Having a stone outdoor fireplace serves not only as a décor but also a relaxation piece. In most cases, fireplaces are built by masonry and patio contractors but that does not mean you should not put your skills to the test. You can build an equally good outdoor fireplace to have a good time with your friends and family members. Here are some tips to follow.
Check The Local Codes
The first thing you need to know when it comes to building a stone outdoor fireplace is checking the local codes. It may sound surprising even if you are building the fireplace in your backyard but some states have rules & regulations that prevent you from doing such things.
This can be the case in regions that are already crowded and fighting for space. Since you are building a fireplace, it could pose a threat to the surroundings. So, contact the local authorities as may need special permission. If you’re a member of a society, check out their rules as well.
Develop A Plan Of Action
The next thing you need to consider is developing a plan of action. You need to visit your backyard and ensure you have the space for building an outdoor fireplace. The size of your fireplace will depend on how much you have space and what’s your preference. Then, you will need to decide whether you need a wood-burning fireplace or a gas fireplace.
If you are working with a limited space, you will need to be thoughtful of the little things such as storage. The fireplace should have storage for logs and other items. It helps from occupying unnecessary space that could be used for other purposes.
Choose A Design
This is an important step of building a stone outdoor fireplace that requires you to take your time and think thoroughly. Plus, this is also a step where most people tend to become confused and end up choosing a design that does not offer any value.
The best way to think of an outdoor fireplace design is by having realistic ideas. You may have several ideas lined up in your head but not all of them will be practical. Considering the amount of resources and space available, you will have to work with an idea that makes your money worth.
Measure the dimensions of the space available and choose a design accordingly. Make sure that you consider the chimney as well. And if you want a detailed look, ask an expert to draw the design by hand or on a computer. If you’re also building a patio, your patio builder Long Island can help you in designing your patio and outdoor fireplace so both complement each other.
Build The Foundation
Building the foundation will take most of your time and effort. The reason is that your fireplace and its longevity will depend on the foundation. This means you need to get everything right. Most homeowners tend to build foundations using concrete.
The reason is that it is long lasting and suitable for outdoor spaces. Keep in mind that for pouring concrete, you should first create a crushed aggregate base for it. Plus, concrete will also need steel reinforcement. You cannot pour the aggregate directly onto the soil.
Make sure you are following the local codes when building the foundation. You will also need a thick reinforced concrete pad. At the same time, make sure to create expansion joints wherever you use concrete. Expansion joints ensure that the weight of the fireplace does not crack the concrete pad. And if you wish, you can also hide the expansion joints.
Build The Fireplace
Now that you are done covering up the prerequisites, it is finally time to build the fireplace. The first thing to do is to lay down the foundation blocks. When laying down the foundation blocks, begin from the center to ensure optimal placement of the fireplace.
Next, you will need to build the box. Make sure the box is level, flush and plumb. Firebox construction might seem a difficult task but there are two key features you need to keep in mind.
It is always lined with a firebrick and requires a lintel. The purpose of the firebrick is to keep the fire from attacking the structure. Ensure that there is no space between the foundation blocks and the firebricks. Use mortar to fill the spaces and remove the excess using a damp cloth.
Attach The Chimney Cap
By now, you are done building the entire fireplace including the chimney and it’s time to attach the chimney cap. Building a chimney can be a slightly risky process. You might need a helping hand. Otherwise, hire an expert to help you out.
Attaching the chimney cap will come a day later after completing the fireplace. This is because you need to give the materials some time to settle in. Attaching a chimney cap might seem easy but then again it carries risk and will need a helping hand. Ask a friend or a relative to help you out.
If the position or the angle of the chimney is risky, you will need to be careful and take your time. Placing the final cap has led to many accidents in the past and will need patience. You can have your fireplace inspected by a professional to ensure safety.
Add Final Touches
Finally, you get to add some final touches. Take a good look around the fireplace and make sure nothing is left out. This is the only opportunity for you to ensure everything is in place and done right. Add some décor and furniture around the fireplace. Let the fireplace cure for at least 72 hours before building your first fire.
What Type Of Stone Should I Use?
One of the most important parts of building a stone outdoor fireplace is choosing the right type of stone. Considering the options out there, you can easily find yourself hanging in the middle. So, to answer your question, the best type of stone to use is natural stone.
There is a wide variety of stones out there and you can mix and cut them into your preferred shapes and sizes. The reason you should go for natural stone is many. To begin with, natural stones have a unique appearance that cannot be duplicated.
Secondly, they are extremely durable and long-lasting. Limestone, marble, granite, sandstone, and slate are the most popular options for outdoor fireplaces. However, you will need to decide based on the garden/house design.
In addition to that, the stone you choose should be easy to maintain. Some stones tend to smudge and accept marks relatively more easily than other stones. This can make maintenance more frequent. So, you want something that can be easily cleaned and brought to a brand-new condition.
In the end, building a stone outdoor fireplace is not as difficult as it seems. You simply need to give it some time and effort and follow the tips mentioned above. Make sure to gather the right tools for building your outdoor fireplace and the materials you require. If you still find it complicated and risky, get help from an outdoor fireplace builder Long Island who can handle your project carefully.