When selling a home, it is best to increase the value as much as possible before doing so. There are many ways of successfully accomplishing this, such as ridding the place of mold, replacing warped floorboards, changing the floor plan, and so on. One aspect that has always been important when buying or selling a house is the fireplace.
New homes can benefit from a fireplace. If you add a fireplace and try to sell your home, the fireplace could increase your home value by 6-12%. More than 75% of homebuyers look for a fireplace and consider it their most desirable feature above all else.
Fireplaces can be an enticing addition to the house you are trying to buy or sell, but what are the pros and cons of adding a fireplace? Is it really worth it overall, even the costs and labor? What types of fireplaces exist, and what types of other options are there? Read on to learn more about the undeniable value of fireplaces in new homes.
Pros of Fireplaces in New Homes
It is true that fireplaces add warmth to the room that they reside and that that is their primary goal. Having a fireplace in any room during the brisk winter can make one feel physically warmer than without it.
However, pure warmth is not the only way people use fireplaces in their homes. These uses include:
- Focal point
- Save money
If you want to add comfort and a welcoming ambiance to a room in your home, adding a fireplace might just be the best way to do just that. The presence alone of a fireplace can be more inviting than the same room without one. It creates a cozy, warm, and homey feel to any space, which is what most homebuyers want from their new home.
During any holiday, one can also decorate their fireplace with the appropriate tchotchkes. This can further warm the soul and heart, making you feel truly at home.
When a person envisions a welcoming and “homey” home, they most often envision a fireplace there. To have a crackling, hot fire nearby while one cuddles up in their warm bed or on their sofa is the epitome of comfort for many people.
For guests as well, simply walking into a friend or family member’s home can instantly make them feel more at ease in a place that has a therapeutic and inviting fire.
A Room’s Focal Point
Having a fireplace in any room automatically makes it the focal point of the space. Whether it is located in the den, living room, bedroom, or even the bathroom, the fireplace instantly becomes the main attention-grabber.
When a room desperately feels like it is aesthetically lacking, a fireplace might just be what the doctor ordered. It truly pulls a room together and makes anyone feel instantly more relaxed in its presence.
A fireplace can be compared to a centerpiece for a table: it is the center of attention for a home or the room it is in. A fireplace can tie an entire room or house together, making it more quaint and aesthetically pleasing.
Memory Holder and Displayer
If you look at nearly anyone’s home that has a fireplace that has a mantle, you will notice they have their family and friend’s photos on display. Fireplaces are the perfect place to hold anyone’s photo albums and picture frames, then show anyone looking.
Not only can it hold photos, but it can hold all different types of mementos, anything your heart desires:
Whenever you or someone looks at the fireplace, which is easy to do as it is the focal point of any room, you can be instantly reminded of specific memories.
What better place is there in a home that can hold your family’s photos, mementos, souvenirs, and overall memories? Fireplaces have become the best place to showcase a homeowner’s life.
Add Value to Your Home
Adding a fireplace to your home can be advantageous for you when you live there, but what about when you sell it?
As mentioned above, this addition can boost your house’s overall price by six to 12 percent. This is a nice chunk of change, which means that you will likely get 100 percent back on your fireplace purchase upon sale.
Warm a Normally Frigid or Drafty Room
Historically, a fireplace’s main purpose is to warm the home, but with electric heating systems built in every home nowadays, this is not its only purpose. However, fireplaces can still warm up rooms.
If there is one room in your house that is always colder than the other rooms, a fireplace can change that around with very little effort. Other options to heat a colder room or space, such as a space heater or even the heating system in the house, can be too expensive over time as well.
Rooms that are more difficult to heat can be warmed up with ease using a fireplace. These commonly cold, drafty rooms can include:
- Finished attics
- Corner rooms
Simply putting a fireplace into a room that is drafty or brisk can heat it up in no time—and save you money in the long run.
A Money Saver
Many will argue that getting a fireplace in their home can be expensive due to the upkeep and even the installation (if it does not come with the home). However, these people are failing to note the long-term money that can be saved.
