There is an old saying: home is where the hearth is. For someone living in a warm climate, this probably doesn’t ring true, but if winters are cold in your part of the world, a cosy fireplace can make a huge difference to a home. As a result, it is not surprising that real fires, log burners and multi fuel stoves are experiencing a boost in popularity. But is adding a new fireplace really worth the expense?
When gas first became available to the masses, millions of homeowners blocked up their traditional fireplaces and installed modern gas instead. This type of fire was viewed as modern and convenient, with heat available at the flick of a switch. House-proud home owners didn’t want the hassle of lighting a fire or cleaning out the hearth every morning. They preferred their white shag pile carpets to stay white.
The Lure of an Open Fire
Despite the seductive attraction of gas fires, over the last few years homeowners have come to realise that nothing beats the wonderful glow of an open fire. Sales of open fires have shot up as buyers come to realise that adding a fireplace brings character and lasting appeal to a property, and can also increase the resale price of a home. Fireplaces are also a good source of heat, particularly during power outages, which happen with depressing regularity in some parts of the country.
Choose the Right Fireplace
If you are not already blessed with a beautiful period fireplace, buying the right one is important. It is not a good idea to rip out a period fireplace without taking advice. More often than not, the fireplace currently in situ is the best one for your property, even if it is thoroughly jaded thanks to multiple layers of garish paint or varnish. You may also be able to trade in an existing fireplace for a new one.
Where there is a chimney but no existing fireplace, you have two choices: build a new fireplace complete with a hearth, or buy a period fireplace in keeping with the property. Restored fireplaces can be bought from restoration companies and specialist suppliers such as Thornhill Galleries. Period fireplaces don’t necessarily need to cost a fortune, so if you do live in a period property, it is better to go for a more authentic fireplace than risk ruining the look of your home. Alternatively, look at a reproduction fireplace: these are available from a variety of different places.
Inexpensive fireplaces can be bought from leading DIY stores and are a good choice for modern homes. These are typically fixed to the chimney breast using screws. More expensive marble or stone fireplaces have to be installed by experts, as these are a lot heavier, but they are more suitable for period properties. You can also pay extra for a bespoke fireplace if you want to create the ‘wow’ factor in your home.
Fireplaces not only add the ‘wow’ factor to a home – they also add value. Some agents think that a beautiful fireplace can add as much as 5% to the overall value, as they are a real selling point for many buyers.