Adding a Fireplace: Is It Actually Possible?

by Matty ByloosFebruary 9, 2016

Adding a Fireplace to an Existing Home Can Be Done!

There are very few things that beat the intimacy and the coziness of an open fireplace in the depths of winter. And, while a fireplace might not be the greatest, most efficient way to heat your home, it does add something quintessentially homey to any living room, den, or master suite.

The fireplace is symbolically a place of tradition, a place to gather the family, and a place of both literal and figurative warmth.

But many new homes have been built without a fireplace since heating with wood fell out of fashion in the nineteen seventies. Despite the overwhelming number of homebuyers hoping to purchase a home with a fireplace, many dwellings simply don’t feature them.

There is good news, though. Putting a new fireplace into an existing home can be done, and depending on what you’re willing to compromise on, adding a fireplace to your house doesn’t have to break the bank, either!
Fireplace installing in white brick wall

Building Codes

Before you let the fantasy run wild and you start leafing through woodstove catalogs and debating the relative benefits of natural gas versus wood pellet with your loved ones, you’ll want to check with your metro or county building codes to make sure you understand what can be added on in your area.

Building codes can also radically affect installation and build-out costs. They dictate things like chimney height, emissions, and several construction details. Make sure you’re working with a licensed, bonded contractor and that you are aware of all the costs you will be on the hook for, before you make a decision.

Choosing Your New Fireplace’s Fuel Source

Depending on what you learn from perusing building codes and talking to your contractor, the intended use of your new fireplace and your home’s capacity for firewood storage, you will need to make a decision about fuel.

There is nothing as romantic, nor as fuel-inefficient than a big, open, wood-burning hearth. And on the flip side, there are few heating sources as fuel efficient as sealed natural gas fireplaces. You’ll want to consider several factors before you make a choice between the various fuel options and what they require.
Part of the modern interior with fireplace 3D rendering

Budget and Resale Value

The cost of adding a fireplace to an existing home can be as low a few hundred bucks, and as high as around twenty-thousand dollars. Most projects of this type run around two thousand dollars for the pre-built unit, plus around five thousand more for the construction work it takes to install and build out the unit.

But keep in mind that, while a fireplace may add to your home’s appeal should you resell it, it may not add much to its appraised value. It is unlikely that you’ll monetarily recoup the money that you spend on installing a fireplace, regardless of how much or how little it costs you.

Adding a New Fireplace for Your Existing House Is Possible

If you’re willing to shell out the money, regardless of the potential to get it back when you sell your home, and your area’s building codes allow it, then adding a fireplace to your existing home can be a great way to increase its value to you and your family.

Fireplace inserts, wood stoves, and full-on stonemason constructed hearths all have their value and their associated construction and installation costs. You’ll have to do a bit of research to make sure that you’re selecting the right fireplace for your budget and needs, but your home will be that much cozier for you and your family next winter, when you need it most!


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About The Author
Matty Byloos
Matty is the Content Marketing Specialist for Homes.com. He's a newly minted homeowner who currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife. When he's not working, he enjoys writing fiction, working on the house, and enjoying the amazing nature that the city has to offer. He is also the founder of NOVEL Creative Agency.

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