A fireplace, which usually only requires wood and some upkeep, can save a homeowner money. Other heating options can simply rack up the heating bills. However, a fireplace, especially a traditional or wood-burning one, will not add anything to your electric bill.
Cons of Fireplaces
A fireplace may seem like a perfectly attractive appliance, but like any other important feature in a new home, there are still notable reasons for not having it in your house.
Pricey and Difficult to Manage
It can be expensive, difficult, and timely to add a fireplace to an already built home. Fireplaces require a good amount of cleaning, both inside and outside.
Rooms in which fireplaces reside need a good deal of cleaning due to soot and ash, whether it is the area right in front of the fireplace or even the floor or wall on the opposite side.
It is not only the issue of cleaning the room or even the inside of it where the wood typically goes. Homeowners with fireplaces need to hire a chimney sweep at least once a year to clean the entire fireplace and chimney properly. That, and it needs to pass an inspection as well.
Requires a Certain Amount of Space
It is both unsafe and impractical to place a fireplace in a room or part of a home that is small.
If the space is too small, it can increase fire damage, carbon monoxide inhalation, and many other issues.
Increased Risk of Home Damage
As one might imagine, having an open flame in any building increases the risk of internal and external damage, but also the potential for injury and even death. Even the most careful of homeowners with fireplaces can slip up.
From 2014 to 2018, firefighters in the United States responded to an average of 48,530 house fires, which were caused by heating equipment in the homes. These particular fires resulted in about 500 deaths.
Therefore, having a fireplace in your new home can increase the risk of irreparable damage, both in your home and family.
Do Fireplaces Increase Home Value?
Fireplaces most certainly do increase a home’s value. When adding a fireplace to your home, the installation price at first might be daunting. However, upon selling your house, you will undoubtedly feel far better about spending that money.
The first point worth noting is that you will likely receive 100 percent of what you spent on it in the first place. As fireplaces are extremely desirable, having one in your home will only increase the value of your home. You will get back your original investment and maybe more.
The second point is that you will also increase your home’s value by anywhere between 6-12 percent, as mentioned above in this article. Considering more than 75 percent of homebuyers want a fireplace in their home, it is a sure “fire” bet this would be an excellent addition in nearly any home.
Can You Place a Fireplace in a House that Does Not Have One Yet?
You absolutely can place a fireplace in a new house that happens to be missing this asset. However, it is worth noting that some fireplaces might be easier and more cost-efficient than others to install. On top of this, there are some legal concerns and even permits one might need to research and obtain beforehand.
If you are planning on installing or changing a fireplace or heating system in your home, you will need to get acquainted with the legality of your installation or upgrade. Zoning and building codes are something one really needs to look into before installing or changing his or her fireplace.
Before making any changes or additions to your home, you need to make sure that they are in compliance with the zoning and building codes. Some things to consider are building clearances, limits to the emissions of fireplaces, and others.
To be sure that you are in compliance with zoning and other laws, contact your local zoning office, city hall, or town hall.
Alterations and installations of fireplaces not only require attention to the zoning and building codes, in terms of fireplaces require a permit.
Getting the appropriate permits is an important part of the process for any new fireplace or fireplace alteration. You will need a permit for the following:
- Installing any new heating system
- Adding a fireplace insert
- Adding or changing a gas line, which may be necessary for a new gas-fueled fireplace
To obtain the correct permits to continue your construction, you should talk with whoever is installing or altering your fireplace. They should be up to date with the permit application procedure and should also take care of these concerns.
Types of Fireplaces
Fireplaces have changed in recent times for a plethora of reasons, such as being more cost-effective, cleaner, and energy-efficient. There are several options available for fireplaces now:
- Wood-burning fireplaces: prefabricated and masonry
- Gas fireplaces
- Electric fireplaces
- Ethanol fireplaces
- Outdoor fireplaces
Differences Between the Types of Fireplaces
The wood-burning fireplace may be the most classic of the fireplaces, but there are other types of fireplaces worth noting as well. All of these have their own advantages and disadvantages depending on the homeowner.
Prefabricated wood-burning fireplaces are those that are built off-site, then installed into the house after passing a series of inspection-like tests. Masonry fireplaces, on the other hand, are built into the house while the house itself is being built.
