During warmer months, the outdoors is a favorite seating area for many families. However, even the warmest summer days can give way to cool nights. This switch often makes late night patio get together at best uncomfortable and, at worst, unfeasible. You can transform your outdoor living area to an area that is usable and enjoyable for most of the year by installing an outdoor fireplace.
A fireplace can enhance the look and feel of your home, whether you choose to house it indoors or make use of it outside.
First, determine where the best place for your fireplace will be. Location is everything for such a permanent fixture as this. For the indoors, a living room or den is often the most popular choice, providing that cozy and atmospheric feel for cold winter nights. For the outdoors, you will want it in a safe location, particularly if you live with children. Make sure that it is in a location that will not present hazards to the structure or the people who are most likely to be around it.
Next, you will want to collect measurements. It is always a good idea to draw out your plans ahead of time and make sure that you have enough materials. Whether your fireplace is stone, brick, or of another source, it’s important that you have enough material for the job without overbuying.
Break ground. This includes knocking out the location for where the fireplace will be and whipping up a mortar mix that has the consistency of cake batter. When the area has been cleared, it’s time to layer it onto the back of your materials, particularly if you’re using stone or brick. Pack the pieces together tightly to form the hearth.
Build your frame. This will give you a guideline for how to lay out the rest of the materials to support the entirety of the fireplace. Often, wood is used for the framing. Cut three pieces of 2 x 4 wood and piece together inside of the opening.
Lay out the remaining materials to the mantle. Do so by using your mortar mix and piecing it together one block at a time.
Next, build a wooden mantle to go inside the firebox. Cutting a piece of plywood to spec and attaching it to 2 x 4’s for framing is recommended. Cover with more of the primary material using mortar and allow it to dry. Apply final additions to your mantle. Wood is always recommended to produce a flat base, but make sure the final paint job coordinates well with the primary materials.
While these directions my vary depending on the type of support you’ve chosen, these are the most common steps, and will get you well on your way to a fireplace you can be proud of. Make sure you know what you are doing and that you have at least an intermediate understanding of the process before you begin. The process is not something you should start if you are not fully confident of finishing, as it can be expensive, time-consuming work. Know what to expect as well as the materials you will use, and the rest will fall into place.