Sunday, September 16, 2012

Upgrades That Will Boost the Functionality and Style of Your Fireplace

Improve the functionality and style of your fireplace with these clever upgrade suggestions.

There is something beguiling about a fireplace that makes it a staple feature and amenity in most homes. Having your own fireplace not only increases the value of your home but also allows you to make yourself comfortable even during cold, dark nights. Nonetheless, its imposing and beautiful features are what make it an ideal focal point for any space.

However, due to constant use and exposure to heat during winter months and lack of usage during hot summer days, a fireplace can eventually lose its appeal and probably its functionality. So before you spark up the logs again this winter, try upgrading some of the parts of your fireplace to improve its functionality and style and make it look good as new with these suggestions.

Integrate glass fireplace doors

There's nothing quite like a cozy fire and a cup of hot coffee on a chilly night. However, an open wood-burning fireplace left unattended is not safe. So to ensure that your fireplace is safe, consider retrofitting it with glass fireplace doors. Integrating such safety feature to an existing fireplace requires minimal elbow greasing on your part since it comes in a standard size that easily fits in any flat fireplace opening. Likewise, you will not have a hard time attending to its upkeep as it requires little maintenance.

Get your brick fireplace in tip-top condition

If your fireplace is made out of brick, it is likely that its mortar is starting to fall out, crumble and crack due to years of exposure to searing-hot blazes. Broken mortar joint not only make your fireplace less appealing, they can also become a precursor for the entire bricks to become susceptible to damage, which can cost you more money for future repairs. Hence, to avoid problems later on, take the time to evaluate the condition of your brick fireplace, including the mortar. If you find any damaged parts, replace them immediately.

Fit it with an insert

While a fireplace is a beautiful feature for your home, it also happens to be a major energy waster. By nature, fireplaces, including yours, is not efficient as they pull out warm air out of the room and send a huge portion of valuable heat out of the chimney. Therefore, when temperatures significantly drop, your fireplace uses up more energy than it makes, which in turn increases your monthly heating bills. So to make your fireplace efficient, consider fitting it with an insert.

An fireplace insert is a fireproof box surrounded by cast iron or steel and an insulated glass front. The surrounding cast iron or steel traps the heat and keep it in the room, thereby making an open fireplace draft-proof. Although an insert may be expensive upfront, it is actually a good investment as it pays for itself for the long term by significantly reducing the cost of your heating bills.

Tile the hearth and surround

The mantel on your fireplace does the job at keeping it aesthetically pleasing. However, the hearth and surround are also prime spaces that offer you a lot of creative opportunities to further increase the visual prowess of your fire feature. One of the best ways to dress up the buffer between your fireplace and flooring as well as its surround is to cover them with colorful tiles.

There are numerous masonry products from which you could choose from to jazz up your hearth and surround. Some are decorative while others are more formal looking. Just make sure that you pick something that can withstand heat and possible log drops every now and then. The great thing about tiling a hearth and surround is that you can change up the entire look of your fireplace within a week or two. Nonetheless, the tiles will also make it easier for you to clean up your fireplace, since they are stain-resistant.

The article above was contributed by one of the writers of We Do Boxes <>, a company based in the UK that supplies high quality cardboard packing and moving boxes at affordable rates.

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