What Does It Mean for a Fireplace to be Re-faced?



Home owners looking to do some home improvement projects often scour the Web in search of the best upgrade, only to run across the term “fireplace re-facing” over and over again. What exactly does that mean? Is it a useful or valuable remodel for the house? How does it work?

The premise of re-facing a fireplace is exactly what it sounds like. The fireplace’s original exterior, or “face,” is replaced with something else. This could be a simple upgrade to something that looks a little newer, or it can be a huge remodel that completely changes the look. Popular fireplace re-placing options include stone, glass, tile, and marble. If your fireplace has always looked a little drab to you, this could be just what you need to make your living room cozier than ever.

The first step is deciding what materials you want. A quick Google image search of “re-faced fireplaces” will show you a variety of options and how they look when finished. When you find one you like, click to access the image website and find out what they used, and you’ve got a great starting point. There are features that may add an extra cost to the project, such as adding fireplace doors or a new mantel, so you can decide if you want to spend the extra dough on these or not.

If you’re not sure you have the money to buy the materials necessary for a full re-facing, consider a cheaper alternative, like simply painting the fireplace. It may not be as glamorous as you were looking for, but it’s much cheaper and can still give it a new look. For some home owners, it works as a great temporary upgrade until they can afford their dream look.

Pricing will vary depending on the size of your fireplace, the materials you want, and whether you do it yourself or bring in a contractor. You can sometimes buy DIY re-facing kits for a little less than it would cost someone to do it for you, but if you haven’t had experience re-facing fireplaces before, it’s best to hire someone else. It’s all too easy to mess something up, and then you have to bring in someone anyway to fix it, and in the end you haven’t saved any money at all.

The re-facing process begins by preparing the fireplace surface, cleaning up dents and scratches to make it easier to apply the new material. Once the fireplace is completely repaired, then the re-facing begins. The tile, stone, or other material is applied to the fireplace face, typically using mortar.

The process can be slightly different for every material chosen. While materials like marble and glass often come in one solid piece that you attach all at once, stone, brick, and tile require specific placement of each piece. To ensure you get the look you want, try creating a pattern with the pieces on the floor. When you hit a pattern you like, you can then recreate it on the fireplace.

Re-facing a fireplace definitely adds some value to the house — everyone wants a home where they can curl up in front of an attractive fireplace! It’s a great remodeling project to tackle, and you’ll feel the effects of the new look right away.