stone veneer.


Outdoor Fire Concepts

Rawson Builders Supply

Western Stoves & Spas
  Aesthetics is the primary reason that someone chooses to add a fireplace, even though we do get a cold month or two during the months of December and January. Bill Murray

If you were going to add a traditional fireplace, can we get the chimney through the roof? Also, you would have to consider the flooring situation as well.
Rudy Guel
There is always the traditional wood burning fireplace of the past, constructed out of brick, cement block or stone with a chimney and flue evacuating the smoke out and up. The traditional wood-burning fireplace can be augmented with a natural gas burner that can be used to start the wood, or in combination with a ceramic gas log set with an ember and ash package to place below the gas log kit. Today’s gas log kits purchased at quality fireplace and stove stores are quite authentic looking and offer a variety of types of wood appearances. Another option is wood pellet stoves that are enclosed iron units with temperatures controlled by regulating the airflow. Many pellet stoves have blower units that allow for further hot air circulation.

Also popular is a fireplace insert where the fireplace box comes as a unit and is encased in a fireproof box your remodeler can construct. Fireplace inserts typically take less space than larger wood burning fireplaces and most often are fueled by natural gas and a fireplace log kit. A high-quality gas unit with a ceramic refractory gas log kit can maintain an even or regulated temperature. Smaller size gas fireplace inserts are now on the market and can be installed in kitchens for ambiance and in bathrooms adjacent to or facing tubs for both ambiance and warmth. Gas fueled fireplaces can be tied in with thermostats and remote controls to provide pre set temperatures and control flexibility. Recently on the market are electric fireplaces. They offer visual ambiance but there is no heat factor to be gained.

When you decide to add a new fireplace, there are a few factors to be considered and decisions to be made. The first decision is where to add the fireplace(s). Keep in mind when you decide on the room, the placement of the fireplace has to consider venting options. You also have to consider a clearance radius in front of the fireplace where combustibles such as furniture must have a reasonable set back. You may gain a fireplace, but you might have to surrender some room functionality. You also will need to decide if you want the fireplace elevated off of the floor and how much hearth space is appealing. The wall on which the fireplace is going to be placed, the box and mantel must meet standards for the distances from heat and types of noncombustible materials to be used. Each manufacturer will provide safety specifications for installation and venting. Many units come with a safety approved vent system from the manufacturer. You must consider how your new fireplace will be vented – through a wall or though the roof? Certain types of gas fireplaces can be vented directly through the outside wall of the home and do not have to go up. Wood burning fireplaces are best vented out then up. If you are constructing a stone or brick wood-burning fireplace, your remodeling professional will consult the codes for the city in which you reside for safety tolerance and non-combustible material specifications.

After deciding what and where, ask yourself, do you want both visual affect and heat from your new fireplace addition? If you want heat as well as the visuals, the type of fuel source (wood, pellet, gas or electric) is very relevant and an important decision. For heating, the square footage of the room is a part of the equation and the size of the fireplace unit you wish to construct or purchase should be sized accordingly. If the unit has a blower or you install a thermostat tied to a gas fireplace burner unit, then 110-volt electricity has to be brought to the location of the fireplace. If the unit is fueled by gas then a licensed plumber at the direction of your remodeling professional must do the installation. There are many choices of fireplace units and ceramic refractory log kits available from a variety of manufacturers. We recommend you take the time to speak with a knowledgeable fireplace specialist and go on-line to the manufacturer’s web sites to see the numerous choices available. ///
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