How Much Does a Fireplace Remodel Cost?
The national average fireplace remodel cost is $1,200. This falls within the typical price range of $400 to $2,000, with the final cost depending on materials, labor costs, and possible repairs.
- Typical Range: $400 to $2,000
- National Average: $1,200
There’s nothing quite like curling up to a cozy fire on a cool evening, but an old and drab fireplace can dampen the ambience and pose a serious fire risk. That’s why remodeling a fireplace isn’t always for aesthetics but safety as well.
How much does a fireplace remodel cost? It depends on what material the fireplace is made of, what makes up the surround, and how the hearth was constructed. There are also labor costs to consider, along with repairs, mantel installation, and painting.
According to Angi, the national average fireplace remodel cost is $1,200, but homeowners can get an updated fireplace for as little as $400 or as much as $2,000. This guide will discuss ways to estimate fireplace remodeling costs, the benefits of a fireplace remodel, and tips on how to save money on the project so homeowners can get started with their fireplace makeover.
Factors in Calculating Fireplace Remodel Cost
The average cost of a fireplace remodel depends on a variety of factors. A fireplace can be made up of several different materials, all with their own price range to repair, restore, or replace. Labor can also be an influential factor in determining the cost to reface fireplace mantels, hearths, and surrounds. When estimating the cost to redo a fireplace, homeowners will want to consider the following factors.
Homeowners have the option of choosing between an almost endless combination of fireplace materials. A traditional fireplace may have a brick surround and hearth extension with a wood mantel, while a more modern design may feature a stone firebox and slate tile surround. While this allows homeowners to create the fireplace of their dreams, it also means there is a wide range of fireplace remodeling costs.
A fireplace surround can be made of tile, brick, wood, metal, or stone and has a wide price range of $75 to $10,000 depending on the material chosen. A hearth has an even more varied range of possible construction materials, including tile, concrete, slate, brick, steel, stone, granite, and marble; a hearth has a price range of $3 to $200 per square foot. A mantel costs between $50 and $11,500 depending on the material, which can be wood, marble, metal, or tile. The cost of a firebox ranges from $160 to $3,500, depending on the type of stone used.
It’s easy to see how different combinations can add up to very different remodeling costs. As a general rule of thumb, homeowners can keep in mind that materials like stucco, cement, and brick are on the more affordable end of the spectrum, while materials like metal and stone are on the more expensive end. Wood and tile materials can be made to fit in a modest budget or customized to meet a vision rather than a budget.
The fireplace surround is its frame. From an aesthetic standpoint, it’s one of the most important visual elements of a fireplace. For this reason, homeowners tend to put a large percentage of their budget into the surround during a remodel.
Each material has its own price range, and some designs incorporate more than one material. The good news is that a surround can be customized to match many different types of budget. Tile for a replacement fireplace surround costs an average of $75 to $1,800. Brick costs between $100 and $2,000, while wood can cost as much as $4,000. Metal is another popular choice but comes with a higher price tag of $950 to $5,700. Finally, a stone surround, while always a stunning choice, can be a larger investment with a typical price range of $1,000 to $10,000.
A fireplace hearth is the floor area inside a fireplace. It’s made from materials like brick or stone, but any noncombustible material can be used. The cost to redo fireplace hearths depends heavily on the chosen material.
For example, a tiled hearth can cost anywhere from $3 to $20 per square foot. A concrete hearth will set homeowners back between $4 and $8 per square foot. A hearth made from slate costs a bit more, between $5 and $20 per square foot, while one made from brick has a similar price range of $6 to $15 per square foot.
Stone is a more expensive hearth material at $30 to $50 per square foot. Granite is also pricey, with a typical cost range of $40 to $60 per square foot. Marble tends to be the most expensive, with an average cost of $50 to $200 per square foot.
There are some fireplace remodels that a homeowner can tackle on their own depending on their experience level and the project scope; in most fireplace facelifts, however, the help of a professional is not only helpful but likely required.
For example, converting a wood-burning fireplace to a gas-powered one requires an experienced contractor for safety reasons. Removing a deteriorating fireplace and installing a new one can be an overwhelming job for a novice. A contractor can ensure this type of job is completed quickly and safely.
Some types of repairs are also complex and require an experienced professional. Fireplace contractors generally charge $125 for fireplace repair jobs. Refacing a surround typically costs at least $1,000 in labor charges, though it could be more or less depending on the project.
