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Building an Electric Fireplace Enclosure: Step by Step

fram an electric fireplace insert

More people choose to buy an electric fireplace because of the benefits it offers to different types of rooms in the home. Although a fireplace insert is energy-efficient and functional, you may want to add a fireplace enclosure to make it look like a built-in feature that came with your home to boost it’s visual appeal and functionality. If you’re new to the process, it’s important to follow a step by step guide to ensure you can create a beautiful feature that looks like a professional built it. 

In this post, you will learn:

  • What is a Fireplace Enclosure?
  • How to Build an Electric Fireplace Enclosure
  • Benefits of Building the Fireplace Enclosure Yourself
  • Where to Find a Fireplace Enclosure
  • Advantages of Fireplace Enclosures
  • How to Decorate an Electric Fireplace Enclosure

What is a Fireplace Enclosure?

A fireplace enclosure is a one-piece frame that mounts the electric fireplace and sits outside of the opening against a flat surface. The feature can enhance the design of your electric fireplace and can draw more attention to it to ensure it becomes the main focal point in the room. It’s considered to be one of the easiest DIY projects if you’re comfortable using a few basic tools. Not only does it have attractive elements, but it also works as a barrier to protect the rest of the materials in the home from the heat of the fireplace. The masonry and materials used to construct the enclosure shouldn’t be affected by the heat.

It’s also important to add a cut-out on the back for the electrical cord to fit through to ensure it can be plugged into an outlet on the wall behind the enclosure. Fortunately, you don’t have to hire an electrician to install the insert or connect any wires into the wall, which can save time and money.

Practicing proper safety when building the enclosure yourself is necessary to avoid getting burned or having damage to any of the materials. The combustible materials you use should be six inches away from the opening of the firebox, along with any other features that can burn easily.

There are six different materials you can consider using when building a fireplace surround to ensure it lasts long-term and can work well for mounting the insert. The materials you use depend on the style you want to achieve and how long you want it to last in the coming years. Steel is a durable and solid material to use that can create an industrial and modern design in the home or office. It’s one of the most popular materials to use for this project and can be painted in different color shades to match the color scheme of your room. You may want it to blend into the wall or even have a pop of color, depending on the look you want to achieve.

Wood is also a common choice that adds a contemporary touch to the interior setting, whether you have a light and airy setting or want to achieve a farmhouse look. A shiplap fireplace is a popular choice that can allow you to add a rustic feature. This type of fireplace doesn’t need to look perfect because the imperfections add character and charm as you make it look worn. Concrete is another option to consider that has clean lines and natural finishes and can heat up the space faster because it works well for retaining heat. Concrete is highly resistant and comes in different textures and color shades.

If you’re looking for an upscale and regal design, opt for using stone for extra texture near the fire. There are a variety of styles and designs to create with the material to ensure it complements your living room or bedroom wall.

Brick is one of the most popular materials to use if you’re looking to achieve a traditional style that doesn’t look outdated in the coming years. Brick adds a touch of warmth and is also easy to paint. Tiles are also a decorative feature when you want to incorporate a unique pattern or multiple colors in the room. The style should also work well with different types of decor items you plan to use to ensure you can change up how you decorate it over time.

Consider if your style is likely to change in the coming years if you like to keep up with the latest trends. If your style changes frequently, opt for a material that is natural and can blend in with different styles. If you have an interior design style that you can enjoy for the next decade, then this should influence the type of material you choose for the enclosure. Browsing a photo idea gallery can offer inspiration and allow you to settle on a few styles you prefer. A video gallery can also allow you to make a list of different decorative features or elements to include.

The cost of each material is another factor to consider to ensure it works within your budget for the project. You’ll need to calculate how much of the material you need to use after drafting a sketch of the enclosure to get an idea of how much you’ll spend at your home improvement store like Lowe’s or Home Depot. Any additional decorative elements also need to be factored into the cost.

Advantages of Fireplace Enclosures

After you purchase a fireplace insert, there are many reasons you should consider building a fireplace enclosure. For those with children or pets in the home, the feature can keep them a safe distance away from the insert to avoid injuries or accidents.

Fireplace enclosures also create a more upscale look with your insert and can cause them to look more expensive. When they feature a mantle, they provide you with a spot for displaying your framed photos, accent pieces, and vases.

