Building a new house or remodeling?
What you should know about fireplaces.
Building a house is one of the most exciting yet overwhelming tasks a person can undertake. Whether you’ve opted to build it yourself or have hired an architect and contractor, chances are you’ll be looking to install a fireplace or freestanding stove of some kind. From concept to completion, Custom Hearth can help you choose the best appliance to fit all of your new home’s needs; square footage, placement and clearances. We are always excited to be a part of the home building process and based on over 30 years of experience working with contractors and builders, we have compiled a short list of tips and tricks to make the installation process as smooth as possible:
Get us involved early and often.
Far too often we have customers come to our showroom after framing has been put up for the new home. Trying to find a unit that will work in the already established configuration of walls and windows can be tricky. While we always strive to do our best, it can be challenging to get the unit you want in the space that you want. There are many aspects to consider including the size of the unit, required clearances to combustibles, hearth requirements, venting and so much more. Fireplaces are not one size fits all and each manufacturer will have their own guidelines and safety requirements.
The best time to start shopping for a fireplace or stove is right at the start of your project. We can work with your architect and contractor to implement the dimensions of the unit in to the plans of the house, alleviating many headaches and potential roadblocks in the building process. Besides, the fireplace is the focal point of any room it is in and everything should be built around it, not the other way around.
Research what you’re buying.
When you put your project design in the hands of a contractor or architect, you are potentially at risk to get a cheap, inefficient eyesore installed in your beautiful new home and no one wants that. Contractors and builders are under enormous pressure to be cost-effective and to our dismay, the fireplace often takes the brunt of “budgeting”.
A very common technique used by many architects is to have an open wood fireplace with a gas log set installed, to give the room an “open” feel to it. This is one of our least favorite options for new construction and remodels, which has proven time and time again to be problematic for a number of reasons, least of all they are a huge waste of your money, no matter how “cost effective” they might seem at first. The warranty on log sets is often only one year (depending on the manufacturer) from the date of installation and the life span is not much beyond that anyway.
To avoid this annoying and (eventually) costly tactic, see above: Get us involved early and often.
Installation needs to be done by us.
In the front of each installation manual of any heating appliance, it clearly states that installation should be done by a certified professional. Unfortunately, in the hearth industry, that means next to nothing. However, there are serious potential consequences for installing a unit yourself or trusting your builder to do it. When you have an unqualified person install your new unit, there is potential for all sorts of issues due to ignorance; such as an unsafe installation and failure to meet required clearances which lead to fire hazards and failed inspections. Another serious consequence is the voiding of the warranty. We have in-house installation and service teams that are all factory trained and working towards certifications that know the units we sell inside and out.
One of the biggest reasons people opt to have an unqualified person install the fireplace is pressure from the contractor to have it installed as soon as possible. We are a small, family owned company and our installation calendar can be booked over a month in advance in the winter time, which we understand can be daunting. To avoid this, see above: Get us involved early and often.
At Custom Hearth, we are fully prepared to work with you, your architect and your contractor from the beginning concept drawings to the final, finished project in your new home or remodel. We want to be involved in the process as much as possible and are always happy to answer questions and give advice on the best course of action to get you the appliance you need and the look you want.