“How do I pick out a new Fireplace?!”

There are many factors that require consideration when selecting your fireplace unit.  Some details depend on specific information in relation to the condition and circumstance of the existing space, so this guide is only an overview.  To ensure you are making decisions best suited for your situation, be sure to discuss all the details with a qualified professional.   My hope is that this information will familiarize you enough so that when you visit the websites of the fireplace brands, or go into a fireplace retail showroom, what you see won’t be completely overwhelming.

There is some basic information that will help narrow down the selection for gas fireplaces.  The first thing to establish is whether you need a fireplace unit or a fireplace insert If your fireplace is currently, or was ever, wood-burning, then you need an insert.  Inserts were designed to fit within existing masonry boxes.  If you are installing a new gas fireplace or replacing a gas fireplace with another (that has always been gas), you don’t need an insert (unless the one you are replacing is an insert).


The size of the fireplace is the next determination.  If you are replacing a fireplace and want to stay within the existing cavity, to avoid major demo and cost, then the overall size of what we are working within needs to be calculated.   An element that impacts the size of the fireplace unit, is the fireplace hearth.  If your current fireplace has a raised hearth, will you be removing it?  If your current fireplace doesn’t have a raised hearth, do you want one?  Your decision will filter your options in relation to the size.  A term relating to the size,  is the “viewing area”, referring to the glass section that you see the flame through.


An important consideration is whether you want a “Traditional” or a “Contemporary” Fireplace..this refers to the burner.  Traditional burners have central flames, and Contemporary burners have a linear flame.


Sink Division

Central Traditional Flame or Linear Contemporary Flame


Although not necessarily the very next decision, but one that really sets the character of your fireplace, is the bed the flames derive from, and/or mingle with.  This is referred to as the Media, and includes wood, crystals, rocks… (see some examples below).   Some brands put together kits, including various options that are meant to coordinate with one another.  Depending on brand, not all media is available in both the Traditional and Contemporary Flames.

Riobel Boomerang Faucet Feature

The interior decorative panels that line the fireplace box, include reflective glass, metal, brick and stone, offered in a variety of colours and layout patterns, depending on style of fireplace and brand.

Gas Permit

Typically a gas permit is aquired when replacing a fireplace.  Usually the fireplace supplier/installer or gas fitter, depending on the corcumstance, can pull the gas permit when replacing or installing the fireplace.  


The amount the fireplace is recessed or pulled proud of the face, depends on the effect desired.  It is considered in conjunction with the material that will be used on the face of the fireplace.  There are various trim and accent pieces available.  These affect the overall look of the fireplace, and are sometimes necessary, or even not possible to use, depending on the fireplace surround design.

The type of fireplace you choose will dictate the fireplace clearance to combustibles required (how low a mantle and/or tv can be, and whether you need a hearth or non-combustible before the flooring surface).


Depending on the placement and/or look desired, you may choose to use a faceplate or frame for your fireplace.  There are 4-sided faceplates and 3-sided faceplate.  If you want a raised or “floating” fireplace, you would choose a 4-sided, which has a cross piece at the bottom.  A 3-sided faceplate will sit on the floor.  Your options will be impacted by your venting.
Single-sided, two-sided, three-sided can also refer to how many “viewing areas” a fireplace has, for example, whether it is see-through or not.  
Faceplates come in various materials and colours, widths, and styles (and even shapes).  
Some brands/models offer “fronts”.  This refers to the frame of the fireplace unit, and comes in a variety of styles (vignette or louvers) and colours.
Some brands/models offer “inlays”.  This refers to the framing details of the fireplace unit.  


Although this is a fair bit of information, especially if this is new to you, there are additional details to cover during a focused meeting, such as non-combustible clearances, especially if you are considering a wall-mounted tv over the fireplace, or wondering if you need a fireplace hearth.  There is a specific process that is followed to determine which fireplace is best-suited for your household and lifestyle.

We can book a special one-on-one appointment at the
Fireplace Showroom

Let’s talk about what fireplace would best suit your household and lifestyle.

I’d love to hear from you!

call/text 604-365-4151 or email Amber@DesignerWest.ca
Serving Langley, Surrey, Abbotsford, Delta, and the surrounding areas.