If you’re handy with tools, fireplace enclosures aren’t too difficult or complex to construct if you follow the right steps. With crown molding, it can even blend in with the rest of the room to prevent it from looking like a temporary fixture that is easy to move.

The enclosure also props the insert up and can allow you to have a spot to place it if you don’t want to install it directly into a wall. You can decide the height you want it to sit at to ensure it offers enough warmth in the room and doesn’t look awkward with its placement.

Fireplace enclosures are also ideal for renters who want to create a built-in look without cutting into the wall. You can still enjoy the look of having a fireplace in a rental property without worrying about fines from the landlord. You can have the freedom of moving the feature to another wall or room to ensure you can change the layout of your interior setting at any time without having to work around the fireplace.

Not only is the enclosure easy to move, but you can also take it with you to another home in the future to continue using the feature. You don’t have to leave it behind or worry about building another fireplace in your new home.

Fireplaces also add a cozy ambiance and warm touch to the setting that can allow your house to feel like a home. It can add extra character to a bland room and allow you to have a main feature that your other furniture pieces center around for a proper flow. It can make your living room appear more inviting, especially when you have guests over. It can also fill in a bare wall in your master bedroom or office.

How to Build an Electric Fireplace Enclosure

If you want to learn how to build an electric fireplace enclosure and following a tutorial, it’s important to start by collecting the right materials and tools to ensure everything you need is within reach. According to H2obungalow, the supplies you’ll need include 1/2-inch plywood, 2 x 4s, woodgrain trim, 3-inch wood screws, and 2-inch pocket screws.

The tools you’ll need include a table saw, compound miter saw, drill, Kreg jig, sander, caulk gun, brad nailer, level, measuring tape, and builders square. You may be able to rent certain tools at a local home improvement store if you don’t already own them.

One of the best ways to build a fireplace surround with a craftsman style is to build a basic frame that you can trim out into any style. You can fit the feature to any size or type of electric fireplace insert. Start by measuring the size of the frame that you need, depending on how much wall space you have available in the room. You may also want to build a fireplace enclosure that has a space-saving design to ensure you can move it to other rooms of the home in the future.

Consider building the face of the frame first on a flat surface facing down for your plywood to sit on for a straighter placement and frame. You can also mark each board as you cut them to avoid grabbing the wrong item or miscutting something. You can also mark where you plan to place your pocket nail holes with a pen or marker. This can make it easier to avoid mistakes or second-guess yourself when working with a lot of pieces.

Once you’ve built your base and base, start by covering the base before attaching the frame for extra stability. You can then attach it to the wall at the studs with your nail gun. Attach the plywood to the frame of the fireplace while considering where the seams will be placed under the trim. There should be minor cutouts present to ensure it sits flush against the baseboard on the wall.

The front of the fireplace should be even on both sides of the opening. When it comes to placing the mantel top piece on the enclosure, add it to the top of the enclosure and use a pencil on any of the excess material to determine where you need to cut it for a proper fit.

You can now use wood filler to fill in the nailhead holes and seams on the sides and front of the fireplace where trim won’t be covering it.

Start by sanding the exterior of the fireplace enclosure to sand down where joints meet. Vacuum up every surface of the fireplace to remove any excess sawdust that is present. This is necessary before you plan to add a coat of primer, paint, or shiplap boards. Consider priming everything with a light gray primer because it offers better coverage for your topcoat, especially if you plan to paint the entire enclosure white. Apply a full coat of paint before applying the trim if you plan to use pre-finished trim. You should only have to use one topcoat to match the paint color, which will make it quick and easy to apply the finish.

Benefits of Building the Fireplace Enclosure Yourself

When you want to learn how to build an electric fireplace enclosure, it’s also important to understand the benefits of building it yourself. Building a fireplace enclosure can allow you to have complete control over the process to ensure it’s specific to your vision. You can choose what types of decorative elements you want to add or the size to ensure it accommodates your interior setting.

Building a fireplace enclosure yourself can also save a significant amount of money instead of hiring a contractor to build the feature. You don’t have to worry about paying thousands of dollars for the labor and can keep your costs low if you only have to pay for the materials. It can also allow you to stay within your budget when you want to remodel your interior setting and make it look updated.

