Adding a Fireplace

Fireplaces Add to Home’s Charm and Salability

Who hasn’t pictured himself or herself snuggled up next to their “significant other” on a chilly winter’s evening, getting lost in the relaxing warmth and ambiance of a fireplace’s dancing flames and crackling sounds from burning logs. Or, perhaps, you’ve imagined your little ones racing downstairs to the living room, where surprise-filled stockings hanging on the fireplace mantel await their tiny eager hands. Or, maybe, you just get mesmerized watching the roaring flames wander every which way, as the day’s tensions dissolve right along with the burning wood logs.

Yes, there’s definitely something special about a fireplace that touches our inner core, often evoking feelings of nostalgia. There’s little doubt that having one (or more) in your home adds a quiet elegance, sophistication, and old-style charm that few other home features can claim.

And, although you may have not realized it, many homebuyers will expect a home to have a fireplace – even if the area in which you live isn’t known for its harsh winters. Southern California homebuyers, for example, almost always expect a home to feature one – they think in terms of: “no fireplace, no offer.” And, this is in a part of the country where it might actually be used only a few days out of the year. These buyers view it as a necessary element that can’t possibly be excluded – all of their friends have one in their homes, after all.

Also consider – adding a fireplace to your home will most likely benefit your bank account when you put your home on the market to sell – for those of you who aren’t planning to stay put for life. In fact, the National Association of Home Builders recommends the addition of a fireplace as one of the best home enhancements for giving you a great return-on-investment – to the tune of $12,000, roughly, or, according to other estimates, 10% additional in resale value for attractive, well-maintained ones. Many real estate experts also note that fireplaces are high on the list of desirable home features sought by homebuyers. Besides, think about the amount of enjoyment you and family will gain from it in the meantime.

So, if you’re seriously ready to add a fireplace to your home, you may be surprised to lean there is more than one option available – unlike in your grandparents’ heydays, when your choice was limited to the old-fashioned wood burning-chimney combo, relatively unchanged for centuries. Today’s choices reflect consumer’s demands concerning creativity, design, size, and functionality.

The most popular types of fireplaces available today basically are comprised within three categories. Your choice will depend on factors such as room size, personal needs and desires – for example, will it be used primarily for ambiance or for heating purposes — and, or course, budget. But, whichever you choose, you’re assured that it will help you realize a more profitable sale of your home later.

Consider these fireplace types:

1. Wood burning or Masonry: The traditional type of fireplace we’re all familiar with; uses bricks or stones as a building material; has a chimney and usually a mantel; perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing — the focal point of the room, and oftentimes, the home; uses a damper device to allow air in and smoke out; not as efficient of a heating source as other fireplace types – most of the heat radiates upward and ultimately, outside; higher maintenance – requires periodic cleaning – dark, sooty film eventually builds up on the stone or brickwork; more costly than other types – $10,000 or so is typical.

2. Gas: The most popular choice – most builders install this type of fireplace in new homes; uses ceramic logs (they don’t actually burn) to simulate real ones; visually appealing; low maintenance; flame action resemble wood burning flames; much less costly than its traditional counterpart – some units can be installed for around $1,000; some models are actually designed to effectively heat a room; can be installed within an exiting traditional type fireplace; some come with remote controls, complete with thermostats, oxygen depletion sensors, and carbon monoxide detectors, making them extra safe; uses natural gas or propane; more economical to operate than the traditional type; no extra space needed to store wood logs

3. Electric: A good option for condo or townhome owners, as they require little space; low maintenance; no venting system needed, some units provide realistic fire-like characteristics; some units provide heat, while other don’t; inexpensive – attractive units can be found for under $400

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