In The Home

Upgrading a Fireplace – Should You?

It can be difficult to get ideas to give your fireplace a face lift. But performing some simple changes can go a long way.

If your fireplace is looking old, dirty, and outdated, there are a lot of solutions to revitalizing your fireplace. While some of these upgrades can be costly, many of them do not cost more than $400 and can be performed in a weekend.

1970s Stone Redo

You have lived with that 1970s style stone fireplace since you bought your home and it is simply time for it to go. While this may be extensive, you can change the look of a fireplace cheaply using drywall and a simple frame.

Measure and mark around the fireplace opening 12 5/8 inches and snap chalk lines to connect the marks. This is the closest point that the wood framing can come to. Frame along the sides of the opening from the bottom of the fireplace to the ceiling with 2×4 studs, making sure that all of the framing is square and plumb (straight up and down). Add 5/8 inch thick drywall. This is type X drywall and is specifically designed as fire retardant material.

Finish the drywall with fiberglass tape on the seams, metal edges on the corners, and joint compound to smooth the surface. Sand the surface smooth and prime the drywall. Add tile around the fireplace opening and grout it after 8 hours. You have completely transformed an eyesore into an elegant centerpiece for your home.

1980s Brass

For some reason, the 1980s brought a fad of high shine brass to fixtures and cabinet hardware that was quickly outdated. Fireplace doors often have this same look. While fireplace door are expensive, painting them is not. Remove the fireplace doors and clean them with a window cleaner. The chemicals in the window cleaner work well for loosening old creosote and will also work well in cleaning the soot off the glass doors.

Choose a fire resistant paint from your hardware store, preferably in spray on form, and paint the frame of the fireplace doors. It is a good idea to use plastic over the glass with painter’s tape around the edges to prevent the glass from being covered with paint. Perform two to three coats of paint and reinstall the door. Make sure to reinsert the fiberglass batting around the door to help seal the door.

Modern Flat Front

If your fireplace simply lacks character with its simple flat front and tile surround, adding a mantel to the fireplace is a simple way to bring instant character and a modern look to a fireplace. Choose a mantel that is reflective of the style of your home. This will tie everything in the house together. Measure the height of the mantel and make a level line on the wall where you want your mantel to be placed.

Mark the areas where the slots are on the back of the mantel and insert mounting brackets or screws in the wall that will hold the mantel. Slide the mantel down on the mounting brackets or hanging screws. Check the mantel for level to make sure that it is fully secured into the mounting areas.