Although you may need to purchase a few tools, the cost is significantly lower than hiring a professional and can allow you to use the tools on future projects. You can have peace of mind knowing you’ll build it exactly as you prefer instead of risk feeling unsatisfied with the enclosure that the contractor builds.

Building a DIY fireplace enclosure also means owning a product that is more durable and higher-quality than one that you purchase from a manufacturer. The enclosure can have a more solid structure and better character instead of looking like it’s been mass-produced with the materials and faux brick.

There are additional features you can add to the DIY faux fireplace to make it specific to your space, whether you prefer to have extra shelves around it or you want a large fireplace mantel. Consider purchasing two bookcases to add to each side of the insert, which can create a uniform look that offers extra storage space.

The DIY fireplace build project can also allow you to strengthen your woodworking skills and develop more confidence in building different items in the near future.

electric fireplace enclosure

Where to Find a Fireplace Insert

When you’re planning to build your own DIY fireplace, you also need to consider the type of insert you plan to use. It’s important to purchase the electric insert in advance because the feature will determine how much use you get out of it, even if you have a beautiful enclosure. You can always customize the style and design of the DIY enclosure, but you can’t alter the construction of the insert.

Start by looking online to find an insert that is reliable and emits enough heat into the room where you plan to install it. Review the BTUs to ensure they can distribute enough heat. The graphics and technology used are important factors to consider when narrowing down your options because they’ll determine how realistic the flames look.

Some of the top models in the industry that feature realistic flames include Touchstone Sideline and MagikFlame Trinity. Both products feature quality materials and are easy to use with their operation.

MagikFlame is considered to have the most advanced technology in the industry because it uses patented holographic technology with a screen that makes it look like a real fire is burning in the firebox. The Magikflame story is unique because the brand was founded by Howard Birnbaum, an entrepreneur with a background creating f/x special effects in the film industry for major motion pictures. When he was unable to find a fireplace with realistic flames to install in his home, he decided to make his own product with his skills and knowledge of special effects.

It’s important to review the different types of features you want in your next fireplace to ensure you select something that accommodates your needs and works well with a living room makeover. Review the MagikFlame electric fireplace buying guide to view the different models available to narrow down your top options. You can also find many of the brand’s products on Amazon, which will allow you to have the fireplace delivered to your front door for added convenience. You can also read Magikflame reviews to get insight into other customers’ experiences using the brand’s products to ensure you can learn about the pros and cons.

Many consumers also select MagikFlame fireplaces compared to other top brands in the industry because of how Magikflame is built. The company manufactures all of it’s products in Nashville, Tennessee without sourcing any parts or materials from overseas. The materials are known to last longer and don’t suffer from issues compared to fireplaces that are imported.

You can also contact the company directly to order the fireplace you select or learn about the payment plans and financing available when you’re ready to make your purchase.

How to Decorate an Electric Fireplace Enclosure

Once you’ve completed your DIY electric fireplace, you can start planning how you want to decorate it to ensure it blends in seamlessly with the surroundings to ensure you love it. The way that you style it also determines how much attention it attracts.

Take advantage of the fireplace mantle when it comes to styling the fireplace build. You can add candlestick holders, dried flowers, and an oversized mirror to make it visually appealing. The bookcase or bookshelves that are attached will also provide a place for storing some of your favorite novels.

There are also many items you can add in front of the feature on the ground, which includes a woven basket with a blanket or a pouf. Compared to a gas fireplace, the glass doors on electric fireplaces don’t get hot to the touch, which means you can place more items close to the fireplace. You also don’t have to worry about embers flying out and making items catch on fire. This can provide you with more flexibility with how you style the product and make it contribute to your home decor. Watching a tutorial can provide you with more ideas on how to style the item.

You can also add a decorative rug in front of the electric fireplace to add extra warmth and draw more attention to the feature. The rug will add a cozy touch and can provide your pets or children with a warm place to sit and enjoy the fire.

Adding a wood plank wall behind or around the enclosure can also allow the feature to look like it was crafted by a professional. This is a great option for those who want to create a farmhouse style with shiplap materials. The shiplap planks used during your fireplace makeover can be added directly on top of the drywall and will make the fixture look built-in.

By following a detailed guide on how to build an electric fireplace enclosure, it can allow you to construct a beautiful feature that lasts for many years to come. The item can enhance the look and appeal of your electric fireplace and contribute to the design of your interior setting as you get plenty of use out of the fireplace.

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