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5 Common Mistakes When Buying a Fireplace

by Tim Reed

You don’t decide to buy a new fireplace very often. Maybe once, twice in a lifetime? So when it comes time to look for a new fireplace, where do you even start? And how do you avoid the common frustrations that can hold up your project?

You can save yourself time and headaches if you avoid these five mistakes.

Mistake #1. Not budgeting properly for the project

Because it’s such an infrequent purchase, a new fireplace can be hard to budget for. You need to take in to account not only the price of the fireplace itself, but also the cost of installation. If you purchase a fireplace from a company that doesn’t do installation, you’ll need to get in touch with an installer, possibly an electrician, and even the local building department to get an idea of what your budget will look like.

Of course, every job is different, but there are some basic budget numbers that can help you plan your project. In fact, we have created a video to tell you exactly what you should budget for your entire project, to make sure that you have proper expectations when it comes time to make your purchase.

Mistake #2. Becoming confused by the litany of information

There are so many different fireplace styles and terminologies, knowing what you want and/or what you need can be tough to figure out.

The good news is, there are some simple terms for identifying what kind of fireplace is going to be right for your home. We made this handy guide to help explain the different styles and types of fireplaces out there, so you’ll feel like an expert when browsing online or chatting with a showroom salesperson.

Mistake #3. Buying a fireplace without an in-home preview

If you’re thinking of spending thousands of dollars to create a space that will be a gathering place for your family, don’t you want to be sure that product works in your home?

The easiest way to ensure you’ll be happy with your new fireplace is to work with a company that does in-house installation. You’ll have a clearer picture of what’s going on in your home, and any issues can be dealt with in-person, instead of relying on third-party contractors.

We’re so passionate about the importance of an in-home preview, we made a video explaining why it’s a must if you’re thinking of buying a new fireplace.

Mistake #4. Skimping on the installation process.

You’re putting fire in your home, so safety should be the top priority. A signature installation guarantees that for your family. Here are a few questions you should be asking your potential installation company to determine if their process is right for you.

  • Is there a permit pulled for their installations?
  • Is the installation company the same as the company selling products?
  • Do they take pictures as the work progresses to guarantee all parts of the job were done to code?
  • Are these pictures reviewed by an Installation Manager or Team Lead (if so, can you meet them?)
  • What is the process if a part on the fireplace is ordered wrong? (If the company installing the fireplace isn’t the company that sold it to you, this can cause big problems.)
  • Does the company publish a Complete-to-Promise Record they could share with you? (We would advise their number should be over 90%.)
  • Does the installation company honor all factory warranties (parts and labor) on their jobs? 

Mistake #5. Giving up on your new fireplace because of overwhelm

There’s no way around it, putting a fireplace in your house can be a complex process, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be broken down in to simple steps.

Find a company that outlines a simple and clear process for completing the job. If they can’t explain the job flow with steps to completion in 30 seconds, you might want to move on.

Here is what we have found to be a successful path for happy clients and stress-free installations.

  • Showroom Consultation
  • In-Home Preview
  • Basic Installation
  • Safety Inspection
  • Fireplace Light-Off

This five step process doesn’t guarantee that things never go wrong, but does guarantee we always know what the next step is and who’s responsible for it. This process also allows clients to have fair expectations in regards to scheduling timeframes.

Adding a fireplace to your home is one of the best upgrades you can make to your home in terms of value, comfort and family experience. Avoiding these 5 mistakes will help make the process a little smoother. We have much more information available on finding your perfect fireplace, and would love to send it to you.


Tim Reed has worked in the Hearth Industry for over a decade in Installation, Sales and Management. He currently leads 5 Retail Showrooms for Fireside Home Solutions in the Pacific NW. Tim lives in Portland, OR where he loves spending time with his wife (Jessica), daughter (Olivia) and golden retriever (Walter).

Tim is passionate about team growth and helping clients succeed. Known as a rabid learner and communicator, Tim is passionate about helping people maximize their potential and speaks regularly on these topics.


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