How much does it cost to install a fireplace?
Adding a fireplace to your home can improve its heating as well as its look and comfort. Brick and stone fireplaces are two of the most popular types, since they are some of the highest quality fireplaces that you can install and a good quality fireplace can last for decades with proper care. There are gas, wood burning and electric options available for stone fireplaces.
Aside from the most basic electric pre-built fireplaces that are designed to be simply plugged-in and work, installation and construction is recommended to be left to the professionals because of the high skill required and safety concerns.
Fireplaces are designed in proportion to room sizes. A fireplace that is 30”-36” in its opening width can heat approximately 300 sq.ft. of room space. A 42” opening width, which is also common, can heat even more square footage, and the larger the opening width the higher the installation and material cost will be. A 42” width cost approximately 30%-40% more in labor and material costs than a 30” width.
There are many customizations that you can add to your stone fireplace to improve it or make it look a certain way. For example, faux stone 1 looks like real stone but it is made from concrete that is poured into molds. Faux stone 1 is an inexpensive alternative to real stone. Faux stone 1 is lighter in weight than real stone and is available in a much wider range of colors, but there can be substantial differences in quality from one manufacturer to another.
Stone veneer 2 is a thinner paneling that can be used on fireplaces instead of full sized natural stone or faux stone 1. The main difference is that it is much thinner and lower in cost as a result. Stone veneer 2 has the advantage of being lower in cost than real stone because it isn’t as thick, and the installation is also often easier because there aren’t any special structural needs or footings 3 required in most cases. However, one disadvantage is that it is not as strong as full sized stone and if there are cosmetic defects in the veneer 2, they can be easier to spot. A list of some of the most common types of stone and materials used for faux stone 1, real stone or stone veneer 2 fireplaces are described below.
|Type of Stone||Pros||Cons|
|Limestone 4||Usually lower in cost than other types of stone like granite or marble. Easier to install and cut which may lower installation costs.||Often does not heat evenly and may show cracks and other types of deterioration more easily over time.|
|Granite||One of the highest quality stones that can be used for a fireplace; it is very durable, scratch and damage resistant and heat resistant.||Often has the highest installation and material costs of any fireplace material, and it is difficult to cut which increases installation costs.|
|Marble||A beautiful natural stone that can create an eye catching centerpiece in any room. Comes in a variety of different natural colors.||A more expensive stone compared to many others, and marble also requires more maintenance and cleaning and can chip easily as well.|
|Slate 5||Not one of the highest priced stone materials but still available in a wide range of colors, and it is relatively easy to clean and maintain. It is also heat resistant.||Installations can be more difficult than other types of stone because the stones are not always uniform in term of their width and length.|
|Faux Stone 1||Looks and feels like real stone, available in the widest range of colors and textures because it can be completely customized based on the homeowner’s preference.||Not really that much lower in terms of cost compared to natural stone. Not as tough as natural stone and scratches can sometimes more easily be seen.|
High quality brick is just as durable as stone. Brick gives a fireplace a more classic look while stone gives it a natural look. There are also several more patterns and colors of brick because it’s a manmade material. However, it’s worth noting that custom stone fireplace installations are usually more labor intensive than brick installations because of the irregularity of the shapes of the stones, and will cost significantly more. Normally, the average cost of installing a brick fireplace is 30%-50% cheaper than a stone fireplace.
If bricks are used in either a wood burning or a gas burning fireplace, you will need two types: firebricks 6 and regular bricks. Firebricks 6 are used to build the inner layer of the fireplace due to its high density, which makes them resistant to extreme heat. The outer layer can be made of regular bricks because they are not exposed to extreme heat and, therefore, they don't need to be as dense as firebricks 6. For stone wood burning fireplaces, firebricks 6 are also installed in the firebox 7 to add extra fire protection.
At the low end, electric fireplaces are some of the lowest cost options. They do not require a chimney, because they don’t have an actual flame. The cost is between $150-$1,000 for a plug-in electric fireplace. Most electric fireplaces come with a remote control and electronics can be installed directly on top of them because they don’t have a chimney.
- Models that are made with stone in their construction can add another $500-$1,500 to the total cost of the electric fireplace
- Brick models add $350-$1,050 to the total cost.
A pre-built gas burning fireplace is a good mid-range option that would cost about $1,500-$3,000 for the materials and the fireplace.
- Gas burning fireplaces have a few major advantages compared to wood burning fireplaces. They don’t require the same type of chimney that you would need with a wood burning fireplace.
- Gas fireplaces do require a fireproof firebox 7 just like any other fireplace that is rated to withstand the maximum heat of the gas fireplace. Most pre-built units will have the firebox 7 included. For custom built gas fireplaces, installing a firebox 7 separately for a gas fireplace can cost between $200-$1,000 and it is usually not as expensive as a wood burning fireplace because the heat can be controlled.
- The main advantage of using a gas fireplace is the fact that there are far lower maintenance requirements. Gas fireplaces are designed with newer heat efficient technology, there is no trouble with having to gather logs and maintain a firewood supply, and there is no ash or soot to clean up. The heat and exhaust from the fireplace can be vented through a small exhaust pipe 8 because the heat can be controlled. It offers these advantages over a wood burning fireplace, but it doesn’t offer the same simple charm and coziness.
- Gas burning fireplaces only require a small exhaust pipe 8 which can usually be made from PVC, and if there isn’t one installed the cost can range from $500-$1,000 to install it. This is substantially lower than the cost to install a chimney for a wood fireplace.
- Adding stone into the pre-built fireplace can add another $500-$1,500 to the cost.
- Brick models add $350-$1,050 to the total cost.
