Many homes have fireplaces that have been damaged from storms, fallen trees, or are simply worn from age. Additionally, many homeowners are making the choice of having their old, prefabricated wood-burning fireplaces torn out and replaced with new fireplaces. If you have a prefabricated fireplace, you might consider having your replaced as well. Whatever your reason, it is important to understand the reason for the replacement and what all is involved.
First, what is a prefabricated fireplace? This type of unit is similar to a kitchen range and not a traditional fireplace. The nice thing about this type of fireplace is that if it is cared for properly, it will last for a very long time. A prefabricated fireplace is not intended as a permanent solution and eventually, it will need to be replaced. Builders like the prefabricated option because it is a high profit item for them but more and more, they are being replaced.
What happens is that although most prefabricated fireplaces come with a warranty for 20 to 30 years, there are always clauses that exclude some type of coverage, usually related to the environment. Therefore, if you live along the coastline, you will be battling with salt air that will reduce the life of the fireplace by half.
Additionally, the way in which you use your prefabricated fireplace also makes a bid difference when it comes to life expectancy. For instance, if you burn wood that creates a hot fire that will cause the flue liner to be damaged. Another problem relates to water damage, which can occur when the chase cover becomes rusted.
Unfortunately, the majority of prefabricated fireplaces that need to be replaced are not even discovered until routine maintenance is performed. By that time, the damage is usually beyond general repair. If you find yourself in this situation, you are certainly not alone and now is, the time to make a change.
You want a professional that can remove the old prefabricated fireplace causing little to no interior damage. When you shop around for someone to do the job, be sure to ask many questions. For instance, many companies will start to work by going through the front of the fireplace. If possible, try to find someone that will work from behind, which helps avoid the surround from being torn up and then needing to be rebuilt.
You also want someone that will carefully remove the trim so it can be replaced. This process is actually quite simply but too often, the professional will start tearing things off without much consideration to the rebuilding process. Now keep in mind that there will be times when the only option is to cut the trim and literally remove it piece by piece but this is usually rare.
Finally, ask about the process used for removing the flue. What happens is that when a fireplace is installed in an exterior chase, the flue is positioned on top of the fireplace unit, running up through the chase cover. If that flue should happen to be any less than 28 feet, then it is not necessary to anchor it to the frame. In this case, removing it is an easy process. The key is making sure you have someone that will take his or her time in pulling out the old fireplace, maintaining the integrity of the structure around it so as the new fireplace is installed, you are not paying a fortune to have everything redone.