Now, let me set the mood.
WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS?
.01 || electric
.02 || ventless/Vent-free/GEL firebox
Please do your research on a ventless fireplace because some towns don’t allow them or may have certain code for installing one. They do need to meet federal safety standards before being sold to the public.
- Woodland Direct sells a few
- Astria – something like this could be inserted in a compliant firebox
- Hearth Cabinet – I love their options and am currently weighing out pricing for one of these. My concern is that their gel inserts are proprietary, which means if they ever go out of business, I’m screwed. They do have gorgeous ventless fireplaces that you can customize, and their prices are between $3k-$10k, which actually may be cheaper than the cost to install a gas line for a new fireplace. which leads to the next option…
.03 || gas/Direct vent
Consider how often you plan to use it, how it will affect your gas bill, and if your town/city allows it, do you need a permit to install?
.04 || COMPLETELY FAUX/DECORATIVE
ONCE YOU’VE DECIDED ON YOUR INSERT…
On average cast mantels around $2k, which actually may be around the same cost as buying a wood mantle and tile for the surround. IMO, a cast mantle has more perceived value than a wood mantle with tile.
Yes, I’m trying to sell myself and you on a cast mantel, like this one from Lowe’s:
SOME GENERAL FIREPLACE INSERT + MANTLE TIPS/THOUGHTS
- Research your town’s code to see what is/isn’t allowed when it comes to installing ventless or gas fireplaces. I imagine electric inserts are allowed anywhere. You may have a local fireplace expert/store that can answer questions for you.
- Consider the resale value of the fireplace. Installing a gas fireplace over an electric insert would improve the cost of your home.
- I think a fireplace should look intentional, not like it was just stuck onto the wall. If you have the means to bump out the fireplace wall or surround the fireplace with molding or built-ins, it would make all the difference in the world. We’ll probably use this tutorial while we’re building ours.
- When considering an insert, think about your needs and how often you plan on actually using the fireplace. Do you just love a cozy, raging fire? Maybe you live in a colder climate and a fireplace could be a good additional source of heat on cold nights? If so, maybe go for a ventless or gas fireplace. If you only care about how it looks, decorative is your best option.
- When choosing a mantel, make sure it’s at least 10-12″ deep. The deeper it is, the grander it will look, and you have more leeway with decorating. I may do a separate post on mantels alone, depending on how far I spiral out of control with choosing one.