Gas fireplaces use propane or natural gas to fuel a fire instead of wood. It turns on at the flip of a switch instead of needing other materials, like kindling, wood, and pokers, or other hassles, like cleaning soot and ash.
Because of the lack of soot and ash that a wood-burning fireplace would typically have, this fireplace is one of the cleanest options and easiest to maintain. Plus, it is one of the most efficiently-operating options.
Electric fireplaces are run with electricity, which makes them both cost and energy-efficient. This fireplace takes in cool air, heats it up with its coals, then spews out hot air into the room it is in. On top of that, their flames are always contained, unlike wood-burning or other fireplaces, making these the safest option of all.
These also do not require any installation in most cases, so these can be placed anywhere you see fit. As long as there is an outlet, then you can easily set up your electric fireplace there and enjoy its company.
These fireplaces do not require a chimney but still have a very real flame. These run on ethanol, a type of fuel, which is placed in a container, then lit. This is one of the most eco-friendly options available in terms of fireplaces. Plus, there are no vents or chimneys necessary for its function.
Outdoor fireplaces are a hot commodity as of late and for good reasons. It keeps your house untouched while having a comfortable and inviting space outdoors. It also creates a warm and cozy space no matter the season in a particular location on your lawn or elsewhere outside of your already cozy home.
There are a lot of positives to having an outdoor fireplace that is similar to indoor fireplaces, such as aesthetics and warmth, but there are other positives indoor fireplaces do not have. One such is the deterrence of bugs! Wood-burning fireplaces, in particular, tend to fight off mosquitos and other pesky insects.
Average Costs: Installation and Use
The price of adding a fireplace to your house can be daunting, but it does not happen to be if you get the right kind. Typically, the cost of a fireplace along with installation can range anywhere from $100 to $5,600. However, the overall cost greatly depends on the type of fireplace that you choose to install in your home.
As expensive as it may be to install a new fireplace in your home, it is important to also be aware of the price for using a fireplace.
If you are on a tight budget but still feel as if your new home needs a fireplace, the electric fireplace might be the best option for you. These cost anywhere between $100 to $2,200 but can cost $0 to $365 to install.
One of the biggest advantages electric fireplaces have to offer is that they do not cost much at all to use, even when all settings are set to their highest level. At that point, electric fireplaces cost 18 cents per hour with a 1,500 kilowatt-hour rate.
It gets even better: if you choose to put it on a lower heat setting, the hourly rate drops several cents. If you do the “flame-only” option, which is display-only and no heat is projected from the machine, then you will only be spending .003 to three cents per hour.
Prefabricated Wood-Burning Fireplaces
The installation of a prefabricated wood-burning fireplace comes next in line: $1,900 to $3,300. This price includes the chimney, which ranges from nine to 24 feet in height.
If you are looking for the authenticity of a wood-burning fireplace, but for less of the cost of a masonry fireplace, this may be your best option.
These types of fireplaces are mid-range in terms of the overall price. The installation of a gas fireplace ranges from $2,300 to $4,000. It is important to note, however, that if you need to install a new gas line, this will increase the price tag drastically.
- To run and use a fireplace that runs on natural gas, you would need to shell out around $0.70 per hour, which translates to around $60 per year.
- However, if you use a propane-burning fireplace, then it will cost you quite a bit more: a whopping $2.30 per hour.
Masonry fireplaces come out to being the most expensive option: $3,500 to $5,600. These are the most expensive options because masonry fireplaces are typically built into the structural design of the house and are more complicated.
When adding this type of fireplace to a new home is then going to require more parts and hard labor. On top of this, it is imperative to add a chimney, which is typically 12-feet high.
The price range for these particular fireplaces has a larger range than other fireplace options. These fireplaces typically cost $1,500 to $20,000.
This price depends on several factors. These fireplaces can be any of the aforementioned types: gas, wood-burning, masonry, ethanol, and even electric. The price depends on this, the size of it, and even its material.
Outdoor fireplaces tend to have more options available than indoor fireplaces, including the material. They can be made of brick, stone, and metal. On top of that, they can be nearly any size you want (in accordance with zoning laws and building codes, of course). What is there not to love?
