A fireplace is an amazing addition to any home. They’re also known to raise home value, but what if we told you there’s something even better? That’s right, a double-sided fireplace. But can you convert your original fireplace into a double-sided fireplace?
A fireplace can be altered to be double-sided by removing the back wall. Some factors could inhibit the project, such as a load-bearing wall or a deteriorating flue. Consulting a professional before work begins will help determine the ability to remove the fireplace’s back wall to turn it into a double-sided feature.
Changing a fireplace to a double-sided one is usually a simple home renovation project. However, not all fireplace projects are easy, so let’s get into some of the details below.
Can You Convert An Existing Fireplace Into A Double Sided Fireplace?
An existing fireplace can be converted to have two open sides with a little bit of research and planning. Before you begin, consider location, wall support, fireplace type, and cost.
Here are a few things to consider:
Before cutting into the back wall of our fireplace to make it double-sided, make sure the location is appealing.
For example, if the current fireplace is in your great room and the other side is in your bedroom, you may not want to make that fireplace double-sided. Sure, it would be nice to have a fireplace in the bedroom. However, this position does remove room privacy as the double-sided fireplace provides a see-through view between the rooms.
2. Wall Support
The portion of the wall you will be cutting into might be providing structural support for the chimney above. Before removing any masonry, speak to a masonry professional to make certain that removing the bricks will not cause a collapse of the chimney above.
3. Fireplace Type
A two-sided wood-burning fireplace will need a chimney exhaust fan to suck the smoke into the chimney. Without it, the flue will not be able to exhaust the smoke with the back wall removed.
A ventless gas fireplace is a good option because there is no exhaust. Also, a glass-paned vented gas fireplace could also be a great option.
Below we will go into more detail on the costs related to this project. On a quick note, the price of the project will increase due to: adjusting a load-bearing wall, reworking masonry, and installing an exhaust fan.
How Much Does It Cost To Make A Fireplace Double Sided?
A homeowner can expect to pay $6,100 – $18,000 for a converted fireplace to have two open sides. The cost is based on national averages for materials and labor. Costs can be kept down by doing some of the easy work yourself or by choosing less expensive options (no exhaust fan will save you $2000-$3700, for example)
A wood-burning fireplace is charming. However, a double-sided one requires investing in a chimney exhaust fan. This is an expensive part to add to your chimney. It does improve the airflow and helps to remove exhaust from your home, thus making it essential. The fan costs $2,000 – $3,700 (plus more for additional installation costs).
A gas fireplace system can save you money by not needing a chimney exhaust fan. It comes at the expense of a crackling fire—but it does mean that you would not need to chop wood or clean out the ash. A two-sided ventless gas insert costs between $1,000 -$2,500 with installation adding another $3,000 – $4,000.
A direct vent system produces a more realistic flame. The cost for this is a bit more than a ventless system.
With all the options, there is masonry or wall removal that needs to be done. Depending on the difficulty, the cost runs anywhere from $150 – $7,900. That’s a wide range, but sometimes there’s not much that needs to happen, while other times a complete overhaul of structural support is needed.
|Two-sided ventless insert||$1000-$2500|
|Insert installation||$3000-$4000 (higher for direct vent system)|
|Chimney exhaust fan||$2000-$3700|
What Are The Benefits Of A Double Sided Fireplace?
A fireplace with two sides adds intrigue to your living space. The fireplace becomes a central statement piece in two rooms, tying them together. The double-sided fireplace adds: additional heating in two rooms, open concept appeal, and increased home value.
- Additional heating. By having the fireplace functioning in two rooms means that the fireplace can heat both rooms instead of just one.
- Open concept. It can be costly to remove a fireplace. Instead of removing the fireplace, make it two sided to open the rooms. Double-sided fireplaces are see-through, so you can connect two rooms without needing to remove walls.
- Increased home value. A fireplace you can see through is a feature that is unique and custom. This touch improves the look and feel of your home and improves the resale value.
What Are The Disadvantages Of A Double Sided Fireplace?
Double-sided fireplaces connect two rooms, so a double-sided fireplace is not a good idea if you want privacy in one of the rooms. Converting a regular fireplace into a double-sided one also comes with potentially high costs and a change to the structural support.
- The costs. Changing an existing fireplace is expensive. This is especially true when it comes to altering structural support and installing new equipment. This fireplace project is costly, but the stunning visual outcome may be worth the investment. In addition, your home value will also rise, so your cost may be recouperated.
- Structural support. Whenever a chimney or wall is altered, the structural support needs to be considered. Is the wall or chimney’s masonry load bearing? If so, extra measures need to be made to ensure the wall remains structurally sound throughout the project.
- Gas fireplace vs wood fireplace. Generally, a fireplace with two sides functions better as a gas system. It costs less and requires less money to install. For some, losing the crackling charm of a wood burning fireplace is a disadvantage.