Fireplaces can be a beautiful and functional addition to any home, providing warmth and ambiance during the colder months. But what if you want to move your fireplace to a different location in your home, or even to a new home entirely? Is it possible to relocate a fireplace, or is it a permanent fixture?
The short answer is that it is possible to move a fireplace, but it is not a simple or inexpensive process. There are several factors to consider before deciding to relocate your fireplace, and it is important to weigh the costs and benefits before making a decision.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the different types of fireplaces, the challenges and considerations involved in moving a fireplace, and the steps involved in the relocation process. We will also provide some tips for choosing the best location for your fireplace and maintaining it in its new home.
Types of Fireplaces:
Before we dive into the details of moving a fireplace, it is important to understand the different types of fireplaces and how they are constructed. There are several types of fireplaces, including:
- Wood-burning fireplaces: These are the most traditional type of fireplace, and they are typically made of brick or stone. Wood-burning fireplaces require a chimney to vent smoke and exhaust gases.
- Gas fireplaces: Gas fireplaces are a more modern option that uses natural gas or propane as a fuel source. They do not require a chimney and can be vented through a wall or roof.
- Electric fireplaces: Electric fireplaces are a convenient and low-maintenance option that uses electricity to generate heat and simulate the look of a real fire. They do not require a chimney or venting.
- Pellet-burning fireplaces: Pellet-burning fireplaces are a type of wood-burning fireplace that uses compressed wood pellets as a fuel source. They require a chimney and need to be regularly refilled with pellets.
Challenges and Considerations
Before deciding to move a fireplace, it is important to consider the following challenges and considerations:
- Cost: Moving a fireplace can be expensive, especially if you have a traditional wood-burning fireplace. The cost will depend on the type of fireplace you have, the distance it needs to be moved, and any necessary modifications to the new location.
- Structural limitations: The weight and size of a fireplace may limit where it can be placed. It may not be possible to move a fireplace to a location on a different floor or to a location with limited support.
- Venting: Wood-burning and pellet-burning fireplaces require a chimney to vent smoke and exhaust gases. If you are moving a fireplace to a location without a chimney, you will need to have one installed, which can be costly and time-consuming. Gas fireplaces can be vented through a wall or roof, but this will also require additional work.
- Building codes and permits: Depending on your location, you may need to obtain building permits and meet certain code requirements to move a fireplace. It is important to check with your local building department before starting the relocation process.
Steps to Relocate a Fireplace
If you have decided to move your fireplace, the first step is to consult with a professional. A licensed contractor or a chimney sweep can assess your fireplace and provide a quote for the relocation process. They can also help you determine the best location for your fireplace and advise you on any necessary modifications or permits.
The actual process of moving a fireplace will depend on the type of fireplace you have and the distance that needs to be moved. Here are the general steps involved in relocating a fireplace:
- Disconnect and remove the fireplace: The first step is to disconnect the fireplace from its fuel source and remove it from its current location. This will typically involve removing the mantel and any surrounding finishes, such as drywall or tile.
- Transport the fireplace: The fireplace will then need to be carefully transported to its new location. This may involve lifting the fireplace through windows or doors or using a crane to lift it over the roof.
- Install the fireplace: Once the fireplace has been transported to its new location, it will need to be installed. This will involve securing the fireplace to the floor or wall and making any necessary connections for the fuel source.
- Rebuild the surrounding finishes: The final step is to rebuild any surrounding finishes that were removed, such as the mantel or drywall. This will typically involve hiring a carpenter or a mason.
Choosing the Best Location for Your Fireplace
When deciding on the best location for your fireplace, there are several factors to consider:
- Proximity to fuel source: If you have a wood-burning or pellet-burning fireplace, you will need to consider the proximity to the fuel source. It is convenient to have the fireplace close to the woodpile or pellet storage, but it is also important to consider the potential for fire hazards.
- Venting: As mentioned earlier, wood-burning and pellet-burning fireplaces require a chimney for venting. It is important to choose a location that allows for easy access to the chimney.
- View: Consider the view from the fireplace and the location of the mantel. You want to be able to enjoy the view and the ambiance of the fireplace from the comfort of your favorite chair or couch.
- Traffic flow: It is important to consider the traffic flow in the room and choose a location that will not interfere with the movement of people or furniture.
Maintaining Your Fireplace in Its New Location
Once your fireplace has been successfully relocated, it is important to properly maintain it to ensure it is safe and efficient. Here are some tips for maintaining your fireplace in its new location:
- Have your chimney inspected and cleaned regularly: If you have a wood-burning or pellet-burning fireplace, it is important to have the chimney inspected and cleaned at least once a year. This will help prevent chimney fires and improve the efficiency of your fireplace.
- Use a fireplace screen: A fireplace screen can help prevent sparks and embers from escaping the fireplace and starting a fire.
- Store fuel safely: If you have a wood-burning or pellet-burning fireplace, it is important to store the fuel safely. This means keeping woodpiles and pellet bags away from the fireplace and any potential ignition sources.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions: It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for operating and maintaining your fireplace. This will help ensure the safety and efficiency of your fireplace.
In conclusion, it is possible to move a fireplace, but it is a complex and costly process. It is important to carefully consider the challenges and considerations involved and to consult with a professional before making a decision. Once your fireplace has been successfully relocated, it is important to properly maintain it to ensure it is safe and efficient.