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3 Ways to Update Your Fireplace

Fireplaces often function as the heart of the home, displaying family photos while they offer physical warmth to the entire space. However, a dated or damaged fireplace can have the opposite effect, making your home feel unimpressive. Fortunately, you can transform your space by making a few changes. Here are three ways to take your fireplace from okay to amazing in less time than you might think.

1. Add a New Mantle

Whether your existing mantle is intricately carved and gaudy or plain and uninteresting, you can create a new look by replacing the entire structure. Depending on the type of mantle you have, you can either remove the existing mantle shelf, header, and trim panels, or cover the existing versions with a pre-cast variety. 

Mantles are available in an incredible range of shapes, sizes, styles, and finishes, giving you the opportunity to create the look you want. Dated mantles can be switched out for sleek, minimalist craftsman mantles, and overly simple mantles can be upgraded with a few pieces of crown molding and a finish nailing gun.
When you upgrade your mantle, keep the overall style and architecture of your home in mind. While a carved mantle might look perfect with the rest of a Victorian home, a simple slab of hand-scraped oak might look better with a Ranch style place.   
Additionally, think about maintenance requirements before making changes to your mantle. Keep in mind that varnished woods may oxidize over time, changing color slightly, while lacquered finishes may require careful dusting to look clean. 

2. Refinish the Brick

Stacked stone and finished brick can be difficult to remove, even if you have the muscle, time, and equipment necessary to do the job. However, you don't have to chisel away mortar and worry about falling rock to make your fireplace look brand new.
Believe it or not, you can purchase heat-resistant paint designed to refinish masonry products. To apply these paints, the stone needs to be brushed carefully to remove stuck-on dust and grime, then the surface needs to be wiped down to eliminate grease buildup. After a layer of stain-blocking primer, you can apply heat-safe latex paint in the color of your choice.
Although white is a popular color for refinishing both stacked stone and brick, both options also look great when painted gray, black, or even dark brown. If you are thinking about painting your stone, wait to refinish your mantle until the rock is refinished, so you can choose colors with a lot of contrast.  

3. Switch Out the Insert

Those old gas logs might look silly next to a fireplace that looks brand new, so think about updating the insert too. Modern gas fireplace inserts are a far cry from the cheesy looking versions of yesteryear, offering options like split flames, glass-free exteriors, and remote-controlled flame adjustment.
Modern homeowners also have the chance to convert from gas inserts to electric varieties that use less power, while emulating the look of traditional flames. By using special lights designed to emit less heat, you can enjoy the look of a traditional gas fireplace without adding any heat to your space.
Measure your existing fireplace insert carefully before selecting a new insert, and check the venting type. If you have your existing fireplace insert removed, take photos of the space to show fireplace professionals. That way, they can guide you towards products that would work well with the existing setup of your home.
When you are ready to update your space, give our team a call. Here at Midwest Fireplace, we are dedicated to providing our customers with excellent service and all of the best fireplace products. To learn more about our team and available product lines, visit our website.