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How Much Does an Outdoor Fireplace Cost?

To increase the utility of an outdoor space and make the area more attractive, an outdoor fireplace can be the perfect addition. A fireplace outdoors radiates warmth and heat, which is ideal in colder temperatures or just to roast marshmallows with your friends. However, the cost of such a big project is definitely something to keep in mind. Use this cost guide for a better understanding of what kinds of outdoor fireplaces are available, their pros and cons, what kind of materials are available and how much installation typically costs.

The Costs

  • Approximate Minimum Cost of a Professionally-Installed Outdoor Fireplace: $1,400
  • Approximate Maximum Cost of a Professionally-Installed Outdoor Fireplace: $20,000

Advantages of an Outdoor Fireplace

Perhaps the biggest advantage of installing an outdoor fireplace in a backyard or patio is that it can turn a day-use area into a space perfect for nighttime gatherings. Whether simply for casual gatherings where children make s'mores and adults enjoy a drink in the bask of the flame, or for more formal entertaining, an outdoor fireplace truly does make the great outdoors a little more inviting and welcoming. In addition, an outdoor fireplace allows residents to cook al fresco, which is a big help during hot summer months. Rather than sweating over a hot stove in the kitchen, it is easy and convenient to cook steaks or even pizzas in an outdoor fireplace. Finally, it is impossible to overlook the aesthetic appeal that a fireplace can bring to an outdoor space. Even during the day, a large outdoor fireplace serves as a focal point and an eye-catching detail that enhances the look of the entire area.

Disadvantages of an Outdoor Fireplace

Unfortunately, not everything about outdoor fireplaces is positive. For many homeowners, the biggest drawback is simply the expense. Even pre-made fireplaces can easily cost upwards of $1,000, and that amount may simply not fit into the budget. Safety can also be a significant issue, as children will need to be watched carefully whenever an outdoor fireplace is lit. The smoke may also be unpleasant, particularly if there is no wind blowing or if the air happens to be especially stagnant. People with respiratory problems or asthma may want to avoid outdoor fireplaces for this reason. Finally, another drawback of the outdoor fireplace is that it requires significant maintenance in order to keep it looking great and functioning well over time.

Choosing Between Customized and Ready-Made Outdoor Fireplaces

Homeowners who have their heart set on an outdoor fireplace will have one significant decision to make: whether to invest in a customized fireplace or purchase an already-constructed fireplace that simply needs to be installed in the right location. Pre-fabricated fireplaces, which are often made from a strong and durable reinforced concrete, can be delivered to an outdoor space and then be ready to use within a few hours. The pre-fab fireplace usually costs somewhere around $1,500, although that number can certainly depend on factors like materials and size. The far more expensive option is a fully customized fireplace, which can cost upwards of $8,000, but it may be worth it for the unique and upscale look it brings to the property.

The Right Location for an Outdoor Fireplace

The position of an outdoor fireplace can make a big difference in how often it is used, how problematic the smoke is and even the privacy enjoyed enjoyed by those gathered around the fireplace. When choosing the right location for an outdoor fireplace, these tips are the best place to start:

  • Check and confirm the prevailing wind direction
  • Choose a private location that still offers scenic views
  • Check local zoning laws to ensure the fire is far away enough from any structures
  • Pick a space large enough to accommodate seating

Extras to Consider For an Outdoor Fireplace

Although the primary objective of an outdoor fireplace is generally to provide light and warmth, a few extra additions can prove to be extra useful. Adding a large hearth to the front of the fireplace can create a warm place to sit, which is very useful for homes located in cold climates. The hearth can also be a simple way to accommodate more guests when there are not enough chairs available. Another easy addition is a mantel, which creates the warm, cozy feeling that is so often associated with fireplaces. Finally, a practical addition for an outdoor fireplace is a matching box to hold additional firewood. This addition can be made from the same materials as the fireplace, and it is the perfect way to add extra storage without distracting from the beauty of the area.

Popular Materials Used in Outdoor Fireplaces

The cost of an outdoor fireplace can vary depending on a number of different factors like size and geographic location, but there is no doubt that the material used in construction plays the largest role of all. Whether for pre-fabricated outdoor fireplaces or customized fireplaces, here is a sample of the various materials that can be selected, how they are used and any price information.

  • Reinforced Concrete: For natural gas or propane flames, affordable
  • Cast Concrete: Popular for pre-fab models, affordable, heavy
  • Brick: Durable, used for custom fireplaces
  • Stucco: Ideal for custom fireplaces, more expensive
  • Natural Stone: Custom models, most expensive material

Take Into Account Installation Expenses

The final thing to take into consideration when pricing outdoor fireplaces is the cost of installation. Pre-fabricated fireplaces will require very little installation, and it could be done in a matter of minutes by a professional. However, constructing a customized fireplace can be incredibly expensive, and it is not unusual for homeowners to spend just $1,000 on materials and then 10 times as much on the labor needed for the installation.

Last updated on Jan 25, 2016

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