Fire Safety Screen
A fire safety screen is an important part of overall fireplace safety. The main function of a fire safety screen depends on the fireplace model. For a fitted gas fireplace, a safety screen prevents anyone from touching hot glass. In a traditional wood-burning fireplace, a safety screen protects the room from open flames and flying embers.
While a safety screen can be as affordable as $50, homeowners looking for a custom-made design, a fire safety screen can cost thousands of dollars.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Besides materials, labor, and safety screens, there are additional costs that may pop up during a fireplace remodel. While the following costs aren’t guaranteed, knowing where a budget might be spent can be helpful.
When remodeling a fireplace, homeowners will want to tackle any necessary repairs at the same time. Cracks are a common issue that needs to be addressed before any remodeling. A few minor cracks caused by water exposure or normal wear and tear typically cost around $175 to repair. Cracks that have been ignored or gone unnoticed long enough to cause other issues may cost closer to $300 to repair.
There are a couple of other types of repairs to consider. During a fireplace hearth replacement, repairs to the floor are a possible expense and can cost between $75 and $1,500. Replacing brick fireplaces in older homes may result in drywall or painting repairs, costing an average of $200 to $500.
A mantel is like a fireplace’s crown. It frames the fireplace, and, although it was originally designed for functional purposes, it has evolved into being a coveted design element in living spaces and bedrooms. Mantel decor is an industry in itself, especially when it comes to seasonal items.
Homeowners have a few different choices when upgrading their mantel. A refurbished antique mantel is a common choice, especially in historic homes or homes designed to honor a certain architectural time period. For customization and installation, homeowners choosing a refurbished antique model can expect to pay between $500 and $1,000.
Prefabricated mantels, another common option, are easy to install and are available in a wide variety of color and design choices. Wood prefabricated mantels cost between $300 and $2,000. Marble is a bit more expensive with a price range of $500 to $5,000, while limestone is the most expensive at $8,000 to $20,000.
Fuel Source Conversion
Some homeowners decide to switch fuel sources when remodeling a fireplace. This is sometimes due to potential cost savings, convenience, or simple preference.
When fuel conversion is part of a fireplace renovation cost, homeowners can expect to pay between $500 to $5,500 to switch a wood-burning fireplace to gas. The average cost is $3,000, depending on the type of gas fireplace chosen for the remodel. A gas fireplace insert costs between $500 and $3,500 and is a good option for homeowners wanting to switch to gas fuel.
While most homeowners make the switch to gas, since it requires less maintenance and burns more cleanly, others prefer to make the switch to a traditional wood-burning fireplace. In this scenario, installation costs run between $835 and just over $3,000. Homeowners switching over to a wood-burning fireplace should also consider the cost of chimney sweep services as part of their investment.
Painting a fireplace is a quick and easy way to remodel when a budget is on the smaller side. In fact, painting is a great DIY fireplace refacing option (albeit typically an option only for the surround and not the interior firebox). Painting a redbrick fireplace an off-white shade can give it a farmhouse feel, while going black can put a modern spin on a room’s style without any demolition required. Homeowners should choose paint that’s labeled heat resistant: Latex in a flat, semi-gloss, or gloss finish is usually recommended.
The average cost of painting a fireplace depends on how much paint is needed and whether a homeowner tackles the job on their own or hires a professional. Either way, the typical cost range is between $350 and $650.
Carbon Monoxide Alarm
A major safety expense to consider is carbon monoxide alarm installation. Many states require homes to have a carbon monoxide alarm, which is especially important when a fireplace is in use. Homeowners can expect a carbon monoxide alarm to add about $50 to their overall fireplace remodel cost. However, many homes already have a carbon monoxide alarm installed, so this will factor into the total project cost only if the home doesn’t have an existing one.
Fireplace Remodel Cost by Type of Material
Knowing how much it costs to redo a fireplace by material can help a homeowner more accurately forecast a reface fireplace project cost. Price ranges are listed below for homeowners looking to resurface a fireplace with stucco or concrete, tile, wood, stone, and more.
Stucco or Concrete
Stucco and concrete tend to be the least expensive resurfacing materials for a fireplace. In addition to the potential for savings, another benefit of these materials is that they can be customized to create different shapes and colors to give a fireplace a truly unique look.
