FireplacesEven the handsomest fireplace grows dirty over time. And given enough time, the mantel, accessories, and other decorative elements can grow stale, as well. But there’s good news for homeowners and other fireplace owners: breathing new life into a fireplace installation doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

First, Survey Your Fireplace’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Whether you’re looking to increase your fireplace’s heating efficiency or just give it a new lease on decorative life, you should understand your fireplace’s assets and challenges first. First, consider the chimney, both indoors and out. Older chimneys, particularly those in damp climates, tend to spring leaks and cracks that, as water freezes and thaws inside them, actually feed on themselves. Over time, this can cause serious structural damage. A leaky chimney leaks heat!

If you’re not comfortable working with mortar or concrete, consult a building contractor for chimney repair estimates. Shop around a get several quotes. If you own a gas fireplace, you should also have a plumber or certified technician inspect your system for damage caused by debris, wear and tear, and other problems.

Consider What You Want from Your “New” Fireplace

One of the major ways you can bring a new look to an old fireplace is by investing in a new screen or set of doors. Much like the front grill of a classic automobile, a fireplace screen or door set will add shine, depth, and presence to your fireplace presentation.

If you’re going to paint your chimney or firebox, you need to find the right paint. Heat-resistant paint is available from online and retail stores. However, heat-resistant and heat-proof paint only work in very specific circumstances. It’s important to read all labels and advisories before purchasing.

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