There are lots of options these days for adding a fireplace to your space while you are remodeling. Of course you can do the standard masonry wood burning fireplace that we all love. The smell of pine burning in a fireplace is great, but there is a fair amount of maintenance involved. You have to have all that wood chopped, stored, brought in, and then deal with the ashes. Masonry fireplaces are probably the most expensive way to go also. The next best thing are gas fireplaces. With the flick of a switch you can have a nice looking fire, no great wood smells and it will never be a roaring fire, but almost no maintenance. They are more cost-effective in the long run because you usually don’t have to build such a substantial foundation and chimney system. Of course this can depend on what you are ultimately facing the front of the unit with. Even a gas box can be faced with stone. Gas units are very popular with older homes where venting may be difficult. Most gas units have direct vent systems which means you can vent the unit directly out the back of the unit, so you don’t have to cross floors and the roof.
For the ultimate easy system, there are electric fireplaces. There is no real flame, only a look-alike flame that does produce electric heat. Granted , they may have a nice looking mantel box surrounding the unit, but these harken back to the dreadful ones that were installed in the 1950′s to me. Just cannot embrace them – maybe if my mother-in-law had not had one in her living room for years I would feel differently, but doubtful.
For the more contemporary, there are the Gel Fuel fireplaces. Because their designs are typically sophisticated, they work well as an art piece in a contemporary or transitional home. They don’t really give off any heat, but they do have a real flame, (a bit more than a sterno can), and have relatively no smell.
Whatever you choose for your fireplace remodeling, you can always dress it up for the Holidays!
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