Adding a fireplace to your outdoor living area has many benefits. A fireplace increases the value of your home and expands your living space, making it a valuable asset. A fireplace is one of the hottest design additions, according to Houzz. Plus, not much can compare to the warmth and ambiance that a fireplace brings.
If you’re ready to buy, take a few steps to make sure you get the most out of your new fireplace.
What Type of Fireplace?
There are some factors to take into consideration before buying or building a fireplace in your outdoor space.
What is the Purpose of the Fireplace?
Take into consideration why you want to add a fireplace. Are you trying to update an existing entertaining area or do you want to add to an enclosed or open outdoor living area? Will you use it for meal preparation? Do you want to retain the value of your home by adding a feature future buyers will expect? Each circumstance will require a different fireplace solution.
A Wood-Burning Fireplace or Gas Fireplace?
Both wood-burning and gas fireplaces have distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Wood-burning fireplaces bring rustic charm and ambiance. They can be placed in any area as long as it complies with local building regulations. Although it will provide ample light and heat, a wood-burning fireplace produces a lot of smoke. Its chimney will need to follow very specific requirements.
Gas fireplaces have fewer restrictions and usually do not require permits prior to building. Natural gas burns cleanly and safely since it does not emit ash or embers. However, placement can be restricted because a gas fireplace needs to be connected to a gas line. Additionally, a gas fireplace does not burn as hot as a wood-burning fireplace.
Consider Your Current Home Design
Is the style of your home traditional or modern? Do you want to complement your home’s current style or design something that is contrasting?
Are you looking to add a small, cozy seating area or something to accommodate a large group of people? Do you want your fireplace to be the main attraction? Also, take into consideration the size of your home and choose a fireplace that is proportional to it.
What Additional Features Do You Want?
Consider furniture that will complement your fireplace along with any built-ins that you may desire, such as storage or seating.
Our staff at Lawn and Leisure help you find the answers to these questions and more. We’ve got a wide selection of fireplaces that offer features and functions that will allow you to customize your space.
Ensure Your New Fireplace is Safe
While a fireplace can look fantastic and give you an inviting space to gather with friends and family, it’s important for you to keep it safe.
Keep Drapes and Furniture Away
Wherever the fireplace is installed, it’s crucial that there’s nothing located too close to it. This includes drapes around a canopy or seats that you use to sit close to the fire. These objects can easily catch fire if you’re not careful.
Set Up a Guard Screen
You can easily prevent embers from flying out of the fireplace with a guard screen. Carefully choosing a screen designed for the size and shape of your fireplace can help ensure that embers aren’t a danger.
Carefully Pick What to Burn
In order for your fireplace to burn safely, you need to carefully pick materials that won’t become too dangerous. This means avoiding wood or papers with paint or chemicals present on them and sticking with woods designed for use with a fireplace.
Supervise Pets and Children
If you have any pets or children, it’s important to make sure that the fireplace is always monitored when lit. While a guard screen can be helpful, you’ll still want to supervise the fireplace whenever your children or pets are around.
As you begin the search for an outdoor fireplace, look into our testimonials so that you can be confident in your purchase. Contact us if you have any questions regarding our selection.
Prepare for Regular Fireplace Maintenance
One thing that many homeowners overlook when performing yard maintenance is their outdoor fireplace. A dirty fireplace not only looks unsightly, but it may also pose a fire hazard. Here are some steps you should take to ensure yours is ready for you to begin using again.
Cleaning the Chimney
Most outdoor fireplaces contain far less creosote than indoor fireplaces and also have lower chimney caps. This means that hiring a chimney sweep usually isn’t necessary. You can complete this task yourself by using a long-handled wire brush to thoroughly scrub the interior walls of your chimney and loosen creosote. Never use a garden hose or pressure washer to do this. The inside of your chimney may not be sealed, so water might damage it.
Check your chimney for signs of birds’ nests so that you can remove them if necessary. This is also an excellent time to consider adding a chimney cover to protect your fireplace against future damage from squirrels or other wild animals.
Remove all ashes from the inside of your fireplace by using a metal bucket and scoop. Allow these ashes to sit in the bucket for at least two days to ensure there are no active coals. Then, you may dispose of them by sprinkling them over top of your garden bed. Wood ash is an excellent source of potassium, which benefits tomatoes, artichokes, and collards tremendously. You can even add a few wood ashes to your compost pile as well.
Scrubbing the Exterior
While using a pressure washer on the inside of your chimney is not recommended, spraying down the outside of your fireplace is perfectly fine, so long as you do not have any damaged mortar. Spray your fireplace down from top to bottom, using a sweeping side-to-side motion. You can then scrub any spots that are specially stained with a stiff-bristled brush. Take care not to use harsh abrasives or chemicals such as bleach, as these could damage your brick. Some cleaning solutions that you may use include:
- Mild degreaser
- Dish soap
- 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water
- Gentle all-purpose cleaner such as Spic ‘n Span, properly diluted
After cleaning your fireplace, rinse lightly with a garden hose to remove any residue from your cleaning products. Allow the surface to dry for at least 12 hours before building a fire.
Cleaning the Firebox and Hearth
Never spray water directly into your firebox, as it is just as susceptible to damage as the inside of your chimney. Instead, you should carefully scrub your firebox and hearth by hand using a stiff-bristled (but not wire) scrub brush. You may need to go over these areas several times to get them truly clean. Remove any grates from your fireplace so that air can freely circulate to help your firebox dry.
Painting your Firebox
If your fireplace has seen years of use, it may not be possible to get your firebox completely clean. In that instance, you may want to paint the inside of it with black “high heat” paint instead. This paint is readily available at home improvement stores and can easily be applied with a paintbrush. Do not use ordinary black paint, as it will not withstand high temperatures and may even have flammable properties.
It shouldn’t take long at all to thoroughly clean your fireplace, yet your efforts will make a huge difference in the way your backyard looks. If you would like to know more about caring for your fireplace, please contact us and one of the professionals from our outdoor furniture stores will be happy to assist you.