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Outdoor Fireplace

Outdoor Fireplace Cost

A comparison of the different types available and their price ranges

The cost of an outdoor fireplace will depend on the exact features you want. Choices you need to make that will impact the total price are: wood vs. gas, prefab vs. custom built, large vs. small, freestanding vs. integrated into a wall or building. Start by answering these questions and you'll be a lot closer to determining the cost of a new fireplace.

What influences the cost of an outdoor fireplace?There's a great deal of variability in outdoor fireplaces that includes both the core material to build it and the finishes that make these outdoor warming places as beautiful as any used indoors. While the bottom line may be easy to obtain, it is much harder to break down into individual components. When you understand how each factor influences the final cost, it becomes easier to make changes that save money.

Size: The magnitude of your outdoor fireplace is the greatest cost factor. The larger it is and the more accessories built in, the more materials and labor that will be required. If using a kit, the shipping costs rise with unit size. Those built of block from scratch will demand more labor for construction. Note that it is always better to err on the side of a large fireplace. The most common mistake is to build a firebox that is too small in order to save money. A small firebox may not produce adequate heat and wood must be cut much smaller to fit inside.

Kit: A kit reduces the cost of construction significantly and makes the project go much faster as well. Each manufacturer produces a slightly different product so take care to compare in order to get the best kit for the least money. Contractors often prefer kits from their preferred manufacturer so there may be no option available here.

Hearth: The hearth is technically the floor of the firebox, but an extended hearth will continue beyond the firebox into the space in front of the fireplace. This is done to create a convenient seating surface, which allows users to get very close to the heat source and enjoy it in comfort during colder weather. It must be made of non-combustible material and will be an add-on to the basic fireplace.

Cladding material cost: What makes all outdoor fireplaces so fabulous is stone. Luxury homes feature stone in paving and facades, and this material should be used on the fireplace to make it fully integrated with the rest of the project. Some cladding is quite affordable while others such as high quality stone can be quite costly.

Special masonry: Luxury outdoor fireplaces almost always feature unique stone or brickwork that requires a highly experienced mason. For those details that make a fireplace your own, this cost may be offset by using a kit. Whether there are unique brick patterns, stone mosaic, extended mantel, creatively designed hearth and niches, a quality mason is needed to get it done right.

Storage: The simplest outdoor fireplaces are little more than firebox and chimney. Take a peek at higher end units and there's almost always a place for wood storage. Others may even feature small cupboards that are highly useful for storage during the winter. Pillows and cushions, artificial logs, a spark screen, grate and a set of fire managing tools all belong in these compartments when not in use.

Utilities: A simple wood fireplace may not need any utility connections. A fireplace with gas or electrical fans does require utilities which must be trenched and piped to points of connection at the house. The longer these utility runs, the more they cost in materials and labor.

Accessibility: Any time there is construction, the proximity of the site to contractor's vehicles and materials deliveries have a bit impact on cost. Where vehicles can't come close enough, more laborers are required to move the materials by hand which costs more in dollars and time.

Contributing Authors:

Maureen Gilmer, contributing writer for Landscaping Network, author and syndicated columnist

Sarah Hutchinson, contributing writer for Landscaping Network

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