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What Kind of Fireplace?
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 • Posted December 12, 2013 3:38 PM

By Debbie Vallone-Homeier, A Paragon Builders/Vallone Real Estate

I am faced with a decision on what kind of fireplace I want. So I started thinking about and researching all the different types. I have had various kinds, from the Cast Iron Ben Franklin to a Stone/Brick types that can be wood burning or gas logs. Each one had its good points and its bad points. Bottom line, as long as I can have a fireplace, I will be happy. But, what if you can’t decide? What are some of the options to help? Not only do they provide heat, but they also add awesome ambiance to a room. These days you can find a fireplace in almost any room. Some homes even have multiple fireplaces. If you already have a home and want to add one, that can happen too. So what are some of the differences?

If you have a home that does not have a fireplace, there are some steps to do. First, you need to see if your foundation will support one. Are you just adding a free standing Ben Franklin type or a full custom style? If it is full custom, you really need to have a professional do it. Talk to your builder. If you are adding a Ben Franklin or Pot Belly type it is a lot easier. You will need to make sure you have some type of fire protection/insulation under the fireplace and behind it. You will need to cut a hole in your roof for the Chimney flue. There are many great sources to aid you in adding it or call your builder to do it for you.

If you are building and want to include a fireplace here are some things to think about. Decide where in your home design you want it, or them, to go. Do you want it to have gas going to it? The gas can work as a starter or you can add gas logs. Do you want Stone or Brick? Do you want a Mantel? There are so many mantels to select from. A mantel can even be built with the stone or brick. Do you want a hearth? The fireplace can be flush with the floor or you can have a hearth that brings it off the floor and gives you that ledge to sit on. Do you want doors or screens on your fireplace? Some people prefer nothing. Again this is a matter of preferences. The screen can also aid in keeping ambers from popping out. These are just some of the things to think about when you are designing that fireplace. Don’t forget to put that pet bed near by. The animals love to curl up by a fire, just like we do. For those that don’t like to clean up the burnt wood, etc, then go with gas logs. Some people with breathing issues might really need to consider the gas option. Not to mention, it’s nice to just flip a switch and you have a fire.

Do you need a grate? The grate is the rack that you see in fireplaces. No, you don’t always have to have one. In the free standing fireplaces, most people do not have one. In the custom, it’s a 50/50 call. Personally, in the custom fireplaces, I have always used them, but in the cast iron I don’t use them.

Fireplaces have been so popular that people are adding them on their deck or even out on a patio. I’m talking full fireplaces, not just the fire pits. They can be enjoyed both indoors and outdoors. If you are designing your home and want one in that family room and outside deck, think about putting it back to back. It’s technically two fireplaces but in the same location. It might save you on the chimney design. Talk to your builder more on this design.

Fireplaces not only have an aesthetic effect, but they serve a purpose. You will be surprised at how they can cut down your electric bill. They can keep burning when you have no electricity, keeping you warm. In the olden days, a pot could be hung and cooking done (okay, some people might still do this). Yes, you might go through a ton of wood, but it is so worth it. Always make sure you keep your fireplace clean and the chute open. Enjoy!!

For ALL Your Real Estate and Building needs or questions, call Debbie at (830) 833-4249 / (713)818-6658 or debbie@vallonerealestate.net

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