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Fireplace Renovations - Small Budget Project with Big Return On Investment

If you’re looking to renovate your home or apartment, but don’t have a big budget to tackle the traditional high return on investment projects like kitchens and bathrooms, a fireplace renovation might be just the project to take on this year.

The first step to a successful and high ROI fireplace renovation is understanding how your current fireplace is constructed and what would be required to renovate. Fireplaces will run the gamut from 70’s era painted brick, 80’s style stone and mortar looks, and the oh so popular ceramic tile of the 1990s. Ideally you’d want to either remove the existing fascia and expose a cementious substrate, or if the material is fairly flat, sometimes covering up the existing decorative layer with cement board is a good option as well. Doing the demo yourself is a good way to save money on this project, but if swinging a sledge hammer isn’t your idea of a good time, you can still save money on the demo side by working with your contractor on agreeing to dispose of the debris. This is an often overlooked cost contractors are going to charge that even a completely inexperienced homeowner can handle if physically capable.

Cement Board Install

Once you have a cementious substrate to bond to the real fun begins because its time to select what the new finish will be. We recommend you browse in a few different areas to get a feel for what might appeal to your sense of style. Online social networks focused around home design such as Houzz are good options to explore, as well as traditional brick and mortar places like your local tile shop or fireplace dealer. At Norstone, we owe a large part of our success to homeowners renovating their fireplaces and liking the look of our stacked stone veneer rock panel products and for those looking for a sleeker more contemporary style, our honed basalt interlocking tiles and 3D panels as well. Browse our Fireplace Gallery for a great collection of fireplace projects completed in a variety of products, colors, and design styles. What you’re looking for in a new fireplace material should be something that complements the room and overall house both style and design wise. For maximum return on investment, stick within the neutral tones of beige, white, and grey, and pick select a look that is middle of the road and doesn’t lean too far in the direction of either overly rustic or modern.

Charcoal Fireplace

For the Do It Yourself crowd, selecting a product that they can install themselves will save anywhere from $5 and up per sq ft. If you’re looking to make a change but don’t have the budget to renovate the fireplace all the way up the ceiling, a good alternative is to take the tile just up to the mantle, in which case you’d want to be sure to “finish” the section above the mantle with perhaps a piece of artwork, flat screen tv, and lighting.

Depending on the products selected and how much demo, pre-work, and installation you plan on doing yourself, most average fireplace renovations are going to fall between probably $10 to $25 / sq ft. With many fireplaces in the 5-6’ wide range and 8-10’ tall, many renovation projects aren’t going to go above a $2000 budget, and some will be even more budget friendly. With the fireplace often being the center of room and the center of a home, a thoughtful and well executed renovation project can change the whole dynamic of a home and offer a fabulous return on investment, especially for homeowners on smaller renovation budgets.

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