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Doug's DIY: I installed an electric fireplace and YOU can too!


Electric fireplaces have become very popular in real estate circles for a variety of reasons.

Electric fireplaces are:

•Easy to install (and de-install, should the mood strike you)

•Available in a variety of styles including linear (my favorite)

•Available with a variety of heating options if desired

•Economically friendly and better for the environment than their wood-burning counterparts

For my project in my Walnut Creek home, I first measured the space for the install and determined the proper sized fireplace. Do a little research here—make sure that you are getting the style you want, the wattage you prefer and the color options for the flame. Some of the fireplaces don’t look very natural, so read the fine print if you don’t want your fireplace to resemble an aquarium!

After receiving my fireplace (and loving it!) I did a mockup of the fireplace wall before beginning construction on the box and supports which would hold it in place. In order to accommodate the depth of the fireplace, I build a box that extended about six inches from the wall. Make sure that you have access to the electrical outlet to make the fireplace function!

The beauty of this box construction is that if for some reason I wish to remove the fireplace in the future, it can be accomplished with very little effort and damage to existing wall structure.

After completing the box, I affixed it carefully to the wall through the studs. I At this point, I was ready to apply the fireplace façade.

For the façade of my fireplace, I selected reclaimed redwood fencing which embraces the natural setting of my home. But you can get creative here! Shiplap is very popular, although more expensive than reclaimed lumber. Feel free to place drywall on the framework and add tile or stone if you prefer. The options are truly endless.

Throughout the process, I took the opportunity to “dry fit” the fireplace itself to make sure that the structure dimensions were correct. And before I knew it, the fireplace was finished. I slid the actual unit into place and applied trim pieces for a professional-looking finish.

And for fun, I put in a smaller unit downstairs using shiplap instead of reclaimed lumber!


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