How to Enhance Your Home Interior With a Fireplace

With the enormous and ever increasing variety of fireplaces available today, homeowners are spoiled for choice when selecting fires for interior living spaces, whether restoring period features or creating a classic style in a modern house. Maintaining its position as the centerpiece in many homes, fireplaces have continued their popularity throughout the ages and both modern and traditional designs, in a range of finishes, play an ever important part in combining cozy warmth with style and eye appeal.

Assembly of a traditional wooden fireplace

Most wooden fire surrounds are made up of three components – Two legs and a mantel shelf. Before starting assembly, it is good practice to observe the following precautions:

  • Read through the manufacturers instructions.
  • Fit the surround on a soft surface to avoid damaging the surround or your floor.
  • When drilling into the wall, check for hidden pipes or cables in order to avoid them.

Finishing your Surround

Deciding the colour of a fireplace surround to match your home is a choice of two finishing techniques:

  • Paint finish
  • Stain/Varnish finish

Whichever technique you employ be sure to paint the back and front of the fire surround to increase stability.

Back Panels and Hearths to complete the Fireplace

To make your fireplace complete you can use reversible Laminate back panel and hearth tray insert suitable for use with most gas and electric installation and widely available through a range of DIY stores.

Most laminate back panels are formed from a core of craft paper mixed with heat resistant resins to which a decorative finish laminate is applied during the manufacturing process. Suitable hearth trays should contain non-combustible board and be of a construction which raises the edge of the hearth to 50mm from floor level and projects a minimum of 300mm from the flame source.

The back panel will require an opening to be cut to accommodate the appliance used. Once marked up the laminate can be easily cut with a fine toothed saw.

There are a number of ways to secure the back panel in place, but one of the most effective is to drill a series of slightly oversized holes where the panel meets the inside of the leg of the surround. These can then be used to screw through to the surround with a short wood screw, the oversized hole allowing for a small degree of movement which may occur over time in the installation and prevent the possibility of laminate surface from cracking.

Generally the hearths come as a single unit which needs to be laid on a sand and cement mortar bed to enable the hearth to be levelled in both directions this is essential to ensure your fireplace is also level and upright.

Alternative Back Panels and Hearths

Other options of back panels and hearth sets are available on the market such as, cast iron, lightweight marble, granite or solid marble in one or three pieces. Again the back panel is fitted in a similar way to the laminate back panel but does not require to be fixed to the surround but is freestanding.