An outdoor fireplace is a relaxation center piece for family and friends; it offers the best spot for gatherings and enjoying the warmth on a cool evening. It’s not just an upgrade to the terrace or backyard, an outdoor fireplace also increases the value of your home. With the right setup, you’ll take your backyard to the next level by providing a beautiful addition to your outdoor living space.
Installing a new outdoor fireplace is not as simple as it looks; it’s a big undertaking that requires professional advice if you want to run a successful project. You have to understand the zoning regulations, wind direction and more factors that will impact the functionality and safety of the fireplace. This article will show the steps for installing a new outdoor fireplace in your home.
The Benefits Of Outdoor Fireplace For The Homeowners
- The outdoor living space usability will increase; the patio or deck will be more enjoyable since you have a focal point. You’ll give up heat to make the backyard more usable during the year.
- Creating a cozy atmosphere; Most people love the ambience that comes from the fireplace, and you’ll definitely love it too. Your living space will turn into a gathering space for family and friends.
- Roasting: You can grill and roast some marshmallows with an outdoor fireplace. You’ll be able to turn your backyard into a kitchen and have some fun.
- Bug repellent; with a wood-burning fireplace, you can chase away mosquitoes and other bugs within your premises. An outdoor fireplace is a natural bug repellent, no need to use harsh chemicals in your surroundings.
- Add more value to your home; like most home improvement additions, installing a beautiful outdoor fireplace will increase the value of your home.
Benefits Of Outdoor Fireplace For Businesses
- Create a beautiful outdoor focal point; businesses like restaurants, event spaces, and other commercial locations can use an outdoor fireplace to create a beautiful outdoor focal point.
- Extend your customers; if you have an outdoor patio, deck or pavilion with a fire feature, you can increase the number of customers you can serve at once. The seating area can be used longer on cool evenings since there is a heat source.
- It helps your brand stand out; Most homeowners don’t have a fireplace in their homes, but if they can find it at your business location, they’ll be happy to come and enjoy that cozy experience offered to them with friends and family.
- Attract more patrons; This applies to restaurants that have Covid restrictions when it comes to capacity. With a cozy outdoor atmosphere, you can attract more patrons. Dining outside is possible since there is a heat source that makes people feel safer.
Disadvantages Of Outdoor Fireplaces
- They can take up a large space; you’ll need a lot of outdoor space to install an outdoor fireplace. The space you need is dependent on the style you choose.
- They can be expensive; they aren’t cheap, especially if you’re going for big luxurious designs. Of course, there are cheaper options, and you can build your own custom designs as well if you have the tools.
- They can block your view; an outdoor fireplace can block your view from watching the sunset or landscape from your patio. However, with the right guidance, you can minimize the obstruction. You can see professional advice during installation to ensure no obstruction to your views.
Types Of Outdoor Fireplaces
- Wood/Traditional fireplace; this is the traditional option that’s more popular. It’s normally made from stone or brick. They’re easy to install and provide you with the warmth you need for your gatherings. However, more upkeep is required; you’ll need a guard or screen to avoid flying sparks and embers. The smoky smell is also something that’s not enjoyable. Most of the smoke will go up and away from the backyard, but you may not funnel all of it.
- Gas fireplace; most modern fireplaces are gas-powered. They have a sleek look; a chimney isn’t required, but you can have one if interested. You’ll need a gas line to fuel it up; you should expect higher upfront costs. They don’t produce heat like the traditional wood fireplace.
- A propane fireplace; provides a clean fuel source and produces heat just like a wood fireplace. The setup is more expensive than gas, and less cleanup is required than wood. This is a good middle-ground option for many people out there.
- Gel fireplace; This is a safer option than the other options, and it has fewer disadvantages. It doesn’t produce smoke or ash, has no electric hook-up, and no gas line is needed to operate. It uses bio-ethanol fuel, that’s a lightweight and easy option. It’s more expensive than other types of fireplaces, especially if you want to install a big fireplace.
What’s The Best Outdoor Fireplace Option?
No best option suits everyone; your budget, design preference, customizations, and outdoor setting will determine the best option suitable for you when installing a new outdoor fireplace.
How To Install An Outdoor Fireplace
Before we outline the steps for DIY fireplace installation, you should know that ready-made options are available for sale. They can be lifted on most single-storey houses, ready for use immediately without spending much time on installation. Let’s now outline the steps you need to follow to set up your outdoor fireplace at home.
Check State Codes And Restrictions
The first thing you want to do is check your state, local and HOA codes. Inquire about the restrictions also to ensure that you abide by the rules. Nothing is complex here; you just need to meet the clearance requirements from property and structure lines. You should know that open fires aren’t allowed in some areas; you want to ensure that there are no restrictions in your area.
