Cost of fireplace?

TammyTEOctober 27, 2012

Can anyone tell me how much it might cost to have a woodburning fireplace included in a new home? Even a woodstove if that might be cheaper.

Is it possible to include things in the original build to make it more cost efficient to add later?


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Beth Parsons

Prices vary depending on region but we just had a 44" woodburning insert plus 33' of chimney and cap/flashing installed for under $2,000. Finish details such as the surround (we're doing all brick with a raised hearth) mantle and chimney exterior is an additional cost.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our insert

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 11:00PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

It depends on if you want to do a masonry chimney or a double walled pipe with a surround of some sort. If you do put in a masonry chimney it needs a foundation...a wood stove will need extra support underneath if it isn't on slab. I don't think a gas fireplace will need that...not familiar with a wood firebox and how heavy it is.

Generally wood stoves are cheaper and far more energy efficient....fireplaces are a net energy loss in general as they suck more air (which gets replaced with cold air from outside the house) and more heat goes up the chimney. And they need glass doors to keep the heated air in the house from going up the chimney when not in use. A wood stove parks the heat directly in the room so all the heat radiating off the stove stays in the house. They also use far less air to burn the fuel so the air sucked into the fire from outside is significantly less than that of a fireplace. Because of how they burn the wood, you get a lot more heat out of the same quantity of wood with a stove vs. fireplace. Ours has glass doors so you still get to enjoy the fire while it's burning.

If you want the look of a fire and heat and the ease of remote control starting, go with a gas fireplace....nothing to split or tote or ashes to clean and bits to sweep either.

We went with a gas fireplace for looks:

and the wood stove for heat and comfort...nothing like a wood fire to take the chill off a rainy day.

We looked at both Jotul (pronounced YO-dull) and Vermont Castings....both are very good stoves....but we went with Jotul.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 7:38AM
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Would it be a masonry fireplace or a factory built zero-clearance fireplace? What size opening? Height of chimney? Slope and location of chimney above the roof, enclosure of chimney termination, mantel, hearth, outside air supply, etc.?

A wood-burning stove could have a masonry chimney or a factory built metal chimney with different treatments above the roof. The price would depend on the kind of stove and the treatment of the walls and floor.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 7:41AM
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Thanks everyone. I didn't have a clue about most of what you mentioned/asked. I'm pretty sure if we would go this route it would be for more practical purposes (heating during a power outage) than for looks. Although I do like the look of a stove. We would like it to be cost effective but still look decent. I'm not worried about a huge stone chimney (though they ARE beautiful!) but don't want it to look like an afterthought either.

So it sounds like we would need to make sure we have good support in the floor from the beginning. Is there anything else we could do during the building process that would save us a bunch later if/when we add the wood stove?

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 1:43PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

If you want to plan to put one in, plan on the space a double wall pipe will take and make sure where you want to put the stove isn't squarely under a beam in the floors or attic above. It's better to have the woodstove on an interior wall, but you can put it on an outside wall as well. Also think about where you want to store wood and how far away it is. Make sure that the stove is in a large enough space in the house so that there is sufficient cubic footage of air (the amount of cubic footage of space to which there are no closable doors) to support the stove...otherwise you may need to provide outside air to the stove.

You might want to give some consideration to flooring as well. You typically need at least 18" of non combustible materials in front of the front door of the stove, so you will need some kind of stone or porcelain think about height differences as well. We had the mason bevel the edge of our woodstove pad so you won't bang your toe on the edge....

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 3:04PM
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A wood stove needs no additional support but unless you want the noncombustible floor surface under it to be raised you would need to lower the framing in that area now. It would probably be cheaper to install the non-combustible flooring now rather than later.

The same goes for the non-combustible wall behind the stove and you would need space above for the chimney so you would need to know the size of it.

In general, the only savings would be the wood stove itself; the rest of it would be much more costly to install later.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 3:10PM
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Thanks! This is helpful.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 3:48PM
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I researched this same thing a few weeks ago. I needed to know the weight of the unit so that my builder could ramp up the foundation for it. We chose a pre-fab fireplace box. We are going with FMI. We looked at 2 models, the Georgian and the Portofino. They have an option with sides that are either masonry or masonry look. They come in 36", 42" or 50" widths.

