Cleveland New Construction Fireplaces: Home Buyers Beware!
It is time new construction home buyers become educated about one of the most important elements of their home: The Fireplace. When building a home, countless hours are spent choosing the home layout, hard wood flooring, carpeting, counter tops, kitchen cabinets, paint color, landscaping etc. However, it is a sad state of affairs that more time is spent picking hearth brick or hearth stone colors than deciding on the correct fireplace heating option for your new home.
The fireplace is the heart of your home. The focal centerpiece for your family and friends. Have you ever been to a house without a fireplace? If you have, it simply does not feel like a home. Every true home has a fireplace and it is the most over looked element when building a new home. Home builders will likely tell you that the fireplace unit is just a detail and that they will “take care of it” with a “high efficiency unit.” The uneducated home buyer trusts their builder’s judgement and simply says, “OK!” If you were to buy a car, would you entrust the salesman to choose the make, model, engine size, safety features and trim package for you as long as he let you pick the car color? So then why would you let your home builder decide the make, model, heat output, face option and trim package on your fireplace as long as he lets you choose the hearth color? In the fireplace industry, we witness homeowners paying attention only to the aesthetics of their new construction fireplaces without considering the actual performance of their unit. This happens time and time again on low budget builds, as well as high end custom homes and it always results in the same outcome: Home Owners Are Not Happy!
So if home buyers are not happy long term with the new construction fireplaces built into their home, why do home builders install these cheap direct vent units? Great question, and the answer lies in simple economics. Your home builder has the price of your new construction direct vent gas fireplace worked out to make a profit. He knows how much the wood framing costs, how much the finished stone costs and how much the labor will cost. He also knows that there is a considerably high preconceived value for how much a fireplace “should” cost. More than twenty years ago, almost all homes were built with an all masonry fireplace. Homes have been built with a masonry fireplace as their heat source in America since our country was settled. Masonry fireplaces can cost anywhere from $5,000-$15,000 for a master mason to build.
Today, there are better heating options for your home than building a masonry fireplace. Home builders have been building new construction homes with direct vent gas fireplaces, which are easier to install and can provide you with a more efficient heat output. The down side is that the number one place home builders will save themselves money, will be with the direct vent gas unit they install. Often, larger home builders exclusively use new construction fireplaces from a single manufacturer since they receive discounts, as well as cash bonuses and incentives for brand loyalty. Home builders can purchase direct vent gas new construction fireplaces anywhere from $500 to $6,000 and the home owner will never know the difference.
That is until they turn on their gas fireplace and begin asking questions.
“Is the flame supposed to be that small?”
“Does this look like a natural wood fire to you?”
“Does it feel like the room is heating up?”
“Why does it feel like the room is getting colder?”
“Isn’t there supposed to be a blower on our fireplace?”
However, as you are asking question your home builder is at the bank cashing your check. It can get to the point that you may even feel embarrassed to turn your fireplace on when friends and family visit.
The proper homework and due diligence can prevent a $10,000 new construction fireplace headache. If a quality unit is installed, you will experience years of enjoyment and memories around your fireplace. If an $500 unit is installed and you are dissatisfied in 2 years, you will be looking at another $8,000 – $10,000 investment for a new unit, demolition of your existing hearth, new framing and new stone for your hearth and facing. This is not a “weekend warrior” project to say the least. So why buy twice?
Here is my expert advice coming from 33 years in the hearth and home industry: seek help from a qualified, professional fireplace store. Ask your builder for the make and model numbers of the new construction fireplace he will be installing. Prior to you visiting the fireplace store, search on the internet for pictures and videos of the unit your builder will be installing. Take all of the information to a trusted fireplace shop and ask for advice. Then, compare what you have seen online to the models in store and highlight their differences. Fireplace shops are specialists in the home building and reconstruction industry. Here at Country Stove Patio & Spa we believe in helping you select a customizable fireplace that will increase the value of your home and keep you warm on the coldest days. Rely on our experience to help you find both a stunning and high performing direct vent gas fireplace for your beautiful new home.
This has been a public service announcement.
Country Stove Patio & Spa is located at:
6669 Royalton Rd. North Royalton, OH 44133