Fireplace Renovation

Fireplace Renovation

Do you have a disused fireplace at your property and are looking to open it up to be used again? Or are you thinking about updating your existing one or changing from an open fire to an appliance? Then you’ll be considering undertaking a fireplace renovation project. There is no doubt that fireplaces provide a superb focal point in a room and if the fireplace is in the main living area of your home you’ll want it to not only be functional but to look attractive. When it comes to fireplace design your options are limitless, however, there are some things that you must consider whatever type of project. In this article, we take a look at fireplace renovation, the things you must consider and offer some of our tips and ideas.

Where to begin with your fireplace renovation

If you are a regular reader of Billing Chimneys’ articles, you will know that our first thought with any work to be carried out on a fireplace is safety. It is essential for you and your family that any chimneys and associated appliances are safe to use. The fireplace and especially the chimney flue must be well maintained and in good working order. Because of this, before you start any project it is vital to have the chimney inspected. This is particularly important if you are reopening a fireplace that has been disused as its condition needs to be assessed. An inspection will allow you to find out if there are any problems with the chimney because work may be needed, and this would impact your budget. The system must be in good condition. Problems with brickwork can cause dangerous leaks as will cracked or broken chimney linings. Inspections are easy to arrange and are carried out by Billing Chimneys using state-of-the-art CCTV.

From the start, with any fireplace renovation project, you will need to decide on how the fireplace is to be used. Are you thinking about an open fire or an appliance? Again, this will impact your budget. Changes to the structure of the chimney or a change of appliance will need to comply with building regulations. Therefore, you need to be sure that whoever is carrying out the work is competent and able to comply with all relevant regulations.

By engaging chimney specialists like Billing Chimneys, you can be assured that all work carried out is safe and will comply with all regulations and necessary building control.

Once you’ve had your inspection and any work carried out or if your fireplace is already in use, and you have regular sweeps and inspections, then your project can begin in earnest.

Starting your fireplace renovation project

The fun part of fireplace renovation is in designing the perfect look for your home. If you have moved into a property and want to open a disused fireplace, it can be exciting to find out what might be behind the boarding that has been hiding the fireplace, sometimes for many years. Especially in older properties, this could uncover an unexpected find such as a character fireplace surround which in turn might give you new ideas about how you want the room to look. If you are renovating a fireplace in a period or character home, we have more information here.

You may be changing from an open fire to a wood-burning stove, so you will have the option of redesigning the hearth. You might leave the bricks exposed to give a rustic look or you might want to plaster over them, creating a crisp, clean-looking alcove.

There’s a fantastic range of designs for wood burners and another option could be a double-sided stove. This works where two rooms share a chimney, and the stove is shared between the two rooms.

It is worth considering the fact that an open fire is 20% efficient at heating the room/property, whereas an enclosed freestanding stove is 80% efficient.

Fireplace renovation on a budget

There are ways to carry out a fireplace renovation on a budget. However, we would strongly advise to never cut corners when it comes to safety. A budget option is to simply change the mantle. We don’t mind repeating that is imperative for the safety of you and your family that the chimney is swept and in good condition and this must be a consideration when beginning your project. Once you have had the inspection, you will know whether any work needs to be carried out and any costs involved. Billing Chimneys engineers have many years of experience between them and would be happy to offer some ideas for your renovation, including less expensive options, such as keeping bricks bare and installing a new mantle.

Can I carry out fireplace renovation myself?

Yes, you can, though as we said earlier, having the chimney professionally inspected first is most important. Also, if you are planning structural changes or changes to the appliance, then these works come under building regulations. If mistakes are made, they could be costly to remedy, but most of all, unsafe. You will also need to pay for all costs associated with building control.

Of course, decorative work can be done by yourself and for many, this is the fun part.

Checklist for fireplace renovation

Renovating a fireplace can be an exciting project that makes a big impact on your home. To get the most from it and ensure all runs smoothly, planning is key. Here’s a checklist to help you along.

  • Decide what you want to do with the fireplace, for example, a wood burner or an open fire.
  • Decide what you want the fireplace to look like.
  • Have you removed any boarding up of the fireplace to look behind/up the flue?
  • Engage an experienced chimney specialist, like Billing Chimneys, to carry out a sweep and inspection
  • If planning to have an appliance, research the types and sizes best suited for your room and seek the advice of your chimney specialists
  • Set your budget
  • Book your installation
  • Complete your decoration
  • Light the fire
  • Sit back and enjoy your beautiful fireplace.

A fireplace is the centrepiece of any room and with careful thought, your fireplace can create a beautiful talking point. With a multitude of options, fireplace renovation makes for a great project with safety at its core.

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