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|Fireplaces and Hearths|
Fireplaces are consistently rated as
one of the top amenities desired by home owners. In fact, fireplaces
have one of the highest investment returns of any addition to your
home. However, a fireplace can be just a black hole in the wall
until the homeowner decides to framed it with decorative elements. A
beautiful mantel makes the fireplace a focal point and sets the
style for a room. Our fireplace section takes you throught the do's
and dont's of putting in and maintaining a fireplace. From
installation to decoration our experts give you advice on how to
make your fireplace a warm and inviting place to snuggle on those
Tips on How to Procure Low or No
Cost Building Materials
A case in point was a left over sewer
pipe section several blocks from our home in a new subdivision. That
pipe became the central element in a combination fire pit and
barbecue. I buried the 5 long by 4 diameter section in our
backyard near an existing raised planter bed. I left the top
sticking out just enough to brick the exterior with discarded Roman
bricks I found in another nearby housing development. I filled the
pipe to within 2 of the top with crushed rock. Next I poured a 3
concrete floor with an oversized wine bottle in the center. Once the
concrete hardened I broke the wine bottle, leaving an opening of
about 6 in diameter in the floor. I then bought a length of 1/2
stainless steel square bar and had a local welding shop weld it into
a circular grill to fit inside the lip of the concrete pipe.
Extending the planter box to partially surround the new fire pit and
putting a 2x8 cap on top formed the seating area. I adjusted my
impulse sprinkler to sweep over the pit which washed all but big
clinkers down into the crushed rock inside the pipe.
doubts about finding a left over sewer pipe around your area? Maybe
so, but have you thought about making contacts with your towns
administration? I have found our public works director happy to give
me surplus materials.
I just had a truck load of broken up
sidewalk dropped off at our neighbors unused lot. I in turn used
this material to make a 20x26x 22 retaining wall for a garden
pond. I have gotten enough bricks from local demolition projects to
build two patios and over 200 of walkways through our property.
Another good source is local contractors. I built a 20 x 10 x 8
arbor from beams left over from an upscale residential development.
But my best finds have come from poking around new residential
developments. The large decorative rocks that will form the
waterfall for my pond I found in a discarded pile in a new
development just 5 miles from our property. That was a real find, as
here in Florida you have to buy rock from dealers at around $240 per
Advantages of Gas Fireplace Inserts
fireplace inserts are used to convert existing wood burning
fireplaces (both pre-fab and masonry) to a sealed gas appliance.
They consist of a gas log set installed into a steel or cast-iron
heat exchanger and are usually sealed on the front with
Many of these units have fans to move the heat, and
are also available with remote controls, wall switches or
wall-mounted thermostats. Converting your existing masonry or
factory-built fireplace to gas is an extremely worthwhile
Direct vent: This insert applies a sealed
combustion direct vent system to heat the home efficiently and
maintain indoor air quality. It's designed to address negative air
pressure problems in "tightly-sealed" homes. Combustion air is
acquired from outside the home through a dual (co-linear) venting
system, eliminating the heat loss associated with conventional
chimneys. Uses existing masonry or factory built metal chimney as a
housing for a flexible co-linear liner.
Uses existing masonry or factory built metal chimney as a
housing for a flexible liner. Uses room air for combustion and
exhausts to the outside of the home via a flexible liner installed
in the chimney.