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Fireplaces not only help heat a home but they also improve a home’s value. In a recent National Association of Realtors survey, home buyers listed fireplaces as one of their most sought-after features, with 40 percent reporting they would pay extra if the home had one. And the National Association of Realtors reported that a fireplace increases the value of a home by thousands of dollars. Fireplaces don’t just look great, they practically pay for themselves.

Fireplaces can be installed during construction of a new home or as part of a remodel. In addition, existing fireplaces can be upgraded for better efficiency or to improve the look. Installation specialists can install a fireplace and also help with the finish work, installing brick, stone or concrete, metal, wood or even a plaster finish. An outdoor fireplace expands outdoor living space and provides warmth and ambiance to a back patio area. Various factors affec the total cost of fireplace installation.

Type of fireplace

Fireplace types include gas-burning, electric, wood-burning stoves, gas or wood-burning inserts (which are installed in an existing firebox), wood-burning fireplaces, and more. Wood-burning fireplaces can be prefabricated units or true masonry fireplaces constructed of brick and stone. Masonry fireplaces are more expensive than other kinds because of the higher cost of materials and skilled labor required. Building a custom stone or brick fireplace and chimney into a new construction home can cost $10,000–$20,000 or more, depending on the size of the fireplace and materials used. Masonry fireplaces often provide a higher resale value than prefabricated fireplaces because they last longer and deliver the desired aesthetic and ambiance many homeowners love.

Prefabricated fireplaces

A prefabricated fireplace (also referred to as an appliance) has been prebuilt in a factory and is typically made of metal with firebricks inside. It can be framed into a house without the need for masonry and is still fire safe. Because they are assembled in advance and are easier installation, prefab fireplaces are more affordable than masonry fireplaces that arehandbuilt with brick. All prefabricated fireplaces are not equal in quality and craftsmanship, which affects their cost. Generally speaking, says Joe Hemmelgarn of My Hoosier Hearth in Seymour, Indiana, wood-burning fireplaces come in two types: open-faced and closed-face. "Open-face fireplaces are safe places to burn wood, but since there's a large opening, they typically aren't very efficient," Hemmelgarn says. Open-face fireplaces range from simple versions, often called "builder's boxes," to true masonry fireplaces. Costs vary from $2,000 to $8,000 and more.

Type of installation

Typical installations of open-faced prefabricated wood fireplaces cost about $2,500, says Hemmelgarn of My Hoosier Hearth. The closed-face variety are like wood stoves built into the wall. These have a much higher heating capacity and are often EPA-certified. Closed-face fireplaces range from about $3,500 to $7,500 installed, says Hemmelgarn of My Hoosier Hearth, depending on the appliance and fireplace facing materials. Here are some cost examples of costs for specific jobs.

My Hoosier Hearth:

  • 36-inch-wide, prefabricated, wood-burning fireplace: $2,200

    • The cost included installation and a 14-foot offset chimney

    • The installation took approximately eight hours over two days because the chase cover needed to be made once the side was installed.

    • This project was very spartan, says Hemmelgam.
  • EPA-certified, wood-burning fireplace: $4,850

    • The cost included removal of an old, open-faced, prefabricated fireplace and installation of a new, close-faced, cast-iron-front, wood burning fireplace.

    • The appliance cost $3,000, and the venting cost approximately $1,200

    • The installation cost approximately $650.

    • This fireplace was installed into an 1,800-square-foot cabin-style, open-loft home. The fireplace will be used as a primary heat source.

Pennell’s Masonry in Wells, Maine:

  • 36-inch-wide, wood-burning fireplace with a bi-fold door: $7,500

    • Prefabricated fireplace, venting and chase cover: ~ $4,000

    • Installation and additional costs: ~ $3,500

    • This fireplace was installed in a new construction home.

    • The project time was under one day.

Fireplace materials

The materials used for the fireplace enclosures, surrounds and mantel affect the overall installation costs. Common facing materials include brick, granite, marble, stone and tile. Prefabricated mantels and cabinets, says Hemmelgam of My Hoosier Hearth, have a set retail cost. Installing these materials is typically straightforward and therefore less expensive than more custom materials. However, says Hemmelgam, facings and enclosures can be quite complicated, especially when it comes to see-through, peninsula and corner unit fireplaces—all of which can increase costs.

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