Conventional Fireplace Alternatives
Naturally, not every home has a fireplace. There are plenty of reasons not to have one, from price issues to space restrictions. Luckily, people have been warming their homes without the use of a fireplace with many different types of options.
These will do in a pinch when you are unable to use a fireplace. However, it is best to include a fireplace in a new home if you are attempting to sell the home since fireplaces add so much value.
- Space heaters
- LED fireplaces
- Pellet-burning appliances
- Fireplace inserts
Electric Space Heaters
If you are looking for something to simply warm up your favorite space, then a portable electric space heater could be your best bet—these range in price from $15 to $150.
This differential depends on how big the heater is and the space you want to heat. It is portable and only needs an outlet to get the job done.
If you are looking for an option that both emits heat and creates a cozy environment during the winter instead of an actual fireplace, you may just benefit from an LED fireplace. LED fireplaces are compact and can be placed anywhere with an outlet.
These fireplaces start at $200 and up. Their prize, size, and portability make this option one of the most enticing for any homeowner without a fireplace.
Pellet stoves and other appliances are an excellent alternative to true fireplaces. They can be costly, ranging from around $1,700 to $3,000, but they burn pellets of wood instead of logs.
Because of this, they are more efficient in heat emission and higher combustion. More importantly, they even create far less air pollution.
Even though a lot of these appliances burn wood, some of them can even burn organic material. They can burn nuts, shells, corn kernels, and other materials that are more environmentally friendly.
If you already have a fireplace on hand but simply do not want to use it in its traditional sense, there are other options for you in place of using the fireplace itself, including:
- Gas logs
- Gas inserts
- Faux fireplace logs
Maybe you already have a fireplace but do not want to use it for several reasons. The cleaning, the effort, it has not been inspected, and so on.
Whatever the reason, there are backup plans available.
This is an excellent option if you are mainly looking for the aesthetic look of a fireplace, not so much of the heat. Gas logs are a bunch of fake logs, usually made of ceramic, that can be placed into your existing fireplace. There, they are heated and use your chimney to dispel most of the heat it produces.
This is a great budget option, as these are cheaper than the gas inserts, which are another great option for placing in an empty fireplace.
These are metal boxes that are then fitted into space, usually an already existing fireplace. It uses gas to heat up the area between the metal box and the fireplace, then expels the heat from there.
If a homeowner is looking for a cleaner and much more manageable option for their fireplace, then this makes for a great option. It also emits more heat into your home than the gas log option.
Faux Fireplace Logs
Placing fake fireplace logs into your empty fireplace could be an excellent alternative to the real thing. This product can emit real heat without the necessity for filthy and cumbersome wooden logs. These can be used as electric heaters with an aesthetically pleasing design.
These are relatively cheap and run anywhere from around $50-$700. However, not all fake logs emit heat. Some are only used for beautification and not for heat. Therefore, it is important to read the label of whichever fake fireplace logs you choose to buy.
It can be daunting to add a new appliance or part to your home. The cost, the labor, the added stress, and the strain of it all undeniably can be overwhelming. However, adding a fireplace does not have to be so intimidating.
Adding a fireplace can be more so advantageous than not. It can bring people together, both homeowners and guests. It can create a warm, welcoming, and cozy environment in the one place in the world that should be: your home.
Additionally, you have the added benefit of increasing your home’s value. If you did so choose to sell your home for another in the future, installing a fireplace in it could only boost its value in the long run.
Need More Help?
You can always ask us here at Fireplace Tips, but you should know the other resources available to you! Here are the resources we recommend.
- Chimney Safety Institute of North America (CSIA): The CSIA is your BEST resource for fireplace and chimney safety at home. They’re a non-profit governed by a volunteer board of directors dedicated to the education, training, and certification of chimney and industry related professionals.
- Self-Sufficiency and Off-Grid: If you’re like me and passionate about off-grid and self-sufficiency, see my number 1 resource—Abundance Plus. Check out their Frugal Homesteading Course on growing 90% of your own food. Get 7-days free and 10% off with the code: TYLER10