It’s really hard to think of a fireplace and have anything but happy thoughts. There’s probably an element of ancestral memory involved with that, since from ancient times a fireplace has been a refuge from danger and the elements, a haven of comfort, safety, and security. And now you’re thinking of adding a fireplace to your home. Maybe you remember good times past around a blazing fire with friends and family on the holidays, sharing stories, laughs, and hot beverages. Or maybe you never had a chance to do those things, and want to create some memories now. Whatever the reason, you’re ready to get serious about a fireplace installation, but you’re still wondering about how it might affect the value and appeal of your home. You might ask yourself, among other questions, will my fireplace ever go out of fashion, and become more of a liability than an asset? And if I do choose to get a fireplace, will having a professional perform an NFI-certified installation increase the value? Read on for some answers to these questions and more.

Why A Fireplace Will Never Go Out Of Style

One good argument against fireplaces ever going out of style is simply because they never have. They’ve been an essential element of human habitations since before the beginnings of recorded history. Up until fairly recent times, they were an absolute necessity for survival, and in some ways they still are. Many homeowners, especially in regions with severe winter weather, see their fireplace as a critical backup for heat and cooking if the utilities were to be cut off for an extended length of time.

There’s also the fact that fireplaces have evolved to match any type of home and decor. You’re no longer limited to a traditional type of fireplace constructed of brick or stone with a mantlepiece, although those are readily available and still the most popular of designs. But today’s modern fireplace installations can be sleek and minimalist contemporary works of art, tucked away in a corner or standing prominently in the middle of the room, or even high up in the middle of a wall. They can boast tiles, metals, and finishes to create any color or pattern you may desire. They can be fueled with wood, pellets, or gas. The possibilities are almost endless. Since they can be designed to complement nearly any decor or style, they are unlikely to ever go out of fashion.

And finally, there’s simply no replacement for a fireplace. Nothing else can create the warmth and coziness and the mellow and relaxing feeling of comfort and wellbeing like a real roaring fire.

Why The Age Of Your Home Matters

The age and condition of your home is obviously a major factor in determining its overall value as well as the value of a new fireplace installation. In a newer or late model home with lots of updated modern amenities, prospective buyers might expect that a fireplace would be present, especially if it is a larger multi-story home with lots of rooms. In this case, a fireplace would almost always be an asset worth investing in. On the other hand, if you have an older home that is smaller and in need of repairs, then it might make more sense to spend your budget on renovating and remodeling, and maybe adding a room, than putting in a new fireplace.

Which is hardly to say that you shouldn’t install a fireplace in an older home. Due to the lower cost and increased efficiency of modern fireplaces, a fireplace installation is one of the most popular home additions in the U.S. Adding one to your home will always be a plus in the eyes of prospective home buyers and increase the value of your property. Because older homes might present installation challenges not present in a newer house, an NFI-certified installation is important for the sake of safety and efficiency.

Another thing to consider with older homes is whether they might already have a fireplace hidden behind the walls. As mentioned above, most homes in America had fireplaces as a standard feature up until the middle of the last century. In the 1950s, central heating became popular, and many homeowners felt that a fireplace was no longer needed with the modern appliance. Rather than have an unused hole in the wall, the original fireplaces were often covered over with new walls, and the chimneys were taken down. If you suspect that your home might have had a fireplace at one time, for instance, if you still have a chimney or the remnants of one in your attic, have a professional do an inspection. It’s possible that the old fireplace could be uncovered and a new fireplace installation put in its place, saving money and restoring your home to its original look. In this case, it would be essential for the safety and the integrity of the fireplace to have an NFI-certified installation performed.

Adding To The Value Of Your Home

Today’s homebuyers really appreciate having a fireplace in their new home, as evidenced by the numbers. A Washington Times article noted that the number of homes with fireplaces was 30% higher today than it was in 1970, according to the National Association of Home Builders, and that new home buyers ranked a fireplace in the top three most desired amenities, behind upgraded kitchens and outdoor porches. The same article reported that a survey completed by the National Association of Realtors found that, on average, a fireplace raised the value of a home by $12,000. Another study by realtor Redfin found that a fireplace added 13% to the listed price over the national median sale price. Of course, your location will have an effect on how much a fireplace will raise the value of your home, going higher in colder northern states than in warm and sunny southern climes. But no matter where your home is located, a fireplace installation will never lower the value of your house.

Types Of Fireplaces

When considering a fireplace installation, the type of fireplace you decide on is a primary concern. There are several different types of fireplaces on the market these days, all with their own inherent advantages and disadvantages.

  • Traditional wood-burning fireplaces. To get the true roaring hearth experience, you really have to go with wood. Nothing else will provide the flickering glow, the pop and crackle, or the woodsy aroma of burning logs. The old-fashioned hearth-style wood-burning fireplace is still a popular choice with homeowners, but they do have some downsides. A dependable source of firewood has to be secured, as well as a place to store it on your property. If you buy it from a local supplier, you’ll find it can be expensive if you use your fireplace frequently. They also need to be cleaned out on a regular basis, and the chimney swept annually for safety. Also, they are not as efficient a heating source as other alternatives.
  • Gas fireplaces. An alternative to the traditional wood burner, you can get much the same effect with a gas fireplace without the labor of chopping and hauling wood and the messy cleanup, although also without the cheery sound and rustic aroma. You’ll need to have natural gas service to your home or a propane tank installed on your property to fuel one. Gas fireplaces are usually cheaper than wood, and they can be a more efficient heat source when equipped with blowers, timers, and other accessories. They are generally more expensive to purchase than their wood-burning cousins.
  • Electric fireplaces. The most affordable of these options, an electric fireplace, is intended to mimic the appearance of logs burning, and although many are equipped with a heating element, they should be considered to be no more than a small space heater.

Why Choose An NFI Qualified Installation

When you’ve decided on the type of fireplace you want, you should hire a professional contractor that has been certified by the National Fireplace Institute, the industry’s primary safety and certification agency, for your installation. This organization provides three different types of certification for fireplace installers, Woodburning Specialist, Gas Specialist, and Pellet Specialist. The best professional installers will have all three. The training and testing required to attain these certifications guarantees that your fireplace installer will know everything they need to know to ensure that your new fireplace will be safe and will operate efficiently. It’s important to hire a professional for fireplace installation because a fireplace can be dangerous if not installed correctly. Too many people decide to try to install one themselves or hire an inexperienced and untrained contractor to do it in an attempt to save money. They often end up with a fireplace that isn’t built properly and thus will not work correctly, is unsafe and a fire hazard, will offer entry to damaging water and pests, and will eventually require costly maintenance and repair work.

A professional NFI-certified contractor will be familiar with all the local building codes and make sure your new fireplace installation is in compliance. They’ll be knowledgeable of all makes and models of fireplaces currently on the market, and use the latest methods and techniques to install them. They’ll be able to install fireplaces in all types of houses and rooms, always with an eye to safety, durability, and efficiency.

Your new fireplace is a big investment, one you and your family should be able to enjoy for many years to come. That’s why you should choose an NFI-certified installer for your fireplace installation.