Imagine snuggling up to a roaring fire on a cold winter’s night or hanging stockings across the mantle during the holidays. A fireplace can add a sense of contentment and style, not to mention warmth and comfort. Many homes in the Washington DC Metro Area have beautiful fireplaces. Many homeowners contract with companies like ours for fireplace installation. Whether they are considering upgrading an existing fireplace or installing a new fireplace in a home that does not have one, many homeowners find themselves choosing between installing fireplaces and installing a fireplace insert. There are a lot of things to consider when deciding between a fireplace and an insert.
Cost and Maintenance Are Important Factors
It is usually more costly to install a fireplace. However, many people like the look and comfort offered by a traditional fireplace. Traditional fireplaces are usually made of brick or stone and contain a flue and chimney. While they look beautiful, these open hearths can be costly to install and challenging to maintain.
If your home does not already have a chimney, building a fireplace will require a major renovation. First, a cavity must be created, then the chimney built and proper ventilation installed. That doesn’t include the indoor structure and mantle, which itself can add thousands onto the project budget.
The Classic Look of Traditional Fireplaces
Traditional Fireplaces have a classic look that many people find irresistible. Inserts are more efficient. However, in some homes, the modern design of fireplace inserts can conflict with the furniture and décor of the home. We see this often in homes in historic areas in Washington DC such as Georgetown. A fireplace insert can look modern to the level that they look out of place in the room.
Fireplace Inserts Offer a Good Alternative
What if you already have a traditional fireplace that needs significant repairs, but cannot afford to rebuild it? Consider a fireplace insert. These beautifully designed metal boxes are an excellent way to salvage an already built fireplace, by allowing you to have a similar look and feel of a traditional fireplace with lower installation and maintenance costs. They also tend to be significantly more energy efficient.
Pellet Stove Fireplace Insert
If you want a more traditional look and feel for your fireplace, a pellet insert may be the answer. This allows you to burn pellets in the hearth giving you the look of real flames and even the smell of burning wood.
Gas Fireplace Insert
Those who want a low-maintenance option may want to consider a gas fireplace insert. This gives the look of a real fire without the inconvenience of collecting, storing and carrying wood. It also eliminates messy cleanup. Simply flick a switch and flames appear. Turn it off when you are done and walk away. You can find an article that reviews the benefits of a gas fireplace in further detail here. You may also want to look at this previously completed project.
Avantages of Fireplace Inserts
* Low Cost: Costing only a few hundred dollars, inserts are a low-cost way to add style to any room.
* Faster Installation: Can be completed in half the time of rebuilding a fireplace.
* Stylish: Modern inserts offer a more trendy look than a traditional fireplace presents.
* Can Be Placed Almost Anywhere: Inserts can also be installed in smaller spaces since they don’t need the same clearances as their wood-burning counterparts.
Which fireplace option is best for you?
When considering adding a fireplace to your home ask yourself these important questions:
- What kind of look am I after?
- Does my home already have a chimney?
- What’s the difference in the cost?
- How much maintenance am I willing to handle?
Fireplaces add comfort and style to any room. Whether you choose an open-air hearth or an insert is simply a matter of taste and cost. Both look beautiful and can give you years of enjoyment.
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
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
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
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
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
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 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.
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.
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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.
Here we are starting the demo and taking the chimney down. The leaning chimney could not be corrected without rebuilding it.
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.
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.
The chimney has been completely rebuilt including the liner, crown, and caps.