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What to Consider when Rebuilding a Fireplace

Updated on December 10, 2013

Rebuilding an existing fireplace can be a good way to add beauty, functionality and safety to your home. In some cases, your primary concern will be to fix the structure of the fireplace, especially if it has fallen into disrepair or if it currently doesn't meet modern building codes. However, in some cases you might want to rebuild a fireplace for primarily aesthetic reasons, such as when the style no longer matches the overall décor of your home, or if it seems outdated. Either way, there are some factors you should take into consideration before embarking on a fireplace rebuilding project.

What are Your Goals?

Understanding the primary objectives of the project is the best place to start. If you simply want to give your fireplace a fresh appearance, you might be able to accomplish your goal with a coat of paint. The addition of an updated mantel can also be a way of giving a whole new look to your fireplace. However, if you need to repair portions of the fireplace, or if you cannot currently use it because of safety issues, you need to clearly identify what needs to be done before you start. It's also important to balance what needs to be done against your budget. There are often numerous options for rebuilding a fireplace, some of which are more expensive than others. Once you clearly understand what you are trying to accomplish and what your options are, you'll be better prepared to begin.

Good Reasons to Rebuild a Fireplace

If safety or code issues exist, such as a firebox that is too close to combustible surfaces or if the flue is in need of relining, rebuilding the fireplace will probably be your best option. You should not burn a fire in any fireplace that has these kinds of issues. In some cases, the hearth may have fallen into disrepair, and as such is in need of rebuilding for the purpose of stability. In other cases, you might wish to improve the overall performance of a poorly designed fireplace. Sometimes simply restoring a fireplace to its original appearance is the most desirable method, especially if you already love the look. If one or more of these factors are your primary objective, rebuilding could be the answer. In this case, it is usually best, for safety and structural reasons, to call in a professional contractor. Obviously, repairing a fireplace takes more expertise than simply hanging kitchen metal wall décor or metal bikes wall art in your home.

When Rebuilding a Fireplace May Not be the Answer

Of course, there are also situations where rebuilding a fireplace may not be worth the time, effort or expense. If your fireplace was built to a previously safe code standard and is still in good repair, it might still be perfectly safe to use, even if the modern code has changed slightly. If you want to improve the appearance of your fireplace, this can frequently be accomplished without rebuilding it. For example, painting the brick or resurfacing the front with tile can be a relatively easy and inexpensive way of giving the entire room an updated look without the need for rebuilding. Additionally, rebuilding a fireplace is not always the only answer when there are performance issues. In some cases, you could find you’re your performance problems are caused by much simpler issues, such as a ventilation problem.

This article is written by Maria Harris, who writes for


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    • Maria Harris profile image

      Maria Harris 7 years ago from Houston

      Hi Whitton --- I agree that rebuilding a fireplace can really make a difference in the appearance of a room. Thanks for reading.

    • whitton profile image

      whitton 7 years ago

      Great Hub and good choice on photos. Rebuilding a new fireplace is a great option to update the look and feel of your home.