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How To: Building a Surround For an Electric Fireplace

Wall Mounted Electic

Your electric-fireplace can function better when it has a surrounding that keeps it protected from the elements. It will last you longer and serve you better when it does not get any water or moisture. When you know how to build a fireplace surround for an electric fireplace, you will be able to improve the look of your home. Your living space will also be more appealing, with the room’s main focal point being the fireplace. In this post on how to build a fireplace surround for an electric fireplace, you will learn:

  • Best materials for your fireplace mantel
  • Building a Custom Electric Fireplace Surround

Many fireplaces have a mantel that sits over the top and fireplace mantels are less common. However, you can improve the appearance of your living room by adding a fireplace surround. It is an excellent way of trying out your DIY skills and will bring an added market value to your house. Home depot and fireplace makeover equipment outlets have stocked prefabricated fireplace surrounds for your use, while others will build them for you. However, building on your own or with the help of one other person is still a viable option that is not only cost-effective but will prove profitable and affordable in the long run.

Typically, a fireplace-Surround consists of columns attached to either side of the mantle and are available in different styles and sizes. You will need to know the depth of the fireplace insert or the firebox in addition to the width of the façade. These measurements are important for determining the dimensions of the fireplace-Surround for the remodel. Some of the things that you should be aware of whenever you are designing the surround for your   electric fireplace insert  include: 

  • Size of the hearth
  • The heating source
  • Safety clearances required according to building codes
  • Existing furniture in the living room
  • Current room size and configuration

A fireplace-surround is made up of several components. First are the two columns followed by a header, which is also known as a breastplate and a mantel. All this is usually capped by a crown molding used to enhance the look of the surrounding.

One of the easiest and least expensive approaches to building a surround is to use MDF as the main building material. You can use this to create the different columns required for the various sections of the surround. These columns can be simply hollow boxes that can be assembled using glue, nails, screws, and Kreg jig. Apply a half-inch paint grade hardwood or soft wood trim to get the frame and panel look.

Depending on the depth of the surrounding, use a box for the header and build this from several layers of MDF (medium-density fiberboard). This is but a brief overview of the approach you can take to build the surround for your fireplace with cheaply available materials and a bit of creativity. However, let us identify the main materials that you can use for the undertaking before we can look at different styles and construction approaches for the electric fireplace-surround.

Best Materials for Fireplace Surrounds

While still on how to build a fireplace surround for an electric fireplace, you need to understand the fireplace is one of the soothing decorative elements that you can relax around with family members. It adds to the value of your home while creating a warm ambiance. you can create the surroundings from a wide range of materials, and this is one of the factors to consider when undertaking the fireplace-surround building project. Preferably, the surround should be made from a non-combustible material that protects from sparks, radiant heat, and ambers. Wood and plaster are known to be fire hazards and degenerate over time due to their constant fire and heat exposure. Following are some of the materials that are used for fireplace surrounds.


The design of this material is thin strips of stone joined vertically to create an appearance that has tiny edges and brings about a soft, inviting atmosphere. Without a traditional mantel or hearth, the firebox fits perfectly into the stone, making it look like an impeccable piece of artwork.


Marble fireplace-surrounds are known to be classy, elegant, and very warm. Marble is a common and available construction material and is available in a range of colors such as white, beige, granite, and cream. The material is also versatile and blends in with all types of décor and creates quite an attractive effect when paired with a wooden mantel.

Cast Iron

This looks amazing with electric fireplaces, and the design has different finishes with both Georgian and Victorian styles. They are quite versatile and can be paired with a limestone-clad mantel for that layered, eclectic feel.


Made in the late 1980s, this stone is a type of engineered quartz available in a wide variety of patterns and colors. It is known to be more affordable than natural stones and a particularly popular fireplace-surround for homeowners, architects, and interior designers.


Originating from Mexico, Southern California, and South Florida, this material is getting used in homes of all styles across the globe. Tile manufacturers use it to create hand-painted terracotta tiles that feature traditional, transitional, contemporary, tribal, and abstract patterns that can provide a unique look to any fireplace surround. The tiles are known to create a rustic look owing to their inconsistencies and imperfections.

Wood-Look Porcelain

Wood is not a recommended material for fireplace-surrounds owing to its flammability. However, if you are decided on hardwood, the wood-look porcelain tiles are an excellent alternative and provide the look and feel of genuine wood to your fireplace-surrounds but eliminate the danger of combustion.


Natural finishes and a crisp design makes the concrete fireplace-surrounds an ideal way to add a modern feel to home exteriors. They are also popular for their retention of the fire’s heat, which keeps your interiors warm. The concrete surrounds are available in different designs, textures, and colors and can lend a unique design element to your home.

Crackle Brick

Subway tiles are an important modern addition to any home and are a good choice for your fireplace. Handcrafted cackle bricks are available in different colors, sizes, and natural textures. They also create a rustic and casual look.

