Our Fireplace Renovation Part 2: Evaluating our Fireplace Options

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To make the fireplace whole again, we needed to determine our options. Since we literally had no experience with fireplaces, we went lined up some professionals to talk to.

  • We talked to a masonry expert about what it would take to build up the fireplace with brick. Although, I still wanted something over the brick. I didn't really want to tile over it because that seemed like a waste of perfectly good brick. We found someone willing to do it as a side job for around $2k. 
  • We talked to a Fireplace Company that specializes in fireplace inserts. 
  • We found one company that came out to evaluate the fireplace in it's demoed state. Based on the condition of the fireplace (see the gap on the left side) they said it wasn't to code to allow us to just add in a gas insert.
  •  This was disheartening because we would have to hire the mason AND buy a gas insert. Gas inserts run anywhere from $3k to $6k. This doesn't include what you would pay the plumber to replace the gas valve and the cost to add tile around the fireplace which would be between $500 to $1k. Yeah, it adds up quick!
  • But then the Fireplace store gave us another option. If we bought a gas fireplace then we would only have to buy the fireplace -- no mason needed! It's confusing but basically a  Valor "Gas Fireplace" is an insert but it’s designed so that you don't even need a existing fireplace. Although, having the existing fireplace helps because we can use the flue to insert the pipes that attach the the gas fireplace that vent the gas. Confused yet? Yeah we were too. 
  • So what was a gas fireplace going to run us? We got two quotes from the highly rated Yelp Fireplace stores in the area. I got a good feeling from Pacific Hearth and Home so we went ahead with them. 
  • They also agreed to match any lower prices so I negotiated with the other vendor for a lower base price and used this to have the company I wanted to work with to lower their price. They did it. 
  • Quote Tip: Did you also know that in addition to price matching, most companies will give a cash/check discount-- anywhere between 3 - 10%. Yup! It never hurts to ask. What's the worst they can say...No. Oh well! 
  • We ended up saving around $1k by paying in cash and getting them to price match. We also saved by framing out the fireplace box that the fireplace would be housed in. See the picture to the right. The Valor Fireplace had framing instructions so it took the guess work out of where to build the wall. This saved us another $2k of labor and materials. 
  • Since we have standard height ceilings and we didn't want to have to break-up the fireplace with tile and another material, we opted to buy the "Heat Shift". It looks like a vent but it allows us to put our combustible (wood) material right up to the fireplace.
  •  We know how to work with wood but not tile. For about $400 more dollars with the heat shift, we saved about $600+ from having to buy tile (since it is one of the few non-combustible material that can stand the heat of a fireplace) and pay a tile expert to install. 
Stay tuned for our next post, Our Fireplace Renovation Part 3: Framing and  Shiplap to see what we did next!