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Build your Own Fireplace: Step by Step Tutorial

Whether your home doesn’t have a fireplace and you’d like to build one from scratch, or you’re thinking of replacing the existing unit, there’s nothing better than sitting beside the fireplace on a chilly day so consider the project worthwhile, especially when you built it. With a newly built DIY fireplace, you’ll enjoy the decorative charm as well as efficient heating that your new investment provides. In fact, fireplace installations are said to give homeowners a 130% ROI. It’s one of those desirable amenities everyone is looking for when buying a home. If you’ve never done any home improvement project on your own, let alone building a fireplace, don’t worry. With careful planning, you can build your own fireplace quickly and effectively. We’ll cover some practical tips to get you started in this step-by-step tutorial.

Make sure to choose the right fireplace insert size

Modern fireplace inserts come in so many different styles and sizes, so you need to be pretty cautious when choosing one for your space. To get the ideal size, consider the opening of the existing fireplace. You’ll need to measure the opening height, width, and depth. Measure the rear width and depth as well. If you have your TV placed on top of the fireplace, you can choose an insert that almost matches the width of your TV set. For instance, a 45-inch fireplace insert would work well with a 55-inch TV set. The goal is to ensure that everything looks perfectly balanced. When you go too small, the fireplace may look like an afterthought.

Supplies you will need

Next, you’ll need to gather the necessary supplies to build the fireplace frame. Below is a list of what you’ll need:

  • Fireplace insert (size depends on your space)
  • 4 Premium whitewood studs
  • 4 Strip boards
  • 6 common boards
  • Wood screws
  • Kreg jig and screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Nail gun and nails
  • Level
  • Stud finder

Let’s get to the process

See below step-by-step instructions on how to build a fireplace.

  • Start by building the two supporting sides of your fireplace using two-strip boards cut to your desired measurements.
  • Go ahead and build the front frames using the remaining 2 strip boards and Kreg Jig.
  • Use a stud finder and wood screws to attach the common boards. When attaching, ensure that the boards are straight and properly levelled. These boards are critical as they will support the sides of your fireplace box.
  • Go ahead and attach the side supports to the common boards using wood screws. Space them properly so that it fits the built-in fireplace box.
  • After that, attach the front frame to the side supports. You can use wood screws to give it a clean finish.
  • Once done, you can place your fireplace insert into the front frame then attach it as desired.
  • Use plywood to create front and sides cover and attach them using a nail gun.
  • You can add a personal touch with your desired colour and style.

Easy framing

To build a proper frame for your fireplace, you must consider the minimum size of your unit. This includes not only the width and depth of the insert but also its height. You must provide proper clearance at the top of the fireplace so that there’s adequate space to install the vent channels. Keep in mind that building codes for your area must be taken into account when building your frame. Your fireplace supplier should provide you with all the pertinent information you need to build the framing properly for safety and insurance reasons.

You must start by installing the base, which has to be finished before the fireplace is installed. You can build the base using spruce suds of desirable size, then secure plywood to the concrete floor using a nail gun. Fasten the studs and plywood together with deck screws. Once the base is done, you can build one side of the frame and then secure it to the base. Then go ahead and assemble the other side of the frame, similarly securing it to the base. Finish up by joining the two sides together with adjoining studs secured at the top. This is where you will attach the mantel.

Let’s design it

A quick way of finishing up your framing would be to paint it with the desired paint. Find a colour that complements the rest of the room. Picking a colour that’s already dominant in the room will help to create a nice flow throughout the space. The last thing you want is to choose a paint colour that draws attention away from the fireplace.

Other fireplace design tips to consider:

  • Add decorative items on the electric fireplace with mantel to draw more attention to that section of the room. You can hang a mirror over it or a clock or piece of artwork right above the mantel.
  • Add some mood lighting to give your fireplace an even cozier vibe. A simple way is to have candles or scone lights on the wall just above the mantel.
  • Play around with decorative items that vary in height. It’s a nice way to create more visual interest in the room.
  • Try to come up with a theme. It could be a vintage theme that pushes you to decorate with antique items.
  • Don’t forget about the room’s style. If your living room has a minimalistic style, cluttered modern fireplace mantels will certainly look out of place.

Make room for secret storage

You can wedge one side of the fireplace into place instead of attaching it permanently together. This can act as additional storage. It can also create an essential opening so that it’s easy to access the built-in electric fireplace and TV components whenever there’s a need. The good thing with making room for secret storage when building your fireplace is that it won’t need to be disassembled when you want to gain access. You just have to fix it well enough so that it seems natural.

Let’s wrap it up

Installing a new fireplace might seem like an easy job, but there’s a lot that could go wrong if you don’t seek professional advice. For instance, not all chimneys and fireplaces are a perfect match. A professional will inspect your space and determine if your chimney was built for a wood-burning or gas fireplace. Whatever your fireplace installation needs are, you can be confident that our experts will get the job done right the first time. 

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