Fireplaces are known to have an appealing charm with the color, warmth, and brightness they bring to your home. Having known the materials that you can use for your fireplace-surround, creating one and upgrading its appearance will not be difficult, and as you would have been informed about what choice of materials to use for your home.

Fireplace Mantels

The mantel is the decorative shelf right above the surround with modern technology. You can have a video gallery or a photo idea gallery and flowers on the mantel in addition to arranging candles that complete the look and feel of your fireplace. You can even mount a floating wooden beam for the mantel. There are plenty of materials that you can use for the surround, such as brick, stone, marble, and tile. The mantel should match the style of your fireplace and be a fit with the general theme of your home.

Fireplace Tile Ideas

Tile will never disappoint when creating a unique and durable look for your fireplace. It is easy to maintain and easy to keep clean and adds color and texture to your room. To have a good tile surround for your fireplace, ensure that you choose the right size. A larger fireplace-surround and a bigger room will require a bigger tile size as this will ensure that it appears proportional to the available space. Smaller fireplaces and surrounds can do with a patterned mosaic tile of your choice color.

You can also elevate the look of your tile fireplace design using travertine and marble tile, which will give your fireplace a luxurious look. For natural-looking fireplaces, use the tiles that replicate the natural stone look or a stone veneer that will provide the same look without any challenges.

DIY Budget Shiplap Fireplace-Surround

While learning how to build a fireplace surround for an electric fireplace, a DIY shiplap is one home makeover that will be sure to lighten your master bedroom (you can choose the best electric bedroom fireplace here) and add character to it. It is a simple fireplace-surround design that is clean and neatly fits the space available. It brings plenty of texture and warmth to the existing fireplace and gives it a welcome feeling that will be instantly recognized by anyone that is visiting. The surround is also designed to be as effective as possible in bringing out the designer’s craftsmanship and a clear reflection of DIY quality work.

This kind of fireplace-surround begins by breaking the wall around the fireplace to create enough space for the upgrade. The upgrade will fill in the broken sections and will act to seal off external influences. It will also allow you to hide the built-in cabling and electrical connections into the detail in a manner that proves effective and efficient for your home. You will also need to create a frame for the fireplace-surround, which can be constructed out of 2×4 boards placed above the fireplace and at the sides. These should be a short distance from the wall and not clinging to the wall. This is because placing them in this way creates adequate space to fit in the other components of the fireplace-surround. It ensures that the design is spaced out to provide that architectural statement to anyone that looks upon it.

The next procedure is adding ¼” plywood to the upper part of the fireplace-surround using a nail gun. This should be painted white in case someone can still be able to see through the nail holes. It would be best if you covered the baseboard of the framework in ½” plywood and the top of the  fireplace mantel being constructed out of ½” plywood trimmed out in ½” strips cover the edge. Fill the edges of the trim work and the planks with wood filler. Perform some sanding before finally painting everything to achieve your final look and feel. It also saves you a lot of money as you do not need to buy any pre-cut trim. The final crowning of your achievement should be the crown molding, which completes the look.

You will majorly focus the budget for this undertaking on the lumber, molding, and ledge stone. These will be needed to create the box, which will act as the side of the surrounding and the top, which supports the other items that will appear at the top of the fireplace-surround. This is simple enough and will not take much time to shop around for what you require. As such, you will notice that your fireplace-surround gets to be constructed in less time, and you do not have to spend more on hiring someone. Instead, you get to do all the work by yourself and construct the fireplace as you would have intended to. This also means that the fireplace surrounds the final appearance will not have been creatively restricted in any way. You will also be in a position to determine how exactly it is going to look.

You must begin with a frame as this guides the rest of the installation process. It also ensures that you do not veer off course when installing your final components for the electric fireplace-surround. The portions immediately surrounding the fireplace can be filled with cement, combined with caulk bricks for an improved appearance. The caulk bricks are known to fill this space quite easily and will be a great home improvement over the dull appearance before you did the upgrade. Choosing a color scheme that balances with the rest of the room is also useful as it brings a contemporary look and feels to your electric fireplace.

The result should be a classy look that is warm and inviting in its appearance. With the correct selection of building materials for the undertaking, you will create something that will last for years to come. With the fireplace-surround in place, you will notice that your fireplace’s appearance drastically changes with lowes from the fireplace, and not much of the details are exposed. This is preferred as it ensures that most of the fireplace stays discrete, and it is also protected from the outside world. External elements cannot interfere with the operations of your fireplace, and you get to see more years of service from it. You also get to have a mantel top where you can have other things placed for beauty, and a mantel shelf serves your home very well.

The Shiplap fireplace build surround is affordable in its design yet very effective in the kind of result you can achieve. It is recommended for most homes as it does not take much to install. It also takes less time to get prepared, and the result is something that people will be amazed at. It is also pocket-friendly and encourages you to become more of a DIY fireplace projects person than going for the pre-built options, which are known to be very expensive. Taking your time to prepare the DIY items and materials for this installation is particularly important. Diy projects ensure that you get to upgrade your home’s look and also ensure constant warmth for its occupants.

