Making your own fireplace can be a huge challenge. If you don’t know what you’re doing, things can quickly turn disastrous. Before you know it, smoke will be filling the room rather than going up the chimney and your family will be evacuating the house.It doesn’t have to be this way. If you know what you’re doing and don’t make any silly mistakes, it can be quite straight forward. With a few useful tips, you and your family will be relaxing in front of a warm fire in no time.
What Type of Fireplace Do You Want?
Electric fires are for those of you looking for more trendy and slick fireplace design options. I’ve always felt that they were a bit of a cheat though. It’s not really a fire; it’s electric! Having said that, they are convenient. They don’t require any chimney or wood or cleaning. In short, they’re much less work.
Another option is to get a gas fireplace. But my personal favourite is the masonry wood-burning fireplace. You can’t beat them. What you want is a stone or brick chimney with a nice wide firebox in which to build your fire.
Renovating an Out of Use Fireplace
If your fireplace is not in use, you’ll need to get it checked out before you put it into action. You need to make sure your floor joists are reinforced so it can take the weight of the fireplace. If you want to replace the chimney itself, that’s an even bigger job. You may need to get a builder in to make sure your property can deal with the new load. Once all that is sorted you can add a marble hearth and make the firebox out of stone or brick.
You don’t even need a fireplace to have a mantel. Many people who don’t want the fuss of putting in a new fireplace still like to have a mantel for decoration. Timber is the best wood to use for the mantel, it’s strong and sturdy and looks great in the living room. You can get it shaped by a professional or do it yourself if you have the skills. Be imaginative with the design and paint it an interesting colour for the best finish, there are plenty of ideas for how to do this online.
Get the Right Wood and Burn it the Right Way
If you’ve opted for a wood-burning fire, make sure you know what you’re doing when you light it for the first time. Use dry, seasoned wood, as this burns best. If your wood is damp, you’ll get a lot of smoke filling the room, and it simply won’t burn well at all. It’s a good idea to collect your own wood and then store it away in a cool, dry place for a few months – the longer you let it season, the better. When you light the fire make sure the fireplace damper is open. If it’s not, this will, again, fill your room with smoke. If you follow these tips, you should have a smoke-free fire burning before the winter’s over.