Installing fireplaces in homes with no chimney

Installing a fireplace in your home is a great way to add warmth, ambiance, and even resale value!  However, if you don’t have a chimney in your home or if you lack a chimney in the area where you wish to install your fireplace, you may be wondering if your dreams of having a fireplace are out-of-reach. This is a common issue for people seeking our services in Washington DC.  The good news is that there are a few fireplace installation options that do not require an existing chimney. Which one is right for you?

Stove Installation

fireplace stove

Stoves present an excellent option for homeowners that want a more natural wood experience.  Stoves can be purchased to use either gas, wood pellets or real wood.  Stoves are vented through a metal pipe.  The pipe extends from the stove through the roof.  The top of the pipe is covered with a chimney cap.  There is no need for a brick chimney surrounding the pipe.  Stoves are the most attractive option for homes that do not originally have fireplaces. 

Benefits of installing stoves

The beautiful thing about these stoves is that they can be installed just about anywhere and require just a small amount of retrofitting to create the proper pipe exhaust system, which will safely carry gases produced by a fire outside the home. Typically, pellet and wood-burning stoves are installed along a perimeter wall of a home. From there, a flue can be fitted that runs from the top of the stove and out through the roof of the home.

Some other advantages of wood/pellet stove installation:

  • Cheaper installation
  • Can burn real wood
  • Does not have the potential health risks of ventless fireplaces
  • More options and styles to choose from

Ventless Fireplaces

ventless fireplace

A ventless fireplace is another alternative for homeowners without an existing chimney or external ventilation. These types of fireplaces run on either natural gas or propane and are designed in such a way that the fuel is burned efficiently enough to produce very little carbon monoxide.  The remaining byproducts are released back into the home at levels that are considered to be safe.  The result is that you have a fireplace that has no chimney or pipe of any kind.  After installing a ventless fireplace, it is important to follow these maintenance tips.

Benefits of ventless fireplaces

Because these ventless fireplaces do not require a chimney or other ventilation system to be built, they also tend to be slightly cheaper to install than traditional fireplaces.

Due to the lack of a pipe, ventless systems can be installed in spaces that may be difficult or impossible to install any other type of fireplace or stove.

Important Safety Considerations

Ventless fireplaces are UL listed and approved based on the significantly reduced amount of fumes released back into the home compared to a regular vented system.  However, the fumes released by these systems can affect persons in the room who may be sensitive to them.  Ventless systems are particularly a concern when used when small children or people with respiratory issues are present.  People with allergies can also have problems with this system. 

There is much debate about the safety of ventless fireplaces.  Ventless fireplace installation is a service offered by our fireplace installation team.  However, we see ventless systems as a last resort. 


These are just a few options to consider for homeowners who want a fireplace installed but don’t have access to a chimney. Whichever route you decide to go, be sure to find an experienced and skilled installation team to get the job done properly.


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. 

Fireplace relining & chimney repair in College Park, MD

Maryland fireplace reline and chimney repair

The project required repairs to the wood fireplace and the chimney.  The fireplace repairs were minor compared to the chimney.  However, there was a significant difference between the appearance of the fireplace before and after repairs.  The chimney work included installing a new crown and new flue liners. 

Part 1 – Installing custom steel arch plate fireplace door

before fireplace door repairBefore replacing screen and andirons

after fireplace door repairAfter installing arch plate fireplace door. 

 We removed the old fireplace screens and andirons and installed a custom steel arch plate fireplace door. The new hardware gave the fireplace a more modern look. 

 Part 2 – Floating cast concrete crown installation 

before floating cast crown installation

Before floating cast crown installation

floating cast crown installation

After floating cast crown installation

 The old crown was deteriorating and falling apart. We knew this job required a crown similar to what we installed in a previous repair project in Ellicott City, MD.  We rebuilt it with a new floating cast concrete crown. Which is 5″-6″ thick, sits on a stainless steel sheet, reinforced with mesh, has PWR waterproofing powder added to the concrete mix to waterproof it and has an expansion joint around the flue liners. You can learn more about float cast concrete crowns here. 

Part 3 Install Chimney Flue Liner

cracked chimney flue liner
cracked chimney flue liner

Before chimney liner repair


chamber tech 2000 chimney liner repairAfter chimney liner repair

The flue liners for the fireplaces were cracked and shifted and needed to be relined.  The new stainless steel lining systems were installed and we sealed the bottom of the liners with Chamber Tech 2000. The smoke chamber for both fireplaces we built properly and had a smooth transition leading up to the flue liner so all we had to do was seal the bottoms of the liners. We also installed 2 Lock Top II dampers for the fireplaces.

The Finished Chimney and Fireplace Project

completed floating cast chimney installation

after chimney flue liner repair

This is the completed before and after pictures. The most noticeable difference is the new floating cast concrete crown. This chimney will outlast any other chimney in this neighborhood simply because of how the crown was rebuilt. It will protect the masonry below it for years to come.


Chimney leak repair. Others failed. We Fixed It!

On May 18th, 2016 I went to Mrs. Irshad’s home in Silver Spring, MD to give her an estimate to fix a brick chimney that was leaking.  Her wood burning fireplace was working fine.  However, the brick chimney was leaking.  Before my visit, she had two other companies attempt to repair the chimney who were unsuccessful.  As she tried to contact the other companies to tell them that the chimney was still leaking, they brushed her off and never came back to address her issues.  As a result, she had paid for repairs and her chimney still leaks every time it rains.  When I arrived that day, she was very skeptical and didn’t think I would be able to help her, and I don’t blame her for feeling that since two other companies burned her before my visit. This job reminded me of a chimney repair job that we did in Potomac, MD earlier this year. 

