An outdoor fireplace is a great feature that will add many years of enjoyment to your Bergen County home. It will increase your entertaining space and add a cozy, inviting atmosphere to your backyard. There are many advantages of having an outdoor fireplace, but a major consideration is the cost. Here are some important things to consider that will affect your outdoor fireplace construction cost.
The first step in planning your outdoor fireplace is determining the best location. It should be located in an area that’s easily accessible. If you have a swimming pool, hot tub or spa, the fireplace will provide added warmth to these areas. The fireplace should be close enough to the house for convenience, but should not present a safety hazard to the house or nearby structures.
The size of your outdoor living area may influence location. If your existing deck or patio is too small to add a fireplace, consider adding a second deck or patio for the fireplace. It could be linked to your existing deck or patio by decorative walkways, pathways or bridges. Although this would increase your outdoor fireplace construction cost, it would create an additional entertaining space with unique outdoor ambiance.
Wherever you decide to locate your outdoor fireplace, you can be sure that it will become the focal point of your backyard in Bergen County, NJ. The fire will create a cozy place for guests to mingle, a warm retreat from the pool or spa and a relaxing environment for peaceful solitude. Plan a location that meets your needs for entertaining and relaxation and consider potential safety issues, the environment and overall appearance.
Size and Shape
The size of your fireplace will be a major component in your outdoor fireplace construction cost. A larger fireplace with more built-in accessories means more money for materials and labor. However, building a fireplace that’s too small is not usually worth the effort. Many people build a small fireplace to save money, but this is a big mistake. If the firebox is too small, the fireplace won’t produce adequate heat, especially outdoors, and firewood will have to be cut down into small pieces to fit the firebox.
Most outdoor fireplaces are rectangular, but they can be built in round, oval and square shapes as well. Consider the shape and size of your fireplace when considering fireplace materials. Any suitable fireplace material can be cut to custom shapes and sizes, but this may increase you material and labor costs.
Materials for an outdoor fireplace include non-combustible materials like concrete, stone, brick, slate, tile and rock. There’s a wide selection of these materials available in various textures, patterns and colors. Select a material that compliments the architectural style and other materials on your home and adjacent structures. The outdoor fireplace construction cost will depend on the cost of selected material, amount of material needed and labor costs.
The hearth is the firebox floor. It can be flush with the face of the fireplace or extended beyond to create a seating area in front of the fireplace. An extended hearth will add material and labor to the outdoor fireplace construction cost, but it’s a great feature to have. It allows you and your guests to sit closer to the fire on chilly evenings or to get warm after swimming in the pool.
A simple outdoor fireplace is just a firebox and a chimney, but having storage space is advantageous. If you have a wood burning or propane fireplace, add a storage space for firewood or a cabinet for propane. If you intend to cook on your outdoor fireplace, add small cupboards for utensils. You can also incorporate storage areas for a grate and fire tools, a spark screen, artificial logs and outdoor cushions.
When considering location, note that your outdoor fireplace must be installed on a hard surface, preferably masonry, concrete or stone for fire safety. If you want to locate the fireplace in a remote area of your yard, you need to build a platform, patio or terrace for support. This will add to your outdoor fireplace construction cost, but the foundation must be strong, secure and level. Soft ground and settling can cause the fireplace to crack or fall.
Make sure the outdoor fireplace has proper ventilation. Never build it under a wall or roof line with a blocked airway. If your fireplace is attached to the house, make sure it has proper ventilation, otherwise smoke could enter the house and cause a potential health and fire hazard. For precaution, always store a fire extinguisher near your outdoor fireplace in case of an emergency.
A wood burning fireplace is cheaper to operate than a gas fireplace, but it may not offer the same convenience. A wood outdoor fireplace requires a chimney that’s large enough to provide an adequate draft to let the fire burn correctly. A gas outdoor fireplace only requires proper venting which allows for a smaller flue or vent pipe that will cost less money than a chimney.
The type of fireplace you build will affect outdoor fireplace construction cost for fuel. Wood burning and propane powered fireplaces, allow more location options. Wood burning and propane fireplaces can be free-standing units or permanent fixtures attached to the house or other structures. They’re easy to build in any location without utility connections.
For a gas fireplace, you’ll need a gas line. If the fireplace is located close to the house, a short gas line will be needed. If the fireplace is located further away, have your local gas provider look at the site to make sure there are no problems or restrictions with a new gas line. The gas line has to be trenched and piped to a connection point at the house. The longer the gas line, the more it will cost in material and labor.
Building Codes and Regulations
It’s important to check building and fire codes for your northern NJ home. A building permit may be required. Specific regulations may impose height restrictions for your fireplace and property restrictions for your home in Bergen County. Regulations often vary by area.
Your outdoor fireplace must meet fire standards for your area, and you must obey all fire regulations or you could be fined. Permits will add to your outdoor fireplace construction cost, but they are necessary. With an outdoor fireplace, you should always exercise caution to prevent a fire hazard to your home and neighborhood.