Porch Fireplace Ideas
Fireplaces for screened porches or sunrooms can bring wonderful ambiance and be a stunning focal point. In many parts of the country, a fireplace can extend the outdoor living season into the cooler days of spring and fall, providing additional entertaining space for large gatherings and allowing for the enjoyment of a beautifully landscaped yard as a backdrop.
Fortunately, you can install a fireplace for your screened porch at any time, but it is most advantageous to do so when designing and adding the space to your home. This will afford you unlimited options on the size and design and it is usually less expensive.
The first decision to be made is whether to choose a custom-built masonry fireplace or a metal insert fireplace. A masonry fireplace is built with cement and firebrick and has a chimney and flue. The sizes and shapes are more flexible than a metal insert which is usually a rectangular box of various sizes. It is important to know that a masonry fireplace will usually be more costly than a metal insert. Regardless of which you choose for your screened porch or sunroom, the options for the surrounding materials are only limited by your imagination. The color, material, and placement of the stone, mantel, and hearth can create a beautiful custom look for your home.
Check out our blog post for more information on enjoying your outdoor living space longer.
Gas or Wood
The next decision when choosing a fireplace for your screened porch or sunroom is either gas or wood-burning. Both masonry and metal fireplaces can offer both of these options.
If you choose a metal insert firebox and a gas unit your next decision will be ventless or vented? Both types of metal inserts are self-contained, have no flue, and do not need a chimney. The main difference between the two is vented fireplaces typically vent the heat through the back of the unit while ventless gas units blow the heat through the front. A ventless gas fireplace is not recommended for the home interior as in a sunroom because it emits too much heat, but for an outdoor application, it’s perfect for keeping the porch toasty!
A plus in choosing a gas fireplace is the reduced cost to run it by having a remote control to turn the unit on and off. Another obvious plus is not needing to buy, cut, and gather wood, eliminating the clean-up that comes with a wood-burning fireplace. The gas fireplace doesn’t require a cooling time, nor does it propose the safety hazard that can come from cinders that often fly out.
If choosing a wood-burning fireplace built from scratch, it can be unique and customized to your specific taste. Be aware that wood-burning fireplaces can be costly: they need a full foundation and necessary chimney stack. According to code, chimney stacks must exceed the height of the roof and be within a specific distance from each side of the house.
Metal fireboxes can also be configured for wood burning and need a chimney but are usually less costly than building from scratch. Keep in mind with a wood-burning fireplace that any combustible material (such as furniture and rugs) must be a safe distance from the opening to assure less risk of unfriendly fire. Also, we recommend considering a designated area for storing wood.
One other idea is to install a fire pit on your screened porch. A fire pit can provide the cozy ambiance you are looking for at a fraction of the price. Most fire pits built on your deck will be gas-powered because wood-burning fire pits could emit sparks and cause damage to your decking or worse. Wood-burning fire pits are perfect additions to patios, but gas fire pits can easily be included on your porch and require little space and easy installation.
Sunroom Fireplace Ideas
Fireplaces are popular in sunrooms due to their ambiance and the additional warmth often needed in a room with numerous windows. The first question to answer: what is the primary purpose of your fireplace? If you are looking for a more comfortable room environment in colder climates, a traditional masonry fireplace may not be the most efficient for heating the room. Most of the warmth with these types of fireplaces rises through the chimney. On the other hand, a gas fireplace may be a better option since the heat doesn’t escape through the chimney but funnels into the room. Gas units do not require a flue and therefore are less costly, easier to install, and non-invasive to the home’s exterior.
If the purpose of a sunroom fireplace is ambiance alone, then there are other options available. An electronic fireplace can afford a cozy look and warmth to a room and serve as a focal point when entertaining or curling up with a book. Unlike traditional wood and gas fireplaces, electric fireplaces are vent-free and smoke-free and offer a zero-emissions heat source. These offer heat when and where you need it with no chimney, and they are easy to install and portable.
When choosing a fireplace for an indoor space such as a sunroom, there are several things to consider. Some of the same choices that are available for the screened porch can be considered except for one. The ventless fireplace can be a poor choice due to the exhaust fumes, including carbon monoxide that emits directly into the room. A porch has plenty of ventilation, whereas a sunroom is a closed environment and will hold the toxic gasses within the home. These gases are especially harmful to children, the elderly, and pets.
Another consideration is the structure of the sunroom. Glass roofed sunrooms, such as solariums, are not compatible with traditional masonry fireplaces because of the inability to install a chimney. In the case of this type of structure, an electric fireplace may be the answer, and they come in a variety of sizes and styles.