Most homeowners want the benefit of having a fireplace without the extra hassle. That is where an electric fireplace is a perfect solution. It has the look of a real fireplace without the added cost. Modern electric units even have a flame display that looks realistic.
Some homeowners want a more finished look to their fireplace. While the electric unit can provide heat and flames like a wood one, it can seem out of place. People complain that an electric fireplace model can look cheap or not real. If the unit is built into a frame, it can look as real as a wood burning unit. Fireplaces today can be customized with a few steps to give it that more build in look.
Achieving a Customized Look
Both outdoor and indoor fireplaces can achieve a built-in look. There are certain materials that look better for certain units. For an outdoor unit, a stone facing may be more practical. Most indoor units are framed with either wood or stone. While the unit loses its portability, it does add a little more value with a built-in design.
Before building a frame, the unit needs to have enough ventilation. This is to avoid any fire hazards. The first step is to decide where to place the unit. Once a location has been decided, it will be hard to move it to another area. Remember to choose wisely. It should be near an electrical source as well. The fireplace should also be in an area that will not see much traffic. This reduces the chance of the unit getting tipped or damaged from daily use.
Building a Electric Fireplace Frame
Once a location has been chosen, it is time to build the frame. The frame is an important process in the building construction. If the unit is not properly attached to a wall, it could potentially be a tripping hazard. The fireplace needs to be as secure as possible. When the frame has been completed, it can be attached to the wall's studs. This guarantees that the weight of the fireplace will not pull it out from the wall.
Give a Little Dimension
The fireplace will need a second wall. This piece is actually just another frame. It is framed in the same matter as a window. This false wall should stick out approximately 8 inches from the wall. Once the second wall has been built, it needs to be attached to the frame. It is a critical step to secure this properly.
The customized fireplace starts to take shape once the wall and frame are in place. This is where a decision will have to be made. There are two types of exterior finishes for an electric fireplace. Some people decorate the fireplace with stone. There are others who prefer to use wood. It is the personal preference of the homeowner.
Adding a Stone Surround
When the frame and wall have been secured, it is time to add the drywall. The drywall must be primed, so the stonework will attach to the second wall. Once the primer has set, the stone can be tiled starting from the bottom and working up. The tiles will need to have a heavy mortar. This prevents the tiles from falling off the front of the fireplace. When they have completely dried, it is time to place the mantle on the top. It is another personal preference of the homeowner. Some people prefer wood, while others love stone. When that is complete, the fireplace will have a customized look.
Frame Out with Wood
Another choice for that built-in look is a wood frame. There are many designs available from the local hardware store. The purpose of this frame is to create a box around the unit. There are only a few steps for this method of building out a fireplace. Be sure to measure out the size of the electric fireplace unit. Once that is finished, a design may be sketched out. A table saw is used to cut out a few pieces of wood.
They can be attached with a nail gun or glue. Once that is set, remember to add support in the corners in the form of a metal bracket. The mantle is then added to the top of the box. Some homeowners even add wood trim to it for a more completed look. After it is assembled, the box can be painted or stained. The unit is now ready to be attached to the wall. For added support and safety, it needs to be attached to a wall.
Pre-Made Surround Options are Available
For those who are less handy or don't want the hassle to build a surround, pre-made surrounds are available. Some are already assembled from a store. Most kits do require some type of assembly at home though. The important part is to make sure a pre-made surround will fit the dimensions of the unit. It may take a little effort, but it is possible to get a finished look to an electric fireplace.
Local Companies Can Also Build in the Fireplace
For the most customized look, consider hiring a local company. Some companies specialize in electric fireplace construction both for wood burning and electric units. They will be happy to help customize a new look for the electric unit. This will guarantee that the work is completed in a safe and correct matter.
Electric fireplaces are a great addition to a home. They can look and feel like a wood burning unit. For those who want a built-in look, that is not a problem. Whether you want to tackle it as a do-it-yourself project or leave it to the professionals, your electric model can achieve a customized look.