- The installation and finishing will add another $1,500-$3,000 depending on how complicated it is.
- Installing a gas line can add another $150-$300 to the installation cost if there is an existing gas line that can be extended. The cost will be higher, between $300-$800 if a new gas line needs to be ran from the gas manifold of the home.
Custom masonry built wood burning fireplaces may be needed when a home needs to be significantly modified to install a fireplace or when the homeowner has specific requirements for the fireplace. They are always more expensive than pre-fabricated fireplaces. Custom built stone fireplaces are some of the most expensive fireplaces anywhere, but are also the most dramatic and impressive. These are the types of fireplaces that you see in the lobbies of resort lodges, except on a smaller scale usually. They are usually charged as a flat rate, not hourly.
- The cost for a custom built stone fireplace will have a wide range based on the skill of the mason and the quality of the stone. The cost can range from $7,500-$15,000 for the labor and materials to construct the fireplace alone without installation. A brick fireplace can range from $5,500 to $11,000.
- Installation may add another $2,500-$10,000 depending on if there is a chimney already built. If not, it will add $60-$95/linear foot.
- Installing a new firebox 7 ranges between $500-$1,000.
The major cost in installing a brick fireplace comes from the labor. On average, masons charge $70-$90 per hour and can finish the project in one to two days (8-16 labor hours) for a total cost of $560-$1,440.
Enhancement and improvement costs
- Adding a faux log for a gas or electric fireplace can add $50-$100 to material costs, but many pre-built models come with them already installed.
- The firebox 7 for a wood burning fireplace may need to be repaired or reinforced, and the cost of this is similar to installing a new one, $500-$1,000. Adding a metal liner can add another $750-$1,000 to the cost.
- A chimney cap will cost between $100-$200 to install but is a relatively easy DIY job that can be completed for $50-$60 in material costs.
- Adding a mantel 9 (a decorative framework around the fireplace that may include shelving) can add $800-$3,000 to the installation cost.
- If an electric fireplace needs to be mounted or otherwise installed to look more natural for the home, $250-$750 can be added to the installation cost.
- A gas fireplace blower 10 and fan can improve heat radiation and the cost is $100-$250 for the materials and another $75-$150 for the installation.
- Adding a chimney is always a major project/enhancement for any gas fireplace project and will add $60-$95/linear foot.
- Adding glass fireplace doors to a new or existing fireplace can cost between $400-$1,000 plus another $100-$200 for installation.
Additional considerations and costs
- You can expect to pay 20%-40% more for installation costs if there is a complicated installation, because of the masonry skill required.
- A gas fireplace needs propane 11 to operate, so you should factor in the cost of propane 11 to your overall costs.
- Whether it is custom built or prefabricated, stone will almost always cost more than brick. Although mass produced pre-fabricated stone fireplaces cost less than custom built stone fireplaces, they are still significantly more expensive than brick, often 20%-50% more.
- Custom built outdoor stone fireplaces range from $7,000 to $20,000 including labor and materials and are one of the more expensive materials used for fireplaces, but they are more durable and weather resistant than other materials.
- A building permit may be needed for some outdoor fireplaces that exceed a certain height, and the cost of getting a permit may be between $100-$400.
- Most indoor or outdoor wood burning fireplaces will require a permit, and the cost can range from between $100-$400 and the city may need to inspect the fireplace. In some localities wood burning fireplaces may not be permitted and you will need to contact your city to determine this.
- Using brick instead of stone can reduce material and installation costs by 20%-60%.
- If the gas fireplace can use a direct vent it won’t need a chimney and this can lower installation costs significantly.
- Firewood for wood burning fireplaces costs about $200-$600 per cord, which is 4’x4’x8’. How quickly you go through it depends on how much you use your fireplace, and the cost will vary from one region to another.
- Adding a grate above the fireplace to hold wood can cost $25-$100.
- Fireplace tools such as a broom, stoker, and shovel can cost $25-$100.
- Ash vacuums can cost $125-$250 and help with dealing with ash.
- Chimney cleaning should be performed annually and costs $100-$300.
- If you are under a budget, high quality bricks are just as durable as stone and still a viable option.
- Custom stone fireplace installations are usually more labor intensive than brick installations because of the irregularity of the shapes of the stones, and will cost significantly more in extra labor costs.
Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet
Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Faux stone
: A building material made from concrete set in molds and then painted to look like stone.
: A thin layer of decorative finishing applied to a coarser construction material
: A support for the foundation of a house that also helps prevent settling. It is typically made of concrete reinforced with rebar, but can also be made of masonry or brick. It is usually built under a heavier part of the house like a wall or column, to distribute the weight of the house over a larger area.
: A type of sedimentary rock, made up of mostly calcite and aragonite
: A fine-grained rock, typically bluish-gray in color, that can easily be split into thin layers and is commonly used as a roofing material
: A block of refractory ceramic material that is used to line fireboxes and other areas designed to contain fires. They are resistant to heat, and insulate the firebox by keeping the heat from escaping through the material
: The chamber in a fireplace that contains the fire. It is usually lined with firebrick so it can withstand the extreme heat that it is exposed to. Manufactured fireplaces have fireboxes made of sheet metal
8 Exhaust pipe
: A pipe through which the by-products of gas combustion, such as in a gas engine or a gas fireplace, for example nitrogen, water vapor, and carbon dioxide, are released outside
: A decorative construction that frames the opening of a fireplace. The term "mantel" can also refer to a shelf above a fireplace
: An accessory that makes a fireplace more efficient by circulating the warm air in the fireplace to other areas of the home
: A hydrocarbon gas used as a common fuel source
Cost to install a fireplace varies greatly by region (and even by zipcode). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.