A bag of stucco or concrete costs an average of $9, with a range between $4 and $10. One bag will likely be enough to cover 25 square feet in a 1-inch-thick layer. Of course, this cost refers only to materials. If the homeowner chooses to DIY the project, tools may raise the price. If they plan to hire a professional, they will need to consider labor costs.
Tile is a popular material choice for fireplace upgrades. The cost to tile fireplace surrounds depends heavily on the type of tiles chosen. With so many variations in size, color, and style, tiles can fall into an inexpensive price range or be classified as designer tile with a price tag to match.
When choosing tile for a fireplace remodel, homeowners can expect to pay anywhere from $1 to $15 per square foot. However, more intricate designs, like mosaics, can push the cost to $30 to $50 per square foot.
Wood paneling is a classic fireplace surround that adds a warm and cozy feel to any living space or bedroom. When refacing a stone fireplace surround with a wood one, homeowners will want to consider safety. It’s recommended that wood paneling be kept 6 inches or more away from the fireplace opening, since it is flammable and could catch fire if it is close to a flame.
The final cost of wood paneling depends on the type of wood. On average, wood paneling costs anywhere from $1 to $12 per linear foot for materials alone. Homeowners will also need to consider the cost of labor and potentially paint or stain if they want to change the color of the wood.
While stone is a more expensive material than other fireplace resurfacing options, stone fireplaces offer several benefits. They are visually appealing, and depending on the stone chosen, the surround can be customized. Stone is also extremely durable, eco-friendly, and low maintenance.
When it comes to the price of covering, stone fireplaces cost an average of $60 per square foot for quartz and granite. Slate and soapstone are a bit more expensive at $70 per square foot.
Stone veneer is a popular interior and exterior home improvement material. It works well for fireplaces, since it’s less expensive than traditional stone and offers DIY potential. When considering the cost of redoing stone fireplaces with veneer, homeowners have a few options.
Thin stone is lightweight and easy to cut, while full-dimension stone offers high durability. Dry stack stone requires a bit of finesse to create a unique stacked look, while mortared stone offers the same look as dry, but with mortar between the stones.
Affordable stone veneers range from $6 to $9 per square foot, while more expensive options can reach up to $100 per square foot. On average, stone veneer installation costs between $1,880 and $2,630.
Benefits of a Fireplace Remodel
Updating a fireplace offers many benefits. From improving heat efficiency to creating a strong focal point, remodeling a fireplace is about more than updated trends. Here are some of the top benefits homeowners enjoy when they decide a refinish fireplace project is right for them.
A fireplace facelift can completely transform the look and feel of a room. A wood-burning fireplace can create a traditional, rustic tone, while a gas fireplace can offer a contemporary, modernized look. No matter what style a homeowner is going for, there is a remodeling option to match.
Fireplaces are meant to serve as the focal point of a room. Whether it’s in a living room, study, or bedroom, a fireplace is designed to attract the eye. So when a fireplace is outdated, worn out, or lackluster in design, it can actually take away from everything positive in a room. Ornate trim can be overtaken by a crumbling mantel, while a chipped and cracked hearth can draw the eyes away from the room’s original hardwood floors.
The encouraging news for homeowners struggling with an outdated fireplace is that just about any type of remodel can boost the aesthetics of an entire room. From a fresh coat of paint over some outdated brick, to a full removal and rebuild of a deteriorating fireplace, to a modern gas insert, there are almost always aesthetic benefits that come with a fireplace remodel.
When remodeling a fireplace, homeowners can completely customize the project to fit their needs. When a fireplace fits the needs of a homeowner, it becomes more functional.
Remodels based on improving functionality may include the help of technology. For example, remote operation means a fireplace can be turned on with just the click of a button. Programmable thermostats help a fireplace maintain the temperature of a room without overheating the space. Finally, wall switches make it easy to control the intensity of a fireplace’s flames and heat.
Older fireplaces were rarely designed with modern functionality in mind. Hauling wood, lighting a fire, and keeping it stoked are all hard work. When homeowners swap out an older fireplace for a more modern heat source and design, operating a fireplace is no longer laborious but luxurious.
Better Heating Efficiency
While a fireplace is meant to serve as a focal point and create ambience in a room, it also has one major function: heating a space. While few homes these days rely solely on a fireplace for heat, being able to warm a space with a fireplace can help save on overall heating costs or create an extra boost of heat for the homeowner who likes to keep things toasty.
