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Fireplace Facelifts and Flips

Pardon the pun, but fireplaces are what’s hot in homes once again.

Designers are placing extra emphasis on integrating beautiful, functional fireplaces in new Georgia homes. At the same time, existing fireplaces in older homes are getting a facelift to improve their aesthetics, convenience and energy efficiency.

Natural gas fireplaces:  The hearth is hot in 2019.

Whether in a new luxury home in Athens or a modest rancher in Marietta, fireplaces here in Georgia are typically fueled by clean-burning natural gas. Wood-burning fireplaces can’t beat the no-fuss efficiency of gas. Today’s gas-fueled units are far superior to those of a few years ago, meaning you can get as much as 75 to 99 percent of gas energy back as heat, as compared to 30 percent or less from wood.

Fireplace technology has improved to the point where most homeowners can affordably have a gas fireplace in their home — new construction or renovated. Below, Walton Gas takes a look at the area’s most popular trends in natural gas fireplace designs, upgrades and accessories.

  • Fireplace flip: Direct Vent Inserts

Though it’s been popular for a while, the direct vent gas fireplace insert continues to be the “hot” topic for home renovations. These low-maintenance units provide a quick and easy fix since they can be installed in most existing fireplace spaces. They can replace a messy, labor-intensive wood-burning unit or an antiquated gas log setup. More importantly, direct vent gas inserts today are energy-efficient, heat-producing dynamos. Instead of burning your heated inside air to keep the flames bright, they use outside air to support combustion.

Direct vent gas inserts are

energy-efficient, heat-producing dynamos.

  • Warming up: Radiant Heat Gas Logs

Make no mistake, these aren’t your father’s gas logs. Vented, radiant heat gas logs are gaining in popularity locally, says Jay Thornton, co-owner of Southern Spa and Patio in Watkinsville. The local retailer says manufacturers have stepped up their game to offer ceramic fiber logs that look and burn like real wood. Even better, they create radiant heat that stays in the room rather than disappearing up the chimney.

  • Welcome addition: Direct Vent Fireplace

Is your home hearthless? Cheer up because fireplace technology now makes it relatively simple to add a direct vent gas fireplace to most homes. Installation is fairly simple because no chimney construction is required. These fireplaces are vented directly through the wall to the outdoors via a dual-chambered single pipe, so they can be installed almost anywhere in your home where natural gas is available. And zero clearance construction, which requires minimal space between the fireplace and wallboard or wood, means you have even more options for placement in your home.

Fireplace technology now makes it relatively simple to

add a direct vent fireplace to most homes.

  • Location, location: A Fireplace in Every Room 

Fireplaces aren’t just for the home’s family rooms anymore. How about a see-through fireplace above the tub in the master bath? A small corner fireplace can bring warmth into the dining room or add romance in the bedroom. Cut the evening chill and add a flickering glow to your surroundings with a low-profile gas fireplace in your outdoor living space.

  • The shape of things: Linear and Square Styling

Traditionally, gas fireplaces have been rectangular in shape but in recent years their shapes have altered to offer better views of dancing flames. Linear fireplaces, which have been a key feature in modern homes for a while, are now showing up in a wider range of interior design styles. Also, large, square fireplaces are also appearing in more new homes this year.  

  • Innovations: Heat-resistant Surrounds

Heat-resistant materials such as brick, stone or tile have been the go-to materials to surrounded fireplaces. New technology now allows for combustible materials to be placed directly above and surrounding the fire. This innovation allows designers and homeowners to apply any finishes such as wood and wallpaper to the very edge of the gas fireplace and allows for art or televisions to be mounted directly above the fireplace. The most popular fireplace surrounds are shiplap walls, creative wallpapers and custom wood accent walls.

New technology now allows for combustible materials to

be placed directly above and surrounding the fire.

  • In control: Smart Remotes

With programmable remotes and thermostats, you can maintain a consistent temperature or set your fireplace to turn on or off during specific times. No more walking into a frigid home after a long day of work or worrying about leaving the fireplace overnight. Another plus: Remotes now act as a portable thermostat. If you have set the fire to a specific temperature it will maintain the temperature based on where you and the remote are sitting. If you move across the room, the fireplace will automatically adjust to ensure the ambient temperature of wherever you are located matches the preset.

  • A matter of style: Log Alternatives

If you’re looking to update your fireplace to match a modern home décor, try a gas log alternative. These options use glass or shaped refractory ceramics to create a contemporary ambiance in your fireplace. Tempered glass chips, black ceramic lumps of “coal” and rustic calico-colored ceramic rocks are among the alternatives available.

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