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Question DetailsAsked on 3/16/2017

I live in Michigan , Iteplace wood burning fireplace with gas insert

I have a home built in 1978 , with full wall brick fireplace and hearth, wood burning fireplace .
I want to tear out the brick and have drywalled with book cases and a gas insert installed . I need a gas line ran from one end to the other for the insert. I have a 1365 sqfoot home. Any idea cost involved with this size project?
Thank yoy

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3 Answers



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Answered 3 years ago by Member Services


You can find some similar previous questions in the Home > Fireplace link under Browse Projects, at lower left.

Depending on whether you are talking about taking out only hearth/mantle brick or the entire structure of the fireplace, the tearout and rebuilding of wall can run from probably minimum $1000 range to a good several thousand and at times up towards $10,000 in cases where you want to remove the firebox hence the entire chimney has to come out at least down to floor level - to be replaced with a "ready set" type stainless steel flue and boxed-in framed out "chimney" or a direct-vent (through the wall) unit.

Plus the cost of the new interior finishes and book cases and such - so I would say all told you are likely talking in the several to five thousand $ ballpark if the firebox and chimney are retained (with the gas insert flue running up the existing chimney in a metal flue), to more like $5,000-10,000 ballpark if basically tearing out the firebox and chimney and replacing entirely with new framing then adding in a conventional new-installation gas insert, plus the shelving which can be anything from maybe $500-1000 on up to $10,000 depending on how fancy you go with that and how much of the wall you cover with it.

A lot depends on the details of how your construction is built now (sometimes the chimney partly supports the house framing) and the standard to which the new construction/shelves will be built - so the ballpark I gave could go up or down probably at least 25% or even more depending on your details.

I would say the first thing to do is have the existing structure inspected to see what is feasible - by an Architect or at least by a Chimney construction specialist. And you will have to decide early on whether you can accept leaving the fireplace pretty much like it is, removing only maybe the mantle and the hearth (which generally are non-structural), rather than stripping it back all the way to the wall face or to the outside of the wall.

One other thing - a gas insert still requires (in at least most areas) a hearth extension of non-combustible material in front, as protection against people getting right up against the gas insert and against the flooring catching on fire - unless you get a fireless fake insert which is really just lights.

Rules are complex, but GENERALLY speaking - if the gas insert is flush-faced with the wall AND has fixed glass front (no opening doors) AND uses a metal duct rather than a chimney for venting (so usually meaning direct-vent through the wall units with forced ducting with a fan), and subject to manufacturer requirements for non-combustible materials within certain distances, THEN commonly (while adhering to manufacturer clearance), you are not required to have a hearth extension and combustible flooring can come right to the wall under the fireplace - though that does not mean the flooring will not discolor or warp or even partly melt, as it commonly does if within about 1-2 feet of the glass. [There are also minimum clearances inside the blockout for the unit - common 2-4 inches all around the casing, so the amount of space it will take at the current firebocx locations is more than just the insert dimensions].

On the other hand, if it uses a chimney for the exhaust or extends forward of the wall face - either cantilevered or as a free-standing unit, then it has minimum clearances to combustible materials by code. Commonly the non-combustible flooring (and wall) has to extend 36" from the BACK of the firebox to out in front of the unit, AND at the same time at least 16" in front of the FRONT of the unit (20" if unit is over 6SF in firebox plan area), and 8 inches to each side (12" if over 6SF plan area unit).

So - if you want to get rid of not only the hearth but also the requirement for non-combustible flooring and wall adjacent/under/in front of the unit, you probably need a direct-vent gas stove which does not protrude forward of the wall surface.

Also - in many areas, unless it is a double-glass unit (2 layers with air movement between them to cool the outer one), you still have to have a raised hearth or permanently mounted fireplace screen to keep people from inadvertantly touching the hot glass and burning themselves.

Bottom line on the tearout - you say you want to "tear out the brick and have drywalled with book cases" - so if you want the bookcases put in where the fireplace/chimney is currently located, you will most likely have to use an "appliance" type direct-vent flush-faced unit - and bear in mind that the insert has a minimum blockout around it also, so generally you do not gain much if any width from the firebox itself (and that normally requires total firebox and chimney tearout, the more expensive option) - though you can normally regain the portion of the hearth and sidewall brick that extends to the side past the firebox, or at least most of it.

One other option a lot of people go with for cost savings - clean the creosote out (ot limit smell) then cap the chimney and seal the damper (flue door), remove the hearth and mantle, then cover over the brick face with drywall or wood (so commonly extending a couple to few inches in front of wall face) and install built-in bookcases or display cases or whatever, and put the gas fireplace elsewhere in that or another wall. Can be cheaper many times.

Vendor for this, at least if tearing out the entire fireplace and chimney and probably in either case though some gas stove companies will do the minimal cover-over job on the existing fireplace too, would be a General Contractor because you have likely some mason work, framing, siding, flooring, gas line installation, woodworking for the shelves, drywall, painting, etc.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD


Mistake in my answer which I did not catch before it posted - bare minimum probably about $2000, not $1000 - plus bookshelf costs which unless jsut box store knock-togethers likely $1000 bare minimum additional - more like $500-1000 per foot of width if fully finished bustom built wood.

Here are some of the links -

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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