36" Faux brick 30" tall Mfg sug. $1300 Weight 494#
36" Real brick 30" tall Mfg sug. $3250 Weight 520#

36" Faux brick 30" tall Mfg Sug. $1679 Weight 520#
36" Real brick 30" tall Mfg Sug. $3600 Weight 572#

36" Faux only 21" tall Mfg Sug. $1000
42" 24" tall Mfg Sug. $1200

The above data comes from my notes and is subject to error. Please do your own research and don't take my word for it.

I was confused by all my choices and what the differences were between one model and another so I called the company. The engineer spent a lot of time discussing the benefits and features of each.

I am working with a fireplace store. This was the wood-burning brand they suggested. We'll use their installer. Don't forget to check with your local codes as far as distance from combustible materials, how high over the roof the venting needs to be, etc. The costs reflected are the unit only and don't include venting materials, framing, non-combustible materials to surround it, or labor.

I've narrowed it down to the Portofino. We will be using it on the screen porch. The Portofino and Tuscan are for outdoor use since they are stainless steel. The Portofino has an ash drawer for easy ash removal.

There are a lot of brands available. I'm just sharing my recent research.

Here is a link that might be useful: FMI Woodburning Fireplaces

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 1:45PM
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I built my home 6 years ago, and I also bought the FMI Goegian masonary FP. I love it. I also plumbed it for gas, but I use it as a wood burner. I got the big one, because I like big fires. It has a metal, probably galvanized steel, chimmeny. No need for extra support, or a concrete slab. The only complaint I have is that the stock log grate is made out of too small gauge of metal, and mine melted after two seasons. I had to go onto Craigslist to find a heavy duty one. Like I said, I like big fires.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 1:59PM
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You said you want it for practical use; i.e., in case of a power outage. If ALL you want is a back-up heat source, you would come out cheapest by buying a small kerosene heater that you can store in the garage and pull out on the rare occasions that you lose power. You can have a really good one for $200.

We have such a heater in our shed (it's a Toyoset and it's about the size of a small fireplace insert), and it's come to our rescue a couple times during power outages. If we shut the doors to contain the heat, it can heat our 14x24 family room in short order, and kerosene is cheaper /easier to obtain than wood. Our fireplace can't even come close.

What AnnieD says is true. You lose more heat through an open fireplace than you gain in heat to the room. You have an open fireplace for ambiance, not for practical heat. Glass doors, blowers, etc. do make a difference, but you'd still get more heat from that kerosene heater.

Regardless, I wouldn't build a house (in this area) without a fireplace. It's an expectation in this area -- a house without a fireplace would be considered "low class" and MANY buyers would not even look at the house. Even if resale didn't matter to me, I wouldn't leave out a fireplace. In my mind, it's one of those must-haves, just like a second bathroom. Having grown up in a place where every middle class house has at least one fireplace, if I couldn't afford to build a fireplace, I'd say I couldn't afford to build a house. In contrast, my husband is from the coast, and only the most luxurious homes in that area have fireplaces, so he doesn't feel the same way.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 9:46PM
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Use whatever you want as a backup heater but if you recommend to someone that they use a kerosene heater indoors you should also direct them to information regarding how to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, asphyxiation or respiratory problems from other pollutants so they can make a responsible decision for their family. Portable kerosene heaters are illegal for use in a home in many communities and states.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 7:27AM
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The safest and most flexible backup in case of loss of power is a generator wired to a sub-panel, powering key equipment including heating, needed appliances and exits for the house. This will provide for power, heating, lighting and opportunity for small appliances, such as a microwave and TV.

A mobile phone can provide backup for the house line if needed.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 9:11PM
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A house line... what is that?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 10:37PM
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Thanks all. Some homes have fireplaces around here but it's not a big deal either way. Interesting how that differs from place to place. :)

We do have a generator, so that's good!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 10:42PM
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A house line... what is that?

What some of us in NC use in order to have internet.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 8:21PM
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