Nothing adds more comfort and warmth to parties and family gatherings than a crackling fire. If you're considering adding a custom fireplace to your home, you may be wondering where to begin. What material should you use? Can you do it yourself or should you hire a professional? How will this affect the resale value of your home? Read on to learn more about the custom fireplace design options.
What are your fireplace material options?
Your first step in designing your fireplace is to investigate the options available to you. Because stone costs so much to ship, you'll be best served by using local materials when possible.
- Cut limestone
Cut limestone is just that -- limestone slabs literally cut from the side of a cliff or quarry. These slabs are available in a variety of thicknesses and colors. Limestone is one of the most durable and beautiful building materials available. In fact, the Great Pyramids of Giza were completely constructed from limestone.
- Cast limestone
Cast limestone is a composite mixture of crushed limestone and a binder or cement. Because it is a composite, it offers the same strength and beauty as cut limestone at a substantially lower cost.
Nothing screams the holiday season more than a warm brick hearth with a roaring fire inside. Brick fireplaces are generally less expensive per square foot than limestone fireplaces; however, this brick can be less durable than limestone, and may require occasional patching or a single brick replacement.
How will a custom fireplace affect the resale value of your home?
Because home valuation can vary widely depending on local market, and because fireplaces span such a range of sizes and prices, it's hard to put a value on the addition of a custom fireplace to your home. However, some experts have discovered that the addition of at least one fireplace can cause your home to sell more quickly and allow you to fetch anywhere from $1,200 to $12,000 more than a house without a fireplace.
If you live in a neighborhood where the addition of a fireplace is common, you may almost need to install a fireplace just to keep your home "competitive" for resale purposes. In these situations, you may find it more difficult to sell your home (even if you price it appropriately lower) compared to other homes in your area.
Will your homeowners insurance rates go up after installing a fireplace?
One common fear about the installation of a fireplace is a resulting increase in homeowners insurance rates. However, this increase is generally associated with interior wood-burning stoves, not fireplaces. A properly installed and vented fireplace carries very little risk of fire damage to the home. Although you'll need to notify your homeowners insurance carrier of the change to the design of your home in order to ensure coverage, you shouldn't notice any resulting change in rates.
Should you try to install your fireplace yourself?
Although repairing or replacing a fireplace can generally be tackled by a couple of determined homeowners with a long weekend ahead of them, if you're choosing to install a new fireplace from scratch, you may want to engage the services of a professional. A custom fireplace designer can help you choose the material and look that will be most appropriate for the surrounding room.
By having your fireplace professionally installed, you can also avoid problems with your homeowners insurance. Depending upon your specific policy, you may not be covered for any damage resulting from a DIY fireplace. You may also need to apply for permits from your city or county in order to add a fireplace to your home (particularly if you live in a dry or fire-prone area). A professional can help guide you through this sometimes complex and confusing process.
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