Considerations For Adding A Masonry Fireplace To An Existing Home

Construction & Contractors Blog

Ask most homeowners, and they will tell you nothing is warmer and cozier in winter than a wood-burning masonry fireplace. Sure, there are many less-expensive gas and electric alternatives on the market today, but nothing beats a crackling fire for ambiance!

If you've been wondering if it's possible to install a traditional wood-burning fireplace with a masonry chimney in your existing home, you'll be pleased to learn that, in most cases, you can!

However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind, including the following:

The Building Codes and Burn Restrictions in the Area

The primary consideration for installing new fireplaces is your local government and homeowner's association if you live within one.

Your new fireplace installation must meet all federal, state, and local building codes and regulations. And, if you live in a highly-regulated state, you may discover the government will not issue building permits for new wood-burning fireplaces due to air quality issues.

Your Budget for the Fireplace Addition Project

As you might imagine, adding a masonry chimney and wood-burning fireplace to an existing home is not an inexpensive proposition. You will need to hire a licensed building contractor, stone mason, and possibly others before the project is completed. 

In addition to professional and skilled labor costs, you will also need materials for the exterior masonry, interior fireplace surround, hearth, and mantle. The combination of all these things can easily equal the cost of buying a new car if you have expensive tastes.

It's also essential to mention adding a fireplace will not significantly add to the overall value of your home. Adding a fireplace is a project you should do for your family's enjoyment, not as a way to make more profit when selling in the future.

Adequate Space for Installing a Fireplace and Chimney

Adding a chimney and fireplace requires you have adequate space outdoors for the chimney and the safety buffer space around it required by building codes.

Just as important, there needs to be adequate indoor space somewhere you'd want to put a fireplace. 

For example, most add-on fireplaces are installed along exterior walls, with the chimney built outside just on the other side of the wall. However, installing a new fireplace may not be feasible if you can only put a chimney outside your kitchen or bathroom.

Available Yard Space for a Wood Pile

Finally, wood-burning fireplaces require lots of dry seasoned wood to burn. This means you need space on your property to store stacked wood. It's crucial this space be away from your home, as firewood piles are a fire hazard.

To learn more, contact a local fireplace contractor or visit their website such as


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