The fireplace is a natural focal point in your home. Left untouched it can make the entire room appear tired and dated.
These before and after photos from a fireplace renovation project in Snohomish, WA, is an example.
However, replacing a fireplace is no small undertaking and can be messy and expensive. A more cost-effective and efficient approach may be to reface the fireplace. A reface focuses on upgrading the visible surface of the fireplace, without changing its functionality or how it heats the room. Think of it as giving your fireplace a facelift. If the fireplace is otherwise sound and in proper working condition, refacing may be a good alternative for you.
Before any renovations begin, and especially if you have an older fireplace, it’s recommended you hire a certified chimney sweep to thoroughly clean and inspect the fireplace and chimney. They should be checking for any safety concerns or recommended maintenance or repairs. Once you are confident the fireplace is in good, operable condition, let the fun begin!
The cost of refacing a fireplace can vary greatly depending on what materials you are using, how drastic you want the refacing to be, and how large the fireplace. There are several refacing materials to choose from. Depending on budget and what kind of design you are looking for a few options are concrete, tile, wood, or stone slabs, such as slate or granite. All of these and more are viable options for breathing new life into your old fireplace.
Concrete or Stucco
This material can be applied directly over the surface of an existing masonry fireplace and finished with a design appropriate texture. The dry mixes can be combined with water to create a clay consistency. It is applied by hand and finished with a trowel or any number of tools to create either a smooth or unique texture. This is a creative and inexpensive way to upgrade your fireplace, and you can do it yourself.
Wood is a natural material that is versatile enough to upgrade any area of a home, the fireplace included. Wood planks or panels work well for this type application. Options are limitless in size, texture, and color. If applied over masonry, you’ll first need to install wood batts so there is something to attach the wood panels. Before proceeding be sure to check with your local building authority. Fire code limits how any combustible material, including wood, is installed around a fireplace. If you aren’t sure how to proceed, this application might be best left to a professional.
Tile is a traditional and often used material for fireplace refacing. The multiple choices for color and design make it easy to match your home design. Price varies and can be quite affordable or expensive, depending on your taste and choice. Tile and stone slabs can be applied directly to most smooth surfaces, such as drywall. Uneven surfaces like masonry must first be prepared, usually by smoothing the surface with a coat of mortar.
These are just a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing for your fireplace refacing project. Have fun exploring your options and choose a design that will complement your home’s style and your budget. Do your fireplace a favor and give it a much needed “spa day.”