By Fanny Ungar. Fireplace. Published at Sunday, September 30th, 2018 - 01:22:34 AM.
Stone materials vary enormously in colour and composition; whether you opt for limestone, granite, marble, cast stone, slate or even a thin stone veneer each have their own unique look and feel. Of all the stone materials, marble is probably the most expensive and difficult to maintain but if you are after a sumptuous elegant look in your living room, it can be the perfect choice. On the other hand if you don’t want to spend huge amounts of money there is always the cheaper alternative of man-made marble. Limestone can be very captivating if you select a neutral colour that will complement almost any interior design while granite, though not so soft, is also a good choice because it needs very little maintenance.
For instance, a homeowner decides to build a marble mantle seven feet wide and four feet high. The budget takes into account the marble tile to finish the design and the firebox, structural materials to build the fireplace and labor. Most people do not look at a chimney and think "Wow, that is a great looking chimney" so we do not always account for the ventilation when we design our perfect outdoor accent. The ventilation cannot be skipped just because there is plenty of ventilation outdoors. The proper flue will "pull" the fumes and smoke up and away from the fireplace. Without the vent gas fumes will flow from the front of the fireplace and the area usually reserved for sitting in front of the fire will be hot and smelly. The homeowner contacts a contractor who explains the chimney, flue and roof termination will double the budget.
The benefit to a ventless gas log fireplace outdoors is convenience and cost. The process of building proper ventilation and a chimney can often double the expense of custom fireplaces indoors or outside. Convenience is the ability to create a perfect flame pattern as easily as turning on a barbeque grill. Many gas log fireplaces have complex valve options that allow variable remote controls that alter flame height, on/off remotes, wall switches and thermostatic controllers that turn the fireplace on and off based on the temperature read at the thermostat. I do not recommend any of these valves in your backyard. A manual safety pilot kit has a standing pilot light that stays on always. As long as the pilot is burning, the fireplace can be controlled with a simple control knob. A couple of decorative ceramic pinecones or wood chunks hide the controls. Remotes, wall switches, thermostatic controls and other valves use batteries. Even a gas log fireplace that is under an overhang will be affected by moisture in the air. Here in Florida where humidity is tremendous, a battery operated valve will corrode within a year in most backyards.
There is much written about the benefits of an electric fireplace and much is also written about the common differences between electric fireplaces and traditional fireplaces. Of course, both have their value but for many people there are a number of reasons why people purchase an electric fireplace as opposed to purchasing a "real" fireplace. Cost and installation often play a role in the decision to purchase an electric fireplace as opposed to purchasing a traditional fireplace. Of course, this does bring up an overlooked question: what happens to those who have already purchased a traditional fireplace. Do they completely shut down the traditional fireplace and opt to not think about purchasing an electric item? Absolutely not! Instead they can simply install an electric fireplace insert into the traditional fireplace and they will be in business once again!
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