6 great ideas for decorating fireplace hearths

During our fireplace repair and chimney sweeping in Washington DC we see a wide variety of hearth decoratoins.  You can find out more about our service here.  Fireplaces tend to be a major focal point  of a room.  Some of the decorations that we see enhance the appearance of the room and other seem to look out of place.  It’s important to explore the many fireplace hearth decoration ideas.  Be sure that your decorations integrate well with the rest of the home. There are all sorts of ways a well decorated fireplace hearth can to add character to the space.  Below are some great hearth decoration ideas. 

1. Use vases to decorate your fireplace hearth

fireplace hearth with vases

Vases on the hearth have the potential to add contrast from the material used. If you opted for a brick hearth, you could use glass or stone. Choose colors that help to incorporate the other colors you have within the room to finish off the look.

2. Add a culinary touch to your hearth

hearth with culinary decorations

Fireplaces and stoves should to be the primarily used to prepare meals.  Though moden fireplaces are less likely to be used for cooking, many find using items associated with cooking to be a good choice for decorating a hearth.  Many find that decorating their hearth in this way fosters memories of their youth.  Pots and pans add a nice decorative touch. You might also want to hang hooks for ladles, spatulas, and more. You can find many low cost, unique options at their local antique shop, flea market or yard sale. 

3. Create a fireplace shelf

stone veneer fireplace hearth with shelf

A shelf is something you can easily install that adds a personal touch.  Most of the shelves are wooden and then you can choose to paint a coordinating color.  On top of the shelf, you can add some of your own charm. This could be candlesticks, photographs, a rustic clock, or something else that would help to add your personality into the room. 

4. Add a mirror above the fireplace

fireplace hearth decoration with mirror

You might want to consider adding a mirror above the hearth as this will create an illusion that the room is much larger than it is. When you decide to have a fireplace built into a living room or other space, you give up some floor space. To avoid feeling as though you are closed in, you can hang a mirror.   Be sure to look at this previous project involving a fireplace with a mirror. 

As for the type of mirror you hang, the larger, the better. Some have a lot of ornate features, which might go with other details of your home. Additionally, you can take a DIY approach with the mirror and mount crown molding to the edges, which is ideal if you have crown molding elsewhere in the room.

5. Extend the floor in front of the fireplace

fireplace hearth decoration with extended floor

Once the hearth is in place, you can opt for an extended floor. Of the fireplace hearth decoration ideas, this one will help to smooth the transition from the fireplace into the rest of the room. You can get creative and make a mosaic pebble tile on your hardwood or bamboo floors. This gives the appearance that your fireplace has “bubbled over,” adding some character to the room.

6. Use an Ornate Fireplace Screen

fireplace with decorative fireplace screen

Fireplace screens are functional, though they can also be ornate. Consider using a decorative fireplace screen. There are all sorts of designs, and you can have a custom one made as well.

Overall, there are all sorts of decorating ideas for your fireplace hearth. Explore the various options.  If you are having a fireplace installed it is wise to  discuss any construction needs related to tyour deocation ideasd with your fireplace installer.  The technicians at our company are always willing to help.  Overall it is important for you to feel free to be creative.  Have fun with it. 

5 Tips For Hiring A Chimney Sweep In Washington DC

chimney sweep tips

There are a lot of cleaning that you can do around your home on your own. However, when it comes to cleaning your chimney and making sure that it is in the best condition possible, you want to rely on a professional chimney sweep in Washington DC. After seeing these signs that you need a cleaning, it is important to hire the right chimney company.  In Washington DC homeowners want companies like ours that will do the job right at a competitive price.  Here are some tips for hiring a chimney company in Washington DC.  

1. Look for a company that believes in preventing problems before they become costly.  

A good chimney sweep looks for future problems in addition to existing chimney.  Some chimney companies only look for blaring problems.  They ignore minor problems in the hopes that they can charge more when the minor issue becomes a major problem later.  The best chimney sweeps look for signs of future problems and make recommendations.  Doing so often results in lower repair costs.  It is always cheaper to address minor chimney issues before turns into major repair needs. 

