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Questions to Ask a Professional Fireplace Installer
Many people attempt to construct fireplaces by themselves, but it may be best to hire a professional to perform this task instead. They know how to repair and restore fireplaces, what kind of glass screen you should use, what sort of tools and accessories you should buy, and what kind of brick or stone should be used for the hearth. What follows are several questions you may wish to ask someone who might be installing your fireplace.
Are you certified?
One way to reduce the risk of being defrauded is to choose a contractor certified by the National Fireplace Institute (NFI), a branch of the non-profit Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Education Foundation (HPBEF). The NFI provides three levels of certifications that indicate advanced knowledge in topics such as gas fireplaces, stoves, inserts, and ventilation systems.
Are you insured?
One advantage to hiring a properly insured professional is that you can be reimbursed if the installation goes awry. This generally isn’t an option if you do it yourself.
What kind of fireplace do I need?
You should be frank with your contractor about what you’re looking for. If you want energy efficiency, he might suggest a fireplace insert. If you want to heat your home, he might suggest a cast iron wood-burning stove. An outdoor fireplace will not provide heating but can add visual interest to your home's exterior. Of course, if you just want the traditional log-burning fireplace surrounded by an elaborate mantel, you should say so.
What if I can't get the kind of fireplace I want?
Sometimes it's just too difficult to build a fireplace in a specific location. A corner fireplace might work if a more centrally located one would be impracticable. If proper ventilation is a problem, ask about electric fireplaces, which imitate gas or wood-burning models. Electric fireplaces are relatively inefficient, however.
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Professionals involved with the insertion of a fireplace into a home include interior decorators, designers, and architects if the mantel and vent are installed with the home. An interior designer can let you know if stone, gas, glass, or electric fireplaces make the most sense for your home.
If you want to add a fireplace or stove to enhance your home's atmosphere, a designer can tell you whether the new addition belongs in a corner, or needs a stone or brick exterior for the proper look. Hire intelligent designers who understand the inner working of your home or building. Placing your fire pit too close to a door, or hidden away on a patio may provide too much or too little heat.
Though a restored home with the addition of a crackling fire may seem like a great idea, there may be additional repairs or construction that need to happen first.
You will need an expert to perform repairs on screens and other accessories by using specific tools to avoid damaging the gas or electric set up. You don’t want to accidentally burn yourself pulling a damaged piece of wood out of your fireplace. Although there is not a specific career path that leads directly to managing indoor or outdoor fireplaces, it requires knowledge of home building, gas and electric workings.
A handyman is likely to have the skills to fix your fireplace. Professionals in this field might offer both indoor or outdoor insertion of fireplaces. Depending on your fireplace, you will be able to add wood or logs on your own, although you will still need to be careful to avoid burning. Whether you’re using a cast iron pit surrounded by bricks as a stove, or burning wood, your fireplace is guaranteed to provide comfort.