How to Install a Fireplace

By Staff WriterLast Updated Jun 24, 2020 6:48:30 PM ET
A living room fireplace
CC0/JamesDeMers/Pixabay

If you're planning to install a fireplace in your home, this undertaking requires intermediate to advanced carpentry skills and experience completing similar projects. It's critical to keep in mind the dangers that could arise from structural flaws in a fireplace unit due to improper installation. Unless you have the skills and experience to take on this home improvement project yourself, it's best to leave the job to the experts.

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However, if you're confident you're up to the task, handling this project yourself will significantly cut the cost of the installation. This guide to installing a fireplace outlines the step-by-step procedures to install gas type fireplaces. The processes are similar to the installation for other types but may have some differences. It also helps to recruit some experienced friends or family to help. You will also have to hire an expert at the appropriate time to install a pipe from the gas line to the fireplace.

Step 1: Determine the Exact Location for Your Fireplace

You may already have a general idea where you want your new fireplace, but you need to consider a few things. Ask yourself the following questions:

Will it be convenient for the plumber to install the gas pipes around the location of your fireplace? Side wall ventilation will work for gas fireplaces, but is it near a wall for the vent? Is the fireplace near an outlet in case the model also requires electricity? Will the location allow heat to radiate throughout the room optimally?

If necessary, adjust the location of your fireplace after answering these questions.

Step 2: Build a Stand-In Fireplace

If you've already purchased your fireplace unit, check its dimensions and create a mock-up using cardboard boxes or another simple material. Set it up as a stand-in to get an idea of how much space it will take up and the size in relation to the entire room. Check the installation instructions that came with the unit, as some fireplace systems require clearances between the unit and surrounding structures. If you're happy with what you see, you can begin the installation.

Step 3: Set the Fireplace in Position

If the manufacturer requires it, build a platform for the fireplace and then set the unit in place. Apply a high-temperature resistant sealant along the starting collar of the fireplace. Slide the first vent into the starting collar, and check the manufacturer's instructions to see if the attachment needs extra seal. Make sure you properly lock the vent into place.

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Step 4: Proceed with Building the Rest of the Vent

Start connecting the rest of the vents and work your way toward the wall where the exhaust will go. If you're satisfied with how the piping looks on its way to the wall, draw a chalk line around the piping to mark where you're going to cut your ventilation hole. Make sure there are no electrical lines, studs, furring or any other obstructions within the part of the wall where you're going to cut.

Step 5: Cut Out the Vent Hole

Move the fireplace and the vent you assembled out of the way. Cut a 12-inch square hole in the wall. If you can’t get around a wall stud, cut it out and add a double 2x6 header. Screw trimmers to the existing studs to support the header. Install both the interior and exterior firestops, as well as the vent termination. Complete the piping and then seal the gaps with high-temperature silicone caulk. Move the platform and fireplace back into position and connect the vent piping to the wall exhaust.

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Step 6: Hook Up the Fireplace

Hire a plumber to run the gas piping to the fireplace as well as an electrician if the unit has a fan and other electronics. You're now approaching the end of your fireplace installation project.

Step 7: Finish Up

Complete your fireplace installation by building the wall surrounds. Depending on your design, you can give it a mantle, column and any finish that suits your taste.