Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Why You Want a Vent-Free Fireplace

Fireplaces have always been among THE amenities for prospective new homeowners. Just behind patios, decks and porches, fireplaces are at the top of home-buyers' wish lists.

The cost of adding a fireplace to an existing home used to be prohibitively expensive- requiring the creation of an exterior stone chimney, flue, firebox and, in many cases, floor supports to accommodate the weight of the hearth. But today's options are not only affordable, but a relatively easy home improvement project. 

When we moved in, I knew that 1993 green marble had to go...quick. What I didn't know was that it was 2 for 1 day at the Poovey's!

Family room fireplace before transformation: gas insert in a wood burning fire box. 

Since no actual combustion occurs in gas fireplaces, zero-clearance installation is possible, which means that these fireplaces can be installed in direct contact with combustible walls and floors. 

Fireplace: Before

Vent-free: A ventless gas fireplace works on a fairly simple principle. When installed, the "fire" is adjusted to burn at optimum efficiency, minimizing the production of harmful carbon monoxide gas and moisture to a safe level that can be vented into the home. The result is a comfortable, clean burning fire that burns much more efficiently than ventless fireplaces, saving you money on your gas bill in the process.

Hellloooooo, Habitat Reuse Store! Someone donated this brand new (likely a floor model) beauty to Habitat. It's exactly what we needed for our family room.

The first step was to remove the existing mantel and marble surround. In the spirit of "reuse" the old fireplace was turned around and installed on the screened porch. The existing flue was used to vent the fireplace out through the chimney. 

The old fireplace (gas insert removed) turned around to the exterior of the house. More on the screened in porch to come!

My wall color is SW Worldly Gray in case you were wondering.

I found this split-face quartz stacked stone at Lowe's. It took about 60 square feet to finish the fireplace. I love how Patrick cut the edges. It looks seamless. 


It's called Dessert Quartz Natural Ledgestone and costs $4 per piece.

Now, for a mantle. I was inspired by Thrifty Decor Chick's amazing fireplace transformation. LOVE the gray color. I like the dark charcoal gray in her room, but for mine, I wanted something a little lighter. 
I'm considering SW Anonymous which has a slight green undertone.

     I wanted to have it painted before I blogged about it, but I just couldn't wait!



There are other venting options available for gas fireplace installations:
Natural vent, often called B vent, utilizes an existing masonry chimney or a factory-built metal chimney.  Room air exhausts combustion by-products to the outside via a flexible liner or single pipe installed within the chimney.
Direct-vent fireplaces draw in outdoor air for combustion, then expel spent air to the outside through a dual (co-linear) venting system, eliminating the heat loss associated with conventional chimneys.They can be vented up through the roof or out to the side or back of a house; a perfect solution for homes without an existing chimney.  Direct-vent units must, however, have a sealed glass door to maintain proper combustion and ensure efficiency and indoor air quality.


  1. Wow, that Patrick does great work. I can definitely see why you married him despite him being so much older than you. No offense meant by that he looks very handsome for his generation. I wish my significant other could do stuff like this for our home. I keep showing her pictures as a hint but so far nothing.

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  2. Nice! Did you have corner prices for the ledge stone? If not how did you mange to cut them so cleanly?

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