Marble or Limestone Fireplace-Surround

A marble or limestone fireplace-surround is known to be much easier to install as compared to other kinds of fireplace-surrounds. This is because the slates’ size usually depends on the entire fireplace size, and larger slates take less time to install. You will have fewer units of marbles to install. When you take the time with each of the marbles, you will create an appearance that is appealing and ideal for your home. Marble is an excellent choice of material for the fireplace-surround installation. It is known to be quite conducive in terms of heat management. The marble does not soak in any water, which is a major advantage compared to the wooden alternatives. Whenever you are upgrading the look and feel of your fireplace, make sure that you consider marble for the installation.

The preparation process for the marble surround installation is not difficult. It requires that you do a bit of breaking down the wall that surrounds the fireplace. This is meant to create a working space within which you will install your fireplace-surround. It ensures that you can make an upgrade to your general fireplace appearance that everyone will appreciate. It would be best to clean off all the debris from the breaking down of the surrounding wall space. It would be best if you did not leave them to lie on the floor, which can be a bad distraction during the setup process. It is important to work with a clean surface as this will enable you to do your best work and have an easier time doing the installation.

Once you have completed the preparation, prepare some cement paste and apply it to the sides of the fireplace. Ensure that this paste fills the sides of the fireplace and does not leave gaps or cracks. With this out of the way, take the limestone or marble slates and fix them to the cement. Use a filler to ensure that the pieces are also pieced together and when you do this, ensure that you leave enough space between the slates. The slates also need to be arranged so that they will give you an overall visual effect that will attract people. A hurried job will not let you create this effect, and you are encouraged to take your time arranging the slates. The slates will form a pattern once you have several in place.

As soon as you have gotten the gist of how the arrangement should look like, fill in the rest of the marble slates or the limestone pieces and fix them together with the limestone. This will also improve the overall appearance of your fireplace as the limestone has a quite unusual pattern. This makes your surroundings feel extraordinary. This is quite a unique appearance and should be left to dry after installation. The result is something that proclaims your awesome design and is compatible with the heating requirements of your fireplace. The entire undertaking is also simple and does not take long to achieve. It is considered more affordable as all you need is the cement, the filler, and the limestone or marble slates to place over the cement. Remember to clean up after the installation to ensure that none of the details are off, and your final setup has an appearance that gives off a warm, welcome feeling.

building a surround for an electric fireplace

Fireplace-Surround Requirements

A fireplace-surround should not only be able to complement the fire that is within but should also blend with the surrounding décor. You can also opt to include lights into the fireplace-surround to make it appear more attractive and blend in with the rest of the room. The color you choose for your fireplace-surround should match with the rest of the home’s appearance. This is all up to you, and your decision will vary based on your favorite colors and what color scheme you have chosen for the fireplace-surround.

The heat should also not be lost from the fireplace at a rapid rate. As you select which components to use in constructing the fireplace-surround, ensure that you observe their heat capacities. This will prevent them from losing heat at a high rate and overtaking your fireplace to produce more heat. Materials that are capable of conserving heat are required for most installations. Whenever you take the time to research the heat properties of the materials you intend to use, you end up with a more functional and practical solution.

Benefits of a Fireplace-Surround

A fireplace-surround keeps your fireplace protected from elements that might deteriorate its active life. Its usefulness to you will be enhanced when you have protected it from elements of the weather. Heat is also preserved with the fireplace-surround, and you get to spend less on electricity bills, and it will also reduce heating costs. A good fireplace-surround will also make your home feel comfortable, appealing, and welcoming to your family and friends. They will be able to make many memories in front of the fireplace during the cold seasons.

One main advantage of the  electric fireplace is that you can use it to create attractive visuals for your home decor. No matter the season, you can still have the flame effects even when the fireplace is not producing any heat. This is useful for the summer season when you need your home to appear as colorful as possible. The fireplace-surround enhances this look and makes the fireplace the focal point of attraction in the home.

If you have heard of the MagikFlame story or read some MagikFlame reviews, then you know how MagikFlame is built, its payment plans, and financing. You can find the fireplaces on Amazon, and they are ideal for a faux fireplace as well as doubling up as bookcases. You can enhance a freestanding fireplace with a fireplace-surround. This is more effective and safer than a wood-burning fireplace. The faux fireplace installation process will spur your woodworking skills into action and you will love it. There are also drywall products that provide coziness and save you on winter heating costs.


To sum the tutorial up, building a surround for an electric fireplace is a simple process you can do independently. It will not cost you much and will be fun in the process. You get to have complete control over your upgrade process, and you choose what colors and materials to use for building the surround. In this way, you get to determine the final appearance of the fireplace-surround. You also choose what materials will affect the changes and appearance upgrades that you intend to have at your home. This step by step tutorial gives you everything you need to effect the changes you want to see and all the procedures involved.

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How To: Building a Surround For an Electric Fireplace