Why would a homeowner want to remove a fireplace? How practical is it to do so? Is it expensive? Are there any cost-effective alternatives? Let Fireplace & Bar-B-Q Center help you determine if removing a fireplace is a project you should be contemplating.
Answering “why” one would want to remove a fireplace, consider that a lot of fireplaces likely remove more heat from the home that they contribute to it. Many zero clearance (ZC) fireplaces, built into a framed wall and installed in the 70s, 80s and 90s, are grossly inefficient by today’s standards. Additionally, ineffective dampers may not seal properly; inexpensive bi-fold doors may leak air or may be missing altogether; and you may have no control on the amount of combustion air going to the fire. And finally, an outdated look is another legitimate reason for removing or updating a fireplace.
Masonry fireplaces are notorious for losing warm air from the house for the same reasons stated above for ZC fireplaces. However, they are built differently than ZC models. A masonry fireplace is supported in your basement by footings, in order to buttress the weight of the brick and/or stone. This type of fireplace is normally quite difficult and expensive to remove. The focus here should be updating and/or repairing that type of fireplace. Completely tearing them down is seldom recommended.
If you plan to install a new, more efficient fireplace, odds are in your favor that you will have several options to fit your opening. Many ZC fireplaces are being replaced with new, efficient, direct vented gas models. These fireplace inserts can be installed in all “wood-worthy” fireplaces. So, an insert, coupled with a new mantle, refacing the existing brick and updating the hearth can also give your old masonry fireplace an entirely different look and feel.
If a fireplace project is on your radar, you probably have lots of options. Fireplace & Bar-B-Q Center can explain what is feasible and right for you. We look forward to helping you make an informed and intelligent decision!