A fireplace adds coziness to a room, both in terms of air temperature and appearance. It can become dated over time, though, as you update the rest of the home around it. If you have a fireplace in need of a new look, learn more about your options.

Considerations for Updating a Wood Fireplace Update

Certain factors dictate what you can and cannot do when making over a wood fireplace. For example, you must work around the existing ventilation system. You cannot move the fireplace and still use the same vents. You can, however, choose between a refacing of the fireplace and a complete remodel.

Wood Fireplace Remodels and Makeovers

If your budget is small, consider a refacing of an outdated fireplace. For example, giving a fireplace a more modern look will involve removing the mantel and installing one with a more updated style. You also will cover the existing brick or stone with a new material, one that better matches the rest of the room.


One of the most commonly used materials in a fireplace refacing is tile. Which type of tile you choose depends on, again, your budget. Ceramic tile costs the least and marble the most.

If you plan to replace the exterior of the fireplace altogether, you will not only remove the mantel but also all other features, including a hearth if present. Demolition and removal increases the budget of this project, as does purchasing all replacement materials. You also must repair or reinstall flooring where you removed the hearth.

Installing a Gas Fireplace Insert

If in addition to updating the look of your fireplace you want to eliminate the mess and hassle of burning wood, while also being kinder to the environment, consider installing a gas fireplace insert as part of the remodel.

A gas fireplace insert has many benefits. You start a fire with the flip of a switch and need not stoke it as you do a wood fireplace. An insert costs little to maintain beyond an annual checkup. It burns with 65% to 99% efficiency, depending on the model, reducing pollution and smoke.

Keep in mind its initial and ongoing costs, though. A gas fireplace insert requires gas, of course, which costs more than wood. The initial cost can run up to $4,000, including installation.

For most homeowners, that installation cost cannot be lowered by taking the DIY route. The process involves attaching vent pipes to the insert and removing the existing fireplace damper and ash cover to make room for the new vent pipes. The new firebox must then be placed.

An existing fireplace that did not use gas also requires running gas and electric lines. Even if you could perform the steps up to this point, a professional must handle these dangerous tasks.

After the gas and electricity are set up, the electrical wires and gas line get connected to the insert, which then slides into the firebox and gets secured. The next step involves installing all of the accessories, such as the embers and ceramic logs, and the glass panel that covers the fireplace.

The remote control receiver goes in next, followed by the fireplace surround. You then can move on to the next steps in your fireplace remodel, such as installing a new mantel.

No matter how you decide to update your fireplace, whether with a refacing or a full remodel with installation of a gas fireplace insert, consult your professional handyman. He or she can advise you on the best option for your home. Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service now online. Repair. Improve. Maintain. One call does it all!