All About Fireplaces
Does your home have a fireplace? Do you wish it did? In either case, there are some things you need to know to ensure your family safely enjoys the warmth and coziness of this cherished home element.
Before each fireplace season, it’s important to ensure your chimney and flue are in good working order. At Authentic Designs & Remodeling you can do an assessment yourself, or hire a chimney professional to look at the chimney’s exterior, chimney cap, flue, and damper as well as whether any leaks or stains are present. Chimney safety should be a high priority.
Since the fireplace is often a major design element, it makes sense to keep it up-to-date, and a remodeled fireplace adds value to your home. This is no job for an amateur; you can certainly drive the process by choosing what kind of a new look you want, but it’s best to leave the heavy lifting (the design and actual renovation) to professionals. At Authentic Designs & Remodeling, Inc., we’ve helped many clients transform their fireplaces into stunning focal pieces.
Think you can’t have a fireplace in your home if you don’t have a chimney? Think again. A direct-vent fireplace is the way to go (and the only legal option in California, where it’s illegal to have ventless fireplaces). These appliances are shallow (12-17 inches for gas and 21-24 inches for wood-burning) and installed with a glass panel that seals the fire away from the interior of your home. Plus, they allow you to control the temperature, an energy-efficient feature.
Whether your style is rustic, modern or somewhere in between, your fireplace can be designed to suit your taste and the room where it will be installed. Tile, stone, brick, and concrete are some of your material choices. Search fireplace designs on the Internet to get ideas before you discuss feasibility, timing and budget with your contractor.
How about installing a fireplace in your backyard, to complement your outdoor living space? With its cool nights, San Diego actually has a perfect climate for enjoying the heat and beauty of an outdoor fireplace. Stone, stucco, tile and brick are common materials for freestanding or built-in outdoor fireplaces. For safety, locate them away from flammable items like trees or shrubs, and always use a spark guard and flame-resistant fire mat when your fireplace is in use. Also check with your local fire department regarding its outdoor fire codes before installation begins.
The Bottom Line
Many homebuyers find fireplaces to be a desirable feature. A 2013 survey from the National Association of REALTORS® found that almost 40% of homebuyers would pay extra (a median of $1,400) for a house with at least one fireplace. To maximize the value of a fireplace — and your family’s enjoyment of it — be sure to locate it where you’ll use it most: the family room, great room or kitchen. For smaller rooms, like offices and bedrooms, think about installing small gas fireplaces. Be warm and be safe.