A fireplace remodel can boost energy efficiency, since today’s models are highly efficient. With skyrocketing energy costs, finding a savvy way to heat a home’s living spaces can turn an aesthetic refacing into a smart investment.
A fireplace remodel can save on energy costs when it include the installation of an outdoor blower, outdoor air feed, or a fireplace insert. Remodeling a fireplace can make it easier and more affordable for a homeowner to stay comfortable in their home, no matter the weather outside.
An unsafe fireplace is never worth the risk. The most obvious sign that a fireplace isn’t safe is a smoky smell that lingers in the home while a fire is lit. This typically indicates a chimney blockage. An aesthetic remodel may not solve this problem, but a repair of some sort can remedy the situation.
Other signs of unsafe fires are less noticeable, like excessive heat, water streaks in the firebox or on the masonry, or falling debris. Cracks or gaps in the lining of the firebox are other signals for a homeowner to seek out the diagnosis of a professional.
Even if a fireplace is in good condition, a facelift can ensure the latest coding requirements are being met. This added peace of mind, combined with a visually appealing fireplace, may be the best benefit of fireplace remodels.
Fireplace Remodel: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
A fireplace remodel may seem simple enough for a homeowner who is confident in their DIY skills, but the truth is that many DIY fireplace renovations don’t quite turn out as hoped. When there’s more to a fireplace remodel than a can of paint, there are several reasons that calling in a professional will ensure the work is done efficiently and safely.
The first factor to consider is whether or not the existing fireplace needs to be ripped out. Tearing out a fireplace isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s not only messy but costs a lot of money, even if a homeowner is tackling the removal on their own. There could also be electrical and gas lines to consider. When homeowners want to tear out a fireplace, a professional will almost always need to be involved.
Many homeowners choose to resurface their fireplaces whenever possible rather than performing a complete tear-out and replacement. There are some DIY approaches to this process that may be possible with a fireplace refacing kit. Painting is one of the quickest ways to remodel a fireplace. On average, painting a fireplace costs between $350 and $650. A gallon of paint costs between $15 and $60. Add in a few extra dollars for a paintbrush, and a DIY paint job on a fireplace can potentially save hundreds.
If dangerous components like gas and electric are involved with a fireplace remodel, homeowners will likely need to get a professional to perform the job. In fact, even for simple fireplace remodels, having a professional in charge is likely to keep a fireplace remodel on schedule and on budget.
At the end of the day, budget and safety are the top determining factors on whether a homeowner should DIY their fireplace remodel or not. For a complete and thorough remodeling job, hiring a professional is typically the best route for homeowners to take.
How to Save Money on Fireplace Remodel Cost
A fireplace remodel can be a pricey investment, but that doesn’t mean a homeowner’s budget has to be pushed past its breaking point. Here are a few simple and smart ways for homeowners to save on their fireplace refacing cost.
- Speak to multiple contractors. Finding the right balance between price and experience in a professional can take a few tries.
- Consider replacing an old, open fireplace with a sealed gas option. This offers a completely new fireplace without the added finishing expenses of plastering, painting, or installing mantels.
- Rework the existing surround. A bit of sanding and/or painting may be all it needs to create an entirely new look without any demo or expensive replacement materials. Another option is to apply new surround materials directly on top of the existing surround, though this isn’t possible in every scenario.
- Shop secondhand. A new mantel can change the style of an outdated fireplace. Shopping secondhand stores, garage sales, and estate sales for mantels can not only save money but provide a homeowner with a truly one-of-a-kind piece of art. Finding discounted tiles or marked-down cans of paint is another way to shrink a fireplace remodel budget.
- Don’t overpay for heat. Speak to a contractor about the proper heat output a fireplace remodel should include. Paying for a fireplace that gives off too much heat can result in a costly second remodel or a fully functioning but unused fireplace.
- Consider a freestanding fireplace. This type of fireplace doesn’t need a mortar chimney or brick wall. Purchasing one may not be cheaper than simply refacing a fireplace, but when a full rebuild or a new fireplace installation is needed, this is a money-saving route to consider.
Questions to Ask About Fireplace Remodeling
Remodeling a fireplace takes a unique combination of experience and skill. Hiring the wrong professional can leave a homeowner visually disappointed and out of cash. Homeowners searching for the perfect fireplace contractor for their remodel will want to ask the appropriate combination of the following questions to ensure they’re hiring the right professional for the job.
