|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
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
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
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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