Create A Plan
Start by visiting your backyard to ensure you have enough space and figure out the type of outdoor fireplace that’s more appropriate for your property. A Fremont fireplace kit dimension that doesn’t have an add-on will require a 52” W x 48” D x 91” T space. Some of the questions you will ask yourself are; do you want to use wood or gas logs? Is extra Chimney clearance needed? Do you want a long chimney or wood storage? Once you figure out what you need, you can start building your outdoor fireplace.
Build The Foundation
Having a solid foundation is the first and most important step; most people will not bother about it. Prepare a solid foundation before anything; the standard best practice is concrete, and you can do the same. When building the foundation, you need a 4”-8” aggregate base where it will rest. Steel reinforcement is also required, don’t just pour the concrete directly on the soil. Use a 4”-8” reinforced concrete pad to ensure the foundation is strong enough to hold your fireplace.
Gather Your Materials
Before building the fireplace, you should gather the following tools; Hammer, dead blow hammer, caulk gun, torpedo level, 4-foot level, Big ass square, and 2 ladders with a minimum of 5 feet.
Lay The Foundation Blocks
When laying the foundation blocks, you should start from the center. This will help you center the fireplace for accurate placement. As you’re placing the blocks, you should keep them leveled. Don’t use a lot of adhesives when you’re gluing the blocks together. A little bead of glue is enough since the gravity of the blocks will hold them together.
Building The Firebox
This is the heart of your fireplace, and you don’t want to mess around while building it. Start your building from the outside corner and ensure that the structure is leveled, plumb, and flushed. Building the firebox isn’t a great deal; you just want to consider two important things. It should be lined with the firebrick, and an opening needs a lintel; they’re all easy to build. You should know that setting up a temporary rest for the firebox is required to support the blocks.
Build The Smoke Chamber
After setting up the firebox, you can take some rest before proceeding with the smoke chamber. This will allow the glue used to set up the firebox. When building the smoke chamber, rack the blocks at least 4” from the front and 2” from each side. You’ll need a special jib to take accurate measurements, and you want to ensure it looks good to your eyes.
Build The Chimney
This is also a simple process; you will be stacking the blocks and ensuring that the structure stays square, plumb, and level as you did while constructing the other structures. The chimney should be the same size up to the top. Use ladders, or you can use wood to stand while constructing the chimney. The chimney can be extended up to 48”.
Add The Cap
You’re almost done with the fireplace, and you might take a rest before adding the cap. You can wait till the next day to do this task; you need to use a ladder and should seek the help of a friend. Using multiple caps is also advisable if the first cap drops; you want to ensure you’re safe when adding the cap and wait until you have someone around to help you with the process.
Add Finishing Touches
Your fireplace is almost complete, and all you need to add now are the finishing blocks. They’re used to trim the top of the chimney and create a mantle. They’re light and small pieces; they should be glued since they’re not locked in place. Give the fireplace 72 hours to cure before you set the first fire. Your fireplace is now complete, and you can start having some refreshments in your outdoor living space, especially during winter.
What Are The Key Things To Consider When Building An Outdoor Fireplace?
The outdoor experience you want to have will determine the type of outdoor fireplace you choose. You should also consider heat output and looks, cooking capabilities, and space availability.
Can You Install An Outdoor Fireplace By Yourself?
Yes, you can build it yourself, but you have to be ready for some work, and you may not be able to complete the setup in one day. However, it’s good to consult a contractor for guidance, even if you want to do it by yourself.
Is Foundation Necessary For An Outdoor Fireplace?
Yes, you must create a reinforced concrete slab foundation before arranging the blocks. The soil type, the weight of the outdoor fireplace, and freeze/thaw conditions will determine the type of foundation you’ll set up in the area. A concrete foundation is the standard many people use; it’s easier, and materials are available.
Can Outdoor Fireplaces Put Off Heat?
Outdoor fireplaces can add heat and light and provide an interactive experience that will enhance your time outdoors. With an outdoor fireplace, you will enjoy lots of ambience in your living space.
How Much Does It Cost To Install A New Outdoor Fireplace?
We can’t precisely mention the exact prices because there are a lot of customizations, and the price depends on the size you want to build in your home. However, the average price is $3000; you should expect to pay the minimum price of $1500.
Is an Outdoor Fireplace Worth The Investment?
Yes, it’s worth the investment because it can increase the value of your home, and they provide an entertaining experience for gatherings. Outdoor fireplaces will provide a cozy and comfortable experience with family and friends.
What Is The Best Location For An Outdoor Fireplace?
You can choose any location in your outdoor space, but the rule is to ensure that it’s 10 feet away from flammable materials and away from your structures. If nearby trees exist, you’ll have to take extra precautions to avoid fire risks.
What Is The Lifetime Of Outdoor Fireplaces?
If they’re built well, especially if you purchase high-quality and durable ones, you should expect them to last for a lifetime. The durability comes down to how well it’s built and how it’s maintained. The fire pit should be maintained properly to prevent rust and damage. If care isn’t taken, poorly built outdoor fireplaces can damage within a year.