2. Choose a chimney sweep that offers additional services

You want to choose a company that can help you in a variety of different areas.  Doing so allows for you to take full benefit of their expertise.  Otherwise, you will ultimately end up hiring more than one company – and there is simply no reason for this.

Some of the most common services offered include:

  • Cleaning of chimney
  • Masonry repairs
  • Flashing repair
  • Waterproofing of chimney
  • Crown and caps repair
  • Purging of smoke chamber

 

In addition to cleaning the chimney and fireplace, it is also beneficial to look at any other services that the company might offer, such as dryer vent cleaning. After all, once you find a company, it’s best to rely on them for various other services around your home as well.

3. Read Up on the Chimney Sweep Companies Reputation

You should always look into the reputation of the company.  Your research should include sources such as online reviews, testimonials and their membership with professional organizations like the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).  Past customers reviews are a powerful resource.  If a large number of homeowners in your area have good things to say about the company, you are likely to have a similar experience.  Positive reviews will help you makes sure the company that understands how to sweep a chimney in a professional manner.  Taking a little bit of time to investigate the company before you hire them will ensure that you get the best services at the best possible price.

4. Find Out About Chimney Sweep Licensing

Washington DC requires that companies who provide chimney services to be licensed.  You want to make sure that the business that you choose is licensed and insured. Being licensed shows that they are professional and have taken the proper steps to be compliant with the regulations.  If you allow a company to come in and they are not licensed or carry adequate insurance, any damage could potentially be your responsibility.

5.  Ask for a Quote

You also need to ask for a quote for the services that you require.  Pricing should be relatively straightforward. When you get into repairs and installations, the company might need to come out and provide an inspection before they can provide a quote.   Most companies charge for inspections and cleanings.  However, they should not charge a fee to provide a price quote.  Unfortunately, there are some cases where a quote cannot be given without performing a full inspection. 

Rebuild leaning chimney in Washington DC

 damaged chimney in Washington DC

BEFORE

The owners of this home in Washington DC hired our Washington DC chimney repair team to rebuild their leaning chimney in Washington DC.  Above is a picture of the chimney.  You can see that the chimney is leaning towards the house.  This occurred because the mortar joints had deteriorated. The mortar joints had deteriorated over time from moisture getting into the chimney.  It is possible that the moisture may have come from the concrete crown and worked its way down the chimney or it may also be from the condensation of the flue gasses in the chimney or both. In this particular case, I believe it’s a result of both.  This project reminded me of a previous rebuild.  

 chimney demolition in washington dc

 

Here we are starting the demo and taking the chimney down. The leaning chimney could not be corrected without rebuilding it. 

 installing chimney liner in DC

 

Once the chimney was rebuilt we installed a stainless steel liner for the fireplace and the gas boiler and water heater in the basement. We install the liners after the brickwork, so they are not in the way while we are laying the bricks. During the demolition of the chimney, we removed the old terracotta flue liners to make room for the stainless steel liners.

 insulating installed chimney liners

 

Once the liners were installed, we insulated around the liners with a minimum 1″ of Premier Mix poured insulation which is a mixture of vermiculite and Portland cement. This plus 4″ of solid masonry is required for the liners to meet the manufacturers UL Listing for zero clearance.

 

 

 

In the basement, we installed two stainless steel tees inside the wall for the water heater and gas boiler to hook up to.

 

 

We parged the smoke chamber of the fireplace with Chamber Tech 2000 to seal any gaps and to correct the corbelling bricks.

 

 

Once the liners were installed, we completed the rebuild by pouring a new floating cast concrete crown and installing new copper counter flashing that is tucked into the mortar bed joints of the chimney. The chimney will be painted at a later date along with the rest of the house.

 

AFTER!!!

The chimney has been completely rebuilt including the liner, crown, and caps.

 

 

5 Reasonswhy it is best to install a gas fireplace

 gas fireplace

Using a gas fireplace provide an affordable, convenient way to add warmth to your home.  Many homeowners in Washington DC have made the wise decision of having a gas fireplace installed in their home.  There are plenty of reasons why you should make the investment – and when you understand the benefits, it’s all the more reason to have one in your home.

