Top Tips for Renovating your Fireplace

Top Tips for Renovating your Fireplace

Fireplaces are a popular feature in the modern home. In fact, 8% of the UK population burn wood fuel in their homes, according to research conducted on behalf of DEFRA.  


Don’t have a fireplace yet? Here are some important things to know before starting a project. We've been in touch with some social media influencers who decided to reveal the before and after of their restorations and offer some handy advice. 

Knocking Through Bricked up Fireplaces 

It’s time to get your hands dirty and peel back those layers of plaster and paint to get to the original fireplace underneath.  


It may be as simple as removing a board, but when removing bricks you’ll need a lot more tools – and dedication. Look for non-interlocked bricks which create the arch of the old opening. Do some research on your property’s build before moving forward with a DIY project.  


Some chimney breasts already have a small fireplace recess designed for gas and electric fires (always hire a professional to disconnect these safely). There will usually be a larger builder’s recess behind. 

@charlotteclarkhome from Instagram shared her fireplace renovation photos with us, along with a few of her top tips: 


Make sure you calculate the size of your room and get the correct kw stove for your room. Our first stove was far too small for the size of our room, and we had to change it! 


Purchase a stove with an air wash system to keep your glass clean - we all want to see those slow, flickering flames! 


Always use dry logs - we use a digital wood moisture meter to test them - damp logs don’t burn and will blacken your glass! 

Before & After

Choosing the Right Stove

Wood burners are an economical energy alternative, as long as your stove is large enough for your room and fitted safely. Measure the recess before buying a stove, to guarantee a better fit. In some cases, you can choose an inset stove which fits the recess. Buy stoves from a recognised stove company that meet building regulations and efficiency tests. For smoke-controlled areas, search for DEFRA approved appliances that will allow you to burn authorised fuels. Last of all, get a HETAS registered installer to set up and quality check your wood burner in the home. 

Exposed Bricks

Stripping the plaster away will give you full visibility of the brickwork and find the builder’s opening, to see where bricks need to be removed. You can also keep an exposed brick look and remove all of the plaster on the chimney breast or use plaster and a trowel to cover up areas of the wall where needed. The original brickwork isn’t always pretty, especially at the back of the fireplace where it's designed to be covered with a fireback to reflect heat back into the room. People usually install a new fireback in recesses designed for open fires to prevent heat from escaping through the walls.  


@renovation_at_5a also shared their DIY project – and the result is a blend of modern and traditional. Here is their advice: 


  • Make sure you choose a reputable company to install your new fire/stove to ensure that all safety regulations are met.  
  • Ask an expert to calculate the kilowatt output for the size of your room to ensure the stove has the capacity to heat your space economically.  
  • Choose a style that fits in with your decor or mix it up to combine traditional with contemporary.  
  • Invest in an ash vacuum to make life easier when cleaning your stove/fireplace.  

Before & After

Fireplace Surrounds for your Interior Design 

There's a range of materials you can choose from. Choosing a particular material can enhance a period property, such as natural stone in traditional cottage or intricate cast iron surrounds in a Victorian townhouse. For a sleek, modern look, marble and limestone are incredibly versatile options – either offering simple clean white designs or luxurious patterns. You could also mix up traditional and contemporary, contrasting a an old fashioned styled woodburner with a sleek surround and mantelpiece.  


If you’re on a smaller budget, then wood is an affordable material which can be painted to fit in with your decoration. Buying stoves doesn’t have to be expensive either. @samantha_homestyle recommends searching online for second-hand stoves and mantle pieces. She says it “saved us £1000’s and is just as good as new”. 

Before & After

After Installation... 

So, you’ve put in the hard work (or money) to get a proper job done, but it doesn’t stop there. Before you even think about firing up that bad boy, get that chimney swept. An undamaged chimney free of soot and creosote build-up allows you to breathe easy, so you won’t be experiencing any problems halfway through the winter, such as fires of the unwanted kind. Maintaining your stove is equally important, to increase its longevity and efficiency which will cost you less money in the long run. See our 2-minute guide on cleaning woodburners for more information.  


White Horse Energy recommends our Complete Wood Burning Bundle for your first experience building a fire in your renovated fireplace. It comes with 3 boxes of Ecoblaze kiln-dried firewood, 3 packs of Pini-Kay briquettes, 3 packs of Nestro logs, 2 boxes of Ecoblaze kindling and 200 Natural firelighters. 

Products Inspired By This Article

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