Can I change which room a fireplace opens into?

Answered by Jeffrey Anderson ~ November 18, 2013 ~ No Comments

Our fireplace sits between a den and a living room, with the open side in the den. We want the fireplace closed on the den side and open in the living room. Is this possible?


Jeffrey Anderson

Cheryl, just about anything is possible during a remodeling project - it's just a matter of whether you can live with the demolition involved and have enough budgeted to cover the cost. I once saw a freestanding masonry fireplace that went up two stories and out through the roof get moved ten feet. The customer the home was being constructed for had chosen the fireplace's location, but decided after seeing it completed that it might look better ten feet further from the room entrance.

It doesn't sound like your situation is quite that complex, but there are a lot of factors that can impact exactly what's involved in moving the fireplace opening. If your fireplace is a pre-fab metal unit, turning the opening is going to require a lot of work, but it should be a little easier than modifying a masonry unit. Another issue is the chase - the fireplace is between the living room and den, but where is the chase located? If the face of the fireplace opening is flush with the den wall, then the chase must currently protrude into the living room. When the unit is turned, there will almost definitely need to be some wall framing redone.

At this point, without having a little more information, it's almost impossible for me to tell you how much work might be involved in your project or an approximate cost. If the fireplace is masonry, I could see the job getting quite expensive as the entire firebox would need to be redone. As I mentioned, changing a pre-fab shouldn't require as many modifications, but it could still be fairly labor intensive.

My suggestion would be to get an architect involved. They can do a site visit, and after deciding the best way to approach the project, should be able to provide an approximate cost for the job. However, to get an accurate price, you'll need to take the info the architect provides and get at least three bids from reputable contractors.

Another reason for having an architect draw up some simple blueprints for the job is that proper clearances from flammable materials must be maintained when the fireplace is changed. This is always important, but even more so if the chase is going to be adjacent to a nursery. One last thing: if you go forward with the project, make sure the contractor doing the work gets a building permit and all required inspections take place.

No Responses to “Can I change which room a fireplace opens into?”