The fireplace is undoubtedly the central point in the living room and should really have a great visual appeal. But tearing out a fireplace can be messy and expensive. So you can opt for a more cost-efficient alternative – refacing. This means to only revamp just the surface of the fireplace. But what does refacing entail and what materials can be used?
The first step is to evaluate the whole situation. If the fireplace is in really bad condition and need more than simple refacing, you should consult a professional. On the other side, if the fireplace is in good working condition, you can change only its outer look.
Once you decide in favor of refacing the fireplace, you will have to choose the right materials. Today, the options are many – paint, drywall, stucco or concrete, ceramic or porcelain tiles, stone and stone veneers (masonry veneers), hot-rolled steel, wood or a mix, that combines several of the mentioned above.
While many might not be fans of painting bricks or brick staining, it can give a fresh look to the old fireplace, and is the most affordable option.
Concrete, stucco or drywall
Concrete or stucco mixes are inexpensive and can be directly applied to the existing fireplace, thus being a really simple solution. They can be finished smoothly or with a texture.
Ceramic or porcelain tiles
Tiles are a rather common fireplace refacing material. They are available in almost any style, design, and color, as well as in any price range to fit the budget. They need a flat surface to be installed.
Choose from slate, granite, quartz, quartzite, soapstone, limestone and many more. Stone slabs are pricier than other refacing materials, but if you want to use natural materials of highest quality, stones are the right choice.
Stone or brick veneers are created to resemble real stones and bricks, but are a lot thinner and lighter. They are also cost-effective, realtively easy to install, and come in wide variety of textures and colors.
The perfect option if you aim to create an industrial feeling and add some drama to the room. However, it is not the cheapest choice.
Wood fireplace facing brings a warm, natural appearance with a rustic, traditional look. Both paneling and thin wood boards work well to cover the existing fireplace. Wood is available in a wide price range, from reclaimed wood to exotic essences. But as wood is a combustible material, it would not be the best option when refacing a working fireplace.
And the final touch – the mantel
It is only up to you and the desired style to put a mantel over the fireplace, or not to. If your old fireplace has a beautiful mantel, you can reuse it. It can also be made from scratch, purchased new or second hand. Make sure the mantel is installed correctly with the right reinforcements, especially if it is heavy. And remember that if you want to install a wood mantel over a working fireplace, it needs to respect fire codes.
Whatever improvements you do, one thing is for sure, refacing your fireplace adds value to your home and will save you money in comparison with tearing it out completely.