After introducing myself I asked where the leak was coming in, and she showed me that the water would leak in her garage from the ceiling. Then I asked what the previous companies had done to try to fix the problem and let me just say that some people have no business doing this type of work. I feel bad for Mrs. Irshad because she spent her money with these companies to fix a problem and once they got paid to do the repairs which weren’t even proper fixes they never came back to help her address the leak.

The first thing I did to evaluate the leak was pulling out my hose and perform a water test on the flashing. I was already pretty sure that the flashing was the issue based on where the leak was coming from.  Leaking flashing is one of the common causes of chimney leaks. Based on the water test I was able to confirm that the leak was coming from the flashing. At that point I was 100% confident that the job required chimney flashing repair.  This also reassured Mrs. Irshad that the flashing was indeed the source of the problem and made her feel a lot more comfortable about the repairs I recommended. Here are some pictures of the job from start to finish. 

This is during the site visit where I water tested the flashing and found out it was the source of the leak. 

leaking chimney flashing

The other companies tried to fix the problem by applying silicone over the old seals on the counter flashing. 

bad chimney repair job

They also decided to put painters tape on the roof and siding and tar over it. This is just a horrible attempt at fixing the problem. It shows that this person had no idea what he was doing. The issue was actually where the arrow is, for some reason it was missing flashing in that area.  

missing chimney flashing

Once I removed the tar and blue tape, I found that the inside corner was missing flashing.  The customer told me that when they applied the tar, it slowed the leak down a little bit which makes sense since it was missing flashing. 

tar paper and base flashing installed on chimney

We removed the shingles and both the counter and base flashing. We then installed tar paper and new base flashing and shingles. 

base flashing and shingles installed

Here we have the base flashing and shingles installed. 

after chimney leak repair

This is the finished product we installed the counter flashing into the mortar joints and then sealed it. We’ve had some heavy rains since the repairs were made and Mrs. Irshad has had no leaks since!

Recent Fireplace Installation Germantown, MD

 In this article, we will review a recent wood burning fireplace installation in Gaithersburg, Maryland by All Pro Chimney Service.  All Pro Chimney is headquartered in Silver Spring, MD.

The fireplace problem: The home had an old, outdated fireplace.  The homeowner wanted to find a cost-effective way to replace the fireplace as part of their plans to renovate the room.  

The fireplace solution:  Install a prefabricated fireplace.  Prefabricated wood burning fireplaces are metal fireplaces that are prebuilt and assembled on site. They cost less than a masonry fireplace, and the fireplace installation can typically be done in a day. 

This was the original fireplace when we first came out for the site visit for the estimate.   At this point, we took measurements and notes to provide an accurate estimate and go over any potential issues with the customer.   For this particular job the homeowners originally wanted to remove the fireplace, open up the chase and install a wood stove with a stone veneer lining the chase walls. Unfortunately, the chase was too small and did not meet the clearances required for the wood stove, so they opted to install another prefabricated wood burning fireplace. 

old fireplace replacement gaithersburg, md

All projects start with setting up drop cloths for the demo/removal of the old fireplace. We make sure that the only thing left behind is a beautiful new fireplace. No dust, no mess, no problem.

Gaithersburg, MD fireplace installation

When we removed the original fireplace, we wanted to minimize the amount of drywall that we cut out.  Doing so helps keep the area clean and shorten installation time.  


Silver Spring, MD fireplace installation

Once we removed the fireplace, we noticed that the chase was not insulated at all.  This will cause the area around the fireplace to be very drafty.  We often get chimney repair calls about cold air coming from or around a fireplace, and this is the main reason why.  Older homes may not have any installation.  On newer homes we will find that the chase has been insulated but the insulation was not closed off or sealed which will still cause it to be drafty.  Insulation is a standard part of our fireplace installation.  


insulate fireplace chase silver spring, md
In step 1 of the insulation, we installed R15 to insulate the chase.

fireplace chase insulation silver spring, md

In step 2 of the insulation process, we installed Thermo-ply to close off the insulation to further prevent drafts from coming through. 

We then installed the chimney air kit.  This kit allows the outside air which is used to cool off the chimney to go back outside instead of staying in the chase which can make the area around the fireplace colder when it’s not in use.  

fireplace air intake

We were sure to install a fireplace that included an outside air intake. This typically would be utilized if the fireplace was to be operated with the doors closed.  The customer opted not to have fireplace doors.  However, the outside air intake is still required for the installation in case the customer wanted to install doors at a later date.  This is also important because If the house is well insulated there may not be enough air to establish a good draft.  Installing this outside air supply prevents that problem.  

fireplace frame germantown, md

Once the fireplace, chimney air kit, air intake and chimney sections were in place, we finished framing up around it. *Note- the metal strip underneath the fireplace is the protective hearth strip which is there to keep embers off the combustible floor if an ember manages to fall in between the fireplace and hearth extension. 

fireplace drywall

Drywall was installed to close up around the fireplace.   Also, when we first came out the original hearth extension was removed so we build a new raised hearth extension. 

chimney atttic fire-stop

This is the chimney passing through the attic fire-stop. After the chimney was run up, we installed the attic insulation shield and insulated around the chimney to prevent cold air from coming into the chase. 

fireplace combustable clearance

 Once the chimney is installed we double checked and took pictures of the clearances to combustibles. This chimney required a minimum of 2″ from combustibles, and we have plenty of additional clearance space.  Safety is a top priority for any fireplace installation.  

fireplace installation silver spring, md

We installed new trim to match what was currently there.  We also installed a new slate hearth extension, new surround, and mantel shelf. The wanted to paint it themselves.  

old fireplace silver spring Maryland

(note: homeowner decided to do their own painting)
fireplace installation silver spring, md