How to do DIY

The beginners guide to installing a fireplace

If you have had the same run down fireplace for years, maybe you’ve thought it’s about time for change? Or maybe you’re just revamping the whole living room and fancy a new fireplace?

In this article I intend to give you a few things that you need to carefully consider when installing a new fireplace, after all you don’t want to be spending the cash on something that won’t be right for you, so here is the beginners guide to installing a fireplace.

What to consider before you install a fireplace

Be realistic
First and foremost, the house really has the final say on what type of fireplace you install. You need to understand that not all homes will be able to deal with the sort of fireplace you are looking for - for example what if your home does not have a chimney?  If not then you are restricted straight away to an electric or gas fire.

As well as that you cannot go for a traditional style fireplace which is going to take up a lot of room if your room isn’t large enough to take it - so think long and hard, about what is best for the room.

The size of your fireplace and room
The main thing that decides the size of the fireplace is the size of the room it is going in. Think about what you can afford to delegate to the size and also shape of your fireplace. Get measurements of the room, the wall and the height you will be allowing for your fireplace, this will ensure you have a rough idea of what you’re dealing with.

If you have always dreamed of a huge fireplace, you need to think seriously about the size of the room you are dealing with, bear in mind that having a fireplace that is too big for a room can quickly make a room look small and feel cramped.

Once the practicalities of size are out of the way, you can begin to enjoy the installation process of your fireplace by choosing the design and style you will go for.

When it comes to the design there are some things to think about; can you still have family photos on the mantelpiece? Will your fireplace actually be providing you with warmth as well as modernisation the room? Or is your fireplace simply for show? These are all the types of questions you need to be asking yourself when it comes to installing the right fireplace for your home.

Think also about the material you want, do you prefer styles that are popular such as marble? Or the more rarities such as a slate finish? When it comes to material price can often have a big bearing on your decision.

The installation process
The installation of a new fireplace should always be left to a professional – one who knows the rules and regulations they have to stick to for electricity or gas fitting. One thing that you need to remember is that no matter what type of fire you are looking for, whether it may be a gas fire, wood burning fire or an electric fire they will have to be approved of and tested before they can be used.

When it comes to a job as big as the fireplace installation it is always good to remember that a professional will always do a better job than a DIYer – even though money may be tight it is always best to leave gas and electric installation for everyone’s safety.

You may be told by the professional that the job will be surveyed firs - this is due to the fact that they will need to know the extent of the job first, and this will also determine the final price. It is always a good idea to get two or three different quotes off different companies to ensure you are getting a good, reliable price.

So many homes have a fireplace as one of their main attractions in their homes, a focal point if installed correctly and too a high standard. Remember you get what you put into it - You don’t want a below par highlight to your home.

Do the groundwork
If you have decided you want to save yourself as much money as possible and you have enough DIY experience to complete the job yourself, and also you just want to be proud of what you can do, and then bear a few things in mind:

  • Measure the hearth of the ground in a ‘stood up’ position. This is to ensure that it is level or flat, make sure you use an accurate spirit level for this particular job!

  • So many people make a huge mistake when it comes to installing the marble fireplace; they stand on its feet when lifting it up – unfortunately the marble can crack due to the weight and ruin the whole fireplace - If this happens then you will wish you had hired a professional!

  • Be sure that you have swept the chimney and also had it smoke tested, and that the area of the fireplace is as clear as possible - Make sure there is no skirting or hearth left in the area.

Article kindly provided by Ryan Hirst - he writes posts for who supply DIY tools and fittings across the UK

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