By Andy Meredith
If there’s one feature that almost every old home renovation has in common, it’s the fireplace. Modern heating is, well, modern, and old homes were almost always heated the same way—with a fireplace. So, when you get into a renovation, you’re probably going to have at least one fireplace, and it’s probably not going to be in the best shape. So what can you do? How can you remodel a fireplace to make it more attractive to buyers?
Is It Structurally Sound?
The face of the fireplace is usually going to be mostly, if not entirely, aesthetic. That means that you have the option to completely rip out the old fireplace and put in a new one that’s flush with the wall, incorporates a cooler style of brick or stone tiles, or anything else.
In most cases, if you’re renovating an old home and you want to stick to the original look of the place, you’re not going to go with one of these more modern and dramatic options. Mostly, you’re going to want to make sure that it’s structurally sound and that it still looks beautiful.
If the fireplace is structurally sound, there probably won’t be much remodeling that needs to happen. You might want to paint it, or you might want to leave it alone entirely. On the other hand, if it’s missing some bricks or stones, or if it looks like it’s about to fall apart, you might want to redo it, especially if someone else tried to update it before you and it looks dated and unattractive now.
Paint It White
If the fireplace is in decent shape but you aren’t happy with how it looks, consider painting it white. You can go with a white wash that will let the texture of the brick or stones show through, or you can go with a uniform white that looks clean and updated without losing the classic appeal of a stone or brick fireplace.
Add a New Mantel
If it’s looking bad and you want to remodel it completely, but you don’t want to lose the style of the house, you can do a lot with a new mantel. Just rip out the face of the fireplace and refinish the wall. Then mount a new mantel that’s in keeping with the style of the house over it. This will give the built-out look that the fireplace had before without spending a ton of money on new brick or stone.
Add an Attractive Screen
If you’re not happy with how the inside of the fireplace looks, you could gut it and retile it or lay new bricks or flat stones in it. If that’s not in the budget, you can mask the inside of the fireplace with an attractive screen that opens and closes easily whenever your buyers want to start a fire to keep warm on a cold winter night.
Update to a Gas Fireplace
The last thing I might recommend if you have some money in the budget for it would be updating the fireplace to run on gas instead of burning wood. It’s a convenient upgrade that lets your buyers use their fireplace without going out to chop or buy wood, and modern gas fireplaces are really efficient, so you don’t have to worry about it increasing buyers’ gas bills.
So there are a few options and tips for remodeling a fireplace in an old home. No two homes are going to have the same fireplace issues, so there’s a lot of room for creativity here, but these should give you a good place to start.