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5 Steps To Remodel Your Pre-Fab Fireplace

In only 5 steps you can take your pre-fab fireplace from drab to fab!

This DIY project will not only improve the appearance of your fireplace, but also the safety and efficiency of it!

 May 24, 2017    Do It Yourself

5 steps to remodel your prefab fireplaceIs your pre-fab fireplace looking outdated?  Are you embarrassed by the state of your zero clearance fireplace? With these 5 steps, you can improve the look of your fireplace, which will transform the look of the entire room! 

Step 1: Clean Your Fireplace

Cleaning A Fireplace With Gas Logs

  1. Using a vacuum attachment, vacuum around your gas logs to pick up dust, soot, and debris.  (If you have lava granules, please don't do this step). 
  2. Take a damp cloth and wipe down your ceramic logs. There is no need to pull them apart. Some log sets aren't made to come apart.  Just wipe them down to get any dust and soot off of them. And, using that same cloth, wipe down the inside of your fireplace. 

Cleaning Wood Burning Fireplaces

  1. You'll need to shovel out all of the ash and dispose of it. Your fireplace tools work well to do this. Use the shovel to get the majority of it, and the brush to get the last bits. Use the brush attachment on your vacuum to get all the nitty-gritty.
  2. Once everything is removed from your fireplace, you'll want to clean it.  You can use one of our hearth cleaners like Speedy White, or you can go the natural route and make a paste of warm water and cream of tartar.  Just spread the paste onto any soot-covered areas, let it sit for 30 minutes, then wipe off with a damp cloth. Make sure to clean the inside of your firebox, as well as the hearth and surround.


How to remodel your pre-fab fireplace infographic!Step 2: Paint Your Fireplace And Surround

A new crisp coat of paint on the black steel of your firebox, as well as a whitewashing of your brick or stone surround, will create an entirely new look for your fireplace.

  1. If you have any rust on the black steel that goes around your firebox, take a piece of steel wool and rub it off.  Using a damp cloth, wipe it down, making sure to get all the flecks of the rust off the surface.
  2. Tape around the black steel of your fireplace, protecting the stone, tile, brick, or glass. Then use a high-temperature black paint to re-paint the steel surround of your pre-fab fireplace.
  3. Make sure the stone, tile, or brick of your fireplace surround is dry from the cleaning you did previously, then cover the firebox and steel to protect it from the whitewash paint.
  4. Make a mixture of 50% white latex paint and 50% water. Stir well. Paint your brick or stone with the whitewash, making sure to get into all of the crevices. Apply as many coats as needed for full coverage.

You could stop here, but for a more efficient fireplace, we encourage you to continue in your transformation.

Step 3: Install Or Update Your Fireplace Door

If your fireplace is looking outdated, most likely your old glass fireplace doors are contributing to that. If you didn't have doors on your fireplace at all, you've been losing a lot of your home's heat right up your chimney. A new set of doors come with insulation and mounting hardware, and most are quite easy to install.

  1. Measure your fireplace so that you have accurate measurements of the width and height of your firebox. Do not depend on the manufacturer's owner's manual or tag. Measure it yourself for the most reliable measurements. For a great print out and instructions on measuring your prefab fireplace, click here.
  2. If you mesh curtain was in bad shape in your fireplace, getting replacement curtains is quite easy. At the very least, your fireplace should have a mesh curtain, helping to keep the sparks and embers inside the fireplace when it is in use.
  3. There are many zero clearance fireplace doors to choose from. We highly recommend the Rainbow Fireplace Door, which has different color choices for the frame and comes pre-assembled for a very easy and quick installation.

At this point, your fireplace and surround are looking so different!  You can hardly imagine what else you'd need to make it better .... but we can!

Step 4: Install A Mantel Shelf

Steel mantel shelves kick your fireplace decor up a huge notch by giving it a more modern design. Plus they are super durable and create a heat shield so you can mount your tv above it, and the heat from the fireplace won't hurt it at all!

  1. Choose a mantel shelf that compliments the color of your fireplace doors and surrounds. With dozens of finishes to choose from, you're sure to find one that matches your taste. These mantel shelves are so sturdy, they can even hold the weight of a normal-sized adult!

If no matter what you do with your firebox, you're just not happy with the look because of the clunky black exterior, then step 5 is just for you!

Step 5: Install A Refacing (Optional)

If the idea of painting your fireplace and installing a new door has you worried that 1-it won't help the overall look enough for your taste and 2-it's going to be too difficult and involved, then we suggest you look at a refacing for your zero clearance fireplace.

  1. Measure your fireplace very well, then choose a refacing that fits your decor tastes.
  2. Choose one of the many different designs for custom refacing.

Some great things about refacing are they install in seconds. No having to drill or screw anything in. No need for any tools at all. These just pop into place over the top of your fireplace exterior using rare earth magnets! They are super sturdy, too! Another positive about refacing is they cover the entire black steel surround of your firebox. They are specially made to cover the louvers that push heat out, without blocking the heat flow. You can get a new modern look for your fireplace, and these refacing even have real working doors!

When you are remodeling your fireplace, remember it is always a great time to have a good sweep done of your chimney. Also, please follow codes for your area when remodeling. Remember there are specific distances that combustibles need to be away from your fireplace to stay up to code and to keep your family safe.

Last updated on March 7th 2022.


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