Fireplace Builder Sets

If you want an outdoor fireplace, why not build it yourself? Don't panic! It's not as hard as it sounds. No one is asking you to quarry the stone, fire the brick, or even apply mortar. The basic components you need are readily available in prefabricated form and designed to fit easily together.

Here are some things to look for and think about if you want to take on this fun home project.

Insist on a Weatherproof Fixture

An outdoor fireplace has to stand up to the weather. You want it to be solidly built and rated for outdoor use. It shouldn't have any exposed cracks or holes where rain can get in. All joints and corners taped an a weather resistant acrylic sealer should be applied.

Decide what you want an outdoor fireplace for - If it's just to look pretty and add ambiance, you'll be happy with a simple gas fixture. If you want to roast marshmallows and hot dogs, you'll prefer a wood burning appliance. If your culinary aspirations go beyond that simple fare, you may want a fireplace that's attached to an outdoor grill.

Look For Heavy-duty Construction

Look for a galvanized steel frame that is cross braced for support. Surrounding cement board is a big plus. This fixture should be able to last for as long as you own your home without losing function or becoming unsightly due to wear and tear.

Choose Modular Design

"Modular" design is all the rage, and it should be. It just means that the parts are big and they fit together without a lot of work. You don't want to spend time with fiddly little bits that can get lost, or four dozen bricks that have to be mortared together. The interior portion should come fully assembled. The exterior should come in sheets that are easy to size and fit together in any configuration you need.

Think About the Distinctive Appearance

Virtually any custom finish is available for your outdoor fireplace. Choose a basic look-stone, marble, granite, brick, tile, or stucco. Think about what size you want the blocks to be. Bricks can be standard or large. Stone can involve smooth pebbles or jagged, outsized rocks. Then see what colors are available. Brick doesn't have to be red. It can be tan or pinkish. Stucco doesn't have to be off white. It can be gray, beige, or khaki. And even if it is off white, there will still be shades of that to choose from.

Remember the Added Value

It may seem pricey up front, even though you're putting it together yourself. But an outdoor fireplace that's well constructed can add plenty of value to your home. You'll more than likely recoup your investment and then some when it comes time to sell.