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Faux Fireplace

Have you always wanted a fireplace in your home, but can’t afford thousands of dollars to do it? You can build your own non-working decorative fireplace for a fraction of the cost that will add warmth and style to your home. Home stores also now have faux fireplaces ready made if you do not have the time or inclination to attempt this project. This article will give you some ideas and a basic plan, but you will need to figure out sizes and measurements yourself.

There are countless ways to build a faux fireplace. You need to figure out what works for you and begin. First of all, do you want it attached to the wall or would you like a free standing one that you can take with you when you move? Determine the height and width you want for your fireplace. If you have a smaller room, you will need a fireplace that doesn’t overpower the room. What materials do you like? Your options are :

Wood: This may be a good idea if you have no experience in construction. Home centers have prefinished molding and mantels that make it easy to build a great fireplace. This molding can be stained or painted. Even if you are using other materials, consider buying a prefinished wood mantel. These mantels are made of crown molding and are cut precisely. If you are not an expert at making diagonal cuts, don’t even try it yourself. You can save yourself some money if you have some experience in woodworking by cutting the crown molding yourself and just buying a 1 or 2x12” board for the top.

Tile: You will have to build a wooden ¾” plywood base for this, but you can create a lovely tile fireplace or just use tile around the firebox with a wooden mantel.

Cultured brick: You can buy cultured brick that is only about 3/8 inch thick and your fireplace will look like the real thing. This is a little bit of a mess because you will be using mortar for grout and installation, but the results are great. You will need a ¾” plywood wall base for this. Follow the instructions for the cultured brick installation. Be sure to order corner pieces for a custom look.

Cultured Stone: This is much heavier than the brick and should only be used on a secured frame. This stone is about 2” thick and is fairly expensive, but it looks absolutely real. The stone will come with installation instructions.

Sheetrock: You can use sheetrock as a base and either paint or plaster over it for a clean look. Tile or wood molding can be added around the firebox, or leave it plain for modern lines.

Framing: Decide if you want a free standing or built in fireplace. For a freestanding fireplace, be sure the base is deep enough so it doesn’t tip over with the weight of you finishing materials. You may want to build it about 16” deep or 12” deep and attach a front step hearth to it for balance. If you are building the fireplace into your wall, determining wall location and the size you want your fireplace to be. Remember when you are building the frame, you will have to allow room for your 2x4 side braces, plywood, and finishing materials so make your frame smaller to allow for those materials. Mark the center and measure an equal distance on either side. Mark your wall studs and use them as a framing base. You can begin by nailing 2x4’s turned on their side (widest side against the wall) and build your box off of that frame. If you have molding that you don’t want to remove, place the 2x4 right up to the bottom of the molding and cut out to allow for the molding when you attach the plywood sides. You probably want your fireplace to be about 12” deep and your firebox to be at least 3 feet wide by 2 ½ feet high. Draw out exactly what you want before you begin and figure materials accordingly. We are not giving out exact measurements because that will vary according to your wants. You can either build 2 side cabinets with the mantel on top or build a square base with a cutout for the firebox.

Firebox: You can buy fake logs or even electric logs for your firebox insert, but you may also just use real logs or candles for a decorative touch. If you decide to go with the electric logs, be sure to have access to an outlet when you build your base.

Corner fireplaces are cozy and you don’t have to make a box frame. The advantage to this type of fireplace is you don’t have to worry about finishing corners. The materials but right up against the wall.


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