1. Gas fireplaces are better for the environment

A gas fireplace allows you to go green as opposed to using a central furnace or HVAC system. You don’t use all of the rooms in your home to the same level, and there is no reason for you to pay to heat your entire home, including the rooms that remain unoccupied. A gas fireplace allows you to heat the room where everyone is located. In some instances, this can cut your electric bill by 20 to 40%.

2. No brick chimney needed

There is no chimney necessary when you opt for a gas fireplace. When you are looking at installing a fireplace, this needs to be a primary consideration because installing a chimney could be cost prohibitive. Modern technology makes it possible to have a fireplace without the need for a chimney area a single pipe can be run to ensure that the gas vents to the outside and this reduces the cost of installation dramatically.

3. You control the intensity fo the fire in the fireplace

When you have a gas fireplace, you also get to control the fire, including the heat and flame. This means you are going to have to stack firewood into the fireplace and hope for the best. There will be various controls that allow you to determine the intensity of the embers as well as the height of the flames.

Many units provide you with a remote control. This allows you to control the ambiance and warmth of the fire without having to get up from where you are seated. This adds even more convenience and control.

4. Gas fireplaces are easier to cleanup

You’re also going to have an easier cleanup when you choose to go with a gas version. This is because there will be no need to clean out a chimney or get rid of and half-burnt logs. In fact, there will be no need for firewood at all, and this is going to make it easier for you to obtain heat and at a lower cost as well.  Overall, gas fireplaces are easier to maintain.

It’s an Investment to Your Home

When you opt for a gas fireplace, it’s an investment into your home. It has the potential to increase the value of your home. You’re also going to be able to decide on how the fireplace looks, with such decisions to make as:

  • Size of fireplace
  • The number of controls
  • Overall style

Whether you are looking for something rustic or modern, you will be able to find it. It offers up more options than if you were to go with a traditional wood-burning fireplace.

It’s important to understand the reasons for having a gas fireplace so that you can make a more informed decision as to what to install in your home. Gas fireplaces are environmentally friendly, easy to clean and operate, and there are plenty of different styles available in the marketplace.

Gas Fireplace Maintenance Tips

Nothing beats an evening of relaxing in front of your gas fireplace. Best of all, this type of fireplace requires far less cleaning and maintenance work than typical wood fireplaces.  If you fail to conduct proper gas fireplace maintenance, however, you may deal not only with poor efficiency but also a significant safety hazard.  Homeowners in DC who do not properly maintain their gas fireplaces ultimately find themselves needing Washington DC fireplace repairs.  

Keep your gas fireplace clean, safe, and functional by following these simple tips:

Clean your fireplace glass and check for damage

 

Whether you use your fireplace daily or forget it even exists, it is imperative that you clean it at least once each month. During this time, you can check for common problems and follow up with a professional, if necessary.

  • Use a high-quality glass cleaner and a soft cloth to buff both sides of the fireplace’s glass surface. If you wait too long, a cloudy effect may occur — and it could become permanent. 
  • Clean away any buildup of dust or dirt you find inside your fireplace.
  • Determine where the gasket is located and check if it is cracked. If there is any damage to the gasket, contact a chimney repair professional and have it replaced immediately. 
  • Check any bolts that hold the fireplace’s doors in place. If these are not fastened tightly, replace them. You may otherwise risk carbon monoxide entering your home.
  • Clean debris such as dust, dirt, cobwebs, or leaves from the fireplace’s vent. 

Checking and cleaning your gas fireplace should not take long, especially as compared to the cleaning process for a wood-burning fireplace. Regular cleaning is equally important for both types of fireplaces, however, as it improves efficiency and keeps you aware of potential safety hazards.

Have your chimney cleaned

gas fireplace maintenance chimney sweep

In addition to checking your fireplace once a month on your own, you should have a chimney sweep at least once each year. Regular professional maintenance can ensure the utmost safety and efficiency. Experts can determine where inefficiency occurs, why, and how it can be fixed. Additionally, repairs may address these issues:

  • Problems with the thermocouple
  • Problems with the pilot flame
  • Faulty control valves
  • Gas leaks

In addition to having your gas fireplace checked, it’s important to schedule a full chimney sweep each year. The better you maintain your fireplace and chimney, the longer you’ll be able to enjoy your beautiful and functional fireplace.