- Are you licensed and insured?
- Are you a fireplace specialist?
- How many years of experience do you have?
- Do you have experience with this type of fireplace, and if so, how much?
- How many fireplaces have you remodeled?
- Do you have a portfolio?
- Do you have a list of references?
- What’s included in the remodel quote?
- Will you be completing the remodel, or do you work with subcontractors?
- How is your team trained?
- Does my fireplace need to be torn out and replaced, or can we simply remodel it?
- Is my fireplace safe to use until the remodel?
- When can the remodel start?
- How long will the project take to complete?
- How do you accept payment, and what is the payment schedule?
- What materials do you suggest for my budget and style?
- Do you hire a licensed plumber to run gas lines?
- Do you service fireplaces or just install them?
- Do you handle any required permits and inspections, and is the cost included in your fees?
- How do you protect the area surrounding the fireplace during remodel?
- Do you handle all the clean-up?
- What type of maintenance should I perform to extend the life of my new fireplace?
- Can you recommend some of the best chimney cleaning services?
An updated fireplace increases a home’s coziness, safety, and value. With the average fireplace remodel cost at $1,200, it’s a project that takes a bit of consideration. But once a homeowner considers the benefits of a fireplace remodel, the decision to move forward with the project is less straining. Homeowners can browse through the following top FAQs about fireplace remodeling projects to ease any reservations.
Q.How do you update an outdated fireplace?
There are several options when it comes to updating an outdated fireplace. The fireplace can be cleaned, repainted, whitewashed, tiled, or simply dressed up with decor. Another option is to replace the mantelpiece, which can transform the entire fireplace with minimal demo and a modest budget. If a fireplace is dangerous to operate, though, repairs will be essential.
Q. Can you put stone veneer over a brick fireplace?
Yes, stone veneer can be placed directly over a brick fireplace. This saves a homeowner from the messy task of ripping out existing brick. However, the brick must provide a stable surface for a veneer layer. Troweling mortar directly onto the brick and applying the stone veneer is the best method.
Q. How long does it take to remodel a fireplace?
Every fireplace remodel is different, and timelines vary in accordance with the job scope. But to give some clarification, a standard drywall installation that includes a new mantel and surround can be completed in just a couple of days. Installing a custom mantel or an upgrade that involves modifying ductwork or updating electrical can take a bit longer, usually requiring 5 or 6 weeks to complete.
Q.What material can I use to face my fireplace?
Homeowners can choose from several different materials when refacing a fireplace. Stucco and concrete are the most affordable options. Wood paneling is another inexpensive possibility, with tile and stone being common material choices as well. Stone veneer is the most expensive option but can truly transform an outdated fireplace.
Q. Can a stone fireplace be remodeled?
Yes, an outdated stone fireplace can be remodeled. In fact, there are a few options available. The stone can be painted or the surround and hearth can be tiled. One common approach to remodeling a stone fireplace is to frame around it, which essentially updates every surface. This allows a homeowner to get an entirely new look without having to rip out the old fireplace.
Q. Is a gas or wood fireplace better for resale?
In general, all fireplaces have the potential to boost home value; when a homeowner is determining whether gas or wood is a better heat source, though, the answer depends on the buyer. While younger buyers prefer gas fireplaces, older buyers tend to gravitate toward homes with wood-burning fireplaces. The most important factor is to make sure the fireplace, whether gas or wood, is updated and safe.
Q.What is the best color to paint a fireplace?
Choosing a paint color for a fireplace that’s too bright can turn it into an eyesore. Choosing one that’s too dark can take away its wow factor. Homeowners searching for the best fireplace color may consider more neutral tones, such as basic white, charcoal, deep blue, gray, or even a rich green tone. The color should complement the room and overall palette of the home.
Q. Does a fireplace increase home value?
A home with a fireplace may get a higher sale price than a home without a fireplace, depending on the buyer. The exact amount is situational and can depend on the type and design of the fireplace. A home with an outdated and crumbling fireplace will likely get lower offers than a home with an updated and modern one. The cost to install a fireplace to replace an old and dated one could be worth it when it comes time to sell.
Sources: Angi (1 and 2), Patch, Upgraded Home, The Period House Guru, The Fireplace Place