Fireplace Designs in New Construction

When planning the construction of a new home there are many decisions to make but none more important than the fireplace designs. With the exception of a few others, most of the decisions that are made involving the decor of the home can be easily altered after final construction. Not so when it comes to the fireplace. The fireplaces will be prominent focal points in any rooms they occupy and require the utmost, sometimes agonizing, attention to detail.

When considering the fireplace design, you must remember that there are two elements to consider. Those being the heating element and visual element. The first consideration must be the type of fuel you will use in the fireplace. While many, like myself, first think of the warmth from a hot burning wood fire when we envision a fireplace, others are not fond of the lingering odor of smoke in the house even after the last dying embers wane. Thus, gas logs may be a choice for those of you who feel this way to consider. Also, there are now free standing electric fireplaces available that do an adequate job of simulating a real fire. If you choose an electric fireplace, then your worries are over. You just need to locate the unit within reach of an electrical receptacle and you are ready to go. If a gas log fireplace is your choice, then you want to decide whether to construct a non-vented fireplace or a traditional vented fireplace. Since no chimney is necessary, a non-vented fireplace can be located anywhere within the residence where a gas line can be run. However, once you choose the non-vented fireplace you will not be able to reconsider and start burning wood.

If you elect to burn wood, then you will need to decide what type of fireplace you will construct. Your choices are a prefabricated fireplace utilizing metal duct or the more traditional masonry fireplace. The prefab fireplaces are utilized in many new homes, do a great job, and are less expensive than the other option. However, the masonry fireplace has proven to heat better and last for many, many years. Also, if the chimney will be visual from outside the home, the masonry chimney is a much more attractive feature in my opinion.

Once the heating side of your fireplace design is complete, it is time to move on to the element most people will notice when first entering a room. The visual element of any fireplace will normally set the tone for the rest of the decor in a room. When considering the visual parts of the fireplace, your first decision will involve the material in which the fireplace will faced. Your choices primarily will be to leave the fireplace faced with sheet rock like the rest of the wall space in the room, or you may utilize brick, tile, marble, granite, stone or possibly a myriad of other materials of which I am likely unaware.

The final design features of the fireplace involve the type of hearth and construction of the mantle. Will the hearth be level with the floor or will it be raised. Some feel a raised hearth is a distraction while others utilize is as a place to sit and soak up the warmth of the fire. Finally, the mantle is to a fireplace much like icing is to a cake. It adds that final touch that makes it the treat that we all enjoy. There are many options available when it comes to a mantle and I will not even begin to attempt to cover those here. Do some research on the Internet and tour the new homes under construction in your area for some great mantle ideas.

Lastly, the most important decision when designing a fireplace. Hire a trades person that really knows the ins and outs of fireplace and chimney construction. If your local building department will discuss these type matters, this would be a good place to start. Otherwise, ask a few builders in your area for their recommendation. After all, they deal with this issue on an ongoing basis and will likely know the best. Following these recommendations will result in fireplace designs that will provide the many years of warmth and visual pleasure you desire for many years to come.