Fireplaces are a desirable position both among home owners and home buyers. They are practical and decorative, bringing both warmth and dignity to the house. The bad news is that if your home no longer has a built-in fireplace, adding one can be expensive.
Enter a free-standing fireplace: all the warmth and coziness of a built-in fireplace without the hassle and cost of installation.
Would a free-standing fireplace be a good addition to your home? Here is everything you need to know.
Why a free-standing fireplace?
A free-standing or independent fireplace is basically how it sounds. It is free-standing, so it doesn't have to be built into the house like a traditional fireplace. This can be attractive for homeowners who want to have a fireplace but don't have the budget to install it in the house because freestanding fireplaces usually cost less and don't require a large project.
If you want to have a fireplace in your home and you are considering a stand-alone one, think about what you want with a fireplace. Do you just want something that will help heat up your house, or do you need something that will add value to it? While having a built-in fireplace added to your home can be an expensive project, you also have the potential to see a return on that investment if you ever decide to sell your home. However, if having a fireplace is something you want to have for your own enjoyment, a cheaper, free-standing model may be a better solution.
While installation into a free-standing fireplace is much simpler than into a built-in fireplace, depending on what type of fireplace you get, some installation is required.
If your fireplace or stove needs ventilation, you must have a flue pipe installed. However, there are models available without venting or even electric models that do not require a chimney.
You also have more possibilities to choose where to place your fireplace if you go with a free-standing fireplace. This means that you can optimise the heat output of your fireplace by placing it in a central position so that the heat can radiate in all directions.
If you want to have a fireplace installed in your home, but don't want to undertake a major conversion project, a free-standing fireplace will probably be better suited to your needs.
According to HouseLogic.com, having a built-in fireplace added to your house can cost up to $10,000. Meanwhile, according to HomeAdvisor.com, wood-burning stoves can cost between $3,000 and $4,000, including installation. Other types of free-standing appliances can cost even less, depending on the installation required.
When it comes to the types of free-standing fireplaces available, you have three basic choices: wood, gas and electric. Some of these types will need to be vented, others will not.
Wood-burning stoves always need a ventilation system, so if you choose a wood-burning stove, remember to take into account the cost of installing the chimney pipe. Some types of gas fireplaces may also require ventilation. If you don't want to have trouble installing the pipe, you can consider a gas fireplace without a vent that does not need to be vented outdoors. There is, however, some discussion about the safety of these types of fireplaces, so before you buy, make sure that you have carried out tests and learned how to use the appliance properly so as not to pose any safety risk to your home.
For any type of gas fireplace, it should be connected to a gas line, so you should consider the cost of installing the gas line or adding a new line as part of the total cost.
The least maintained and generally the cheapest option is a free-standing electric fireplace that generates heat using electricity rather than burning. They are easy to install, easy to operate and require little maintenance. However, they do not provide as much heat as other types of fireplaces. They can also be quite expensive if you want a high class, stylish model.
That's where the built-in fireplace goes forward. There is simply no comparison between a classic built-in fireplace and a free-standing model in terms of the aesthetic qualities they bring into the house. If you're not sure if a traditional fireplace will look the same, or if you're hoping to increase the value of your home, you'll probably have to bite the ball and incur the cost of installing a built-in fireplace.
However, this doesn't mean that you can't get a beautiful free-standing fireplace that will warm your home while complementing your decor.
If you want the atmosphere that comes to mind when you think about the fireplace, but are not ready to take on the cost and installation of the built-in, there are many models that are made to imitate the traditional look of a stone fireplace for a fraction of the price.
You're short of storage? Many free-standing electric fireplaces are equipped with attached shelves or cabinets, making them space-efficient. It's the perfect place to store all the books you like to roll up on fire.
A nice wood-burning fireplace can add a touch of class to any room. With a gas fireplace without a vent you can easily achieve this look.
Whether you like the old-fashioned look or just want to warm up your home, a wood-burning stove will keep you warm when it is cold outside. They are particularly useful if you live in an area that often loses power because they do not require electricity to operate.
Is it worth it?
Whether a free-standing fireplace is worth it or not comes down to what best suits your needs and budget. Although they may be cheaper, it is important to consider all options, as some of the higher quality free-standing fireplaces can still be quite an investment. You may end up getting more for your money by choosing a built-in fireplace when you consider the added value to your home.
You also have to think about what you want from the fireplace. If you need something that will provide you with a reliable source of heat, even when you run out of electricity, a wood-burning stove may be the best choice for you. On the other hand, if you want to have a classic coiling arrangement with a beautiful stone fireplace and you have the funds to do so, it might be worth thinking about building it into your home. After all, there is no right answer to this question. It's about what's best for you.
What do you prefer? Built-in or free-standing?