How Much Does an Outdoor Fireplace Cost?
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If you want to take advantage of your backyard year round, an outdoor fireplace is the perfect addition. A fireplace outdoors radiates warmth and heat, which is ideal in colder temperatures or just to roast marshmallows. However, the cost of an outdoor fireplace is definitely something to keep in mind. Use this cost guide for a better understanding of what kinds of outdoor fireplaces are available and their prices.
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Table of Contents
- Outdoor Fireplace Cost
- Outdoor Fireplace Cost Factors
- Advantages of Outdoor Fireplaces
- Disadvantages of Outdoor Fireplaces
- Outdoor Fireplace Maintenance & Repairs
- DIY Or Hire A Pro?
- How To Build An Outdoor Fireplace
- Find A Fireplace Pro
Outdoor Fireplace Cost
Outdoor fireplaces can be small or big investments. As you’ll soon find out, there are many factors that alter your outdoor fireplace cost. Nonetheless, according to national estimates, the average cost to professionally install an outdoor fireplace ranges between $1,400 and $20,000.
- Approximate Minimum Cost of a Professionally-Installed Outdoor Fireplace: $1,400
- Approximate Maximum Cost of a Professionally-Installed Outdoor Fireplace: $20,000
More often the not, the biggest cost factors are labor (installation) and fireplace type. Pre-fabricated fireplaces will require very little work and can be completed in a matter of minutes by a fireplace professional. However, constructing a customized fireplace can be incredibly expensive, and it’s not unusual for homeowners to spend just $1,000 on materials and then up to $10,000 on the labor needed for the installation.
Outdoor Fireplace Cost Factors
No one likes to see that wide a cost range, but due to the numerous price factors, it’s no surprise the minimum and max price are so different. We’re going to jump into each cost factor below, but if you want to keep costs down, bear all in mind before you install an outdoor fireplace.
- Custom Vs. Ready-Made Fireplaces
- Outdoor Fireplace Location
- Outdoor Fireplace Materials
- Outdoor Fireplace Fuel Types
- Other Outdoor Fireplace Considerations
Custom Vs. Ready-Made 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 your home.
Outdoor Fireplace Location
The position of an outdoor fireplace can make a big difference in how often it’s used, how problematic the smoke is and even the privacy 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
Outdoor Fireplace Materials
If you’re going with a custom fireplace, the installation cost will largely depend on the material used for construction. 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
For more details on each type, please see 6 Hot Fireplace Design Ideas.
Outdoor Fireplace Fuel Types
Moving inside the outdoor fireplace, you have to consider the fuel type. Of course, like everything else mentioned, your chosen fuel type will affect the overall cost to build an outdoor fireplace.
The four fireplace fuel options are:
For each, there are outside installation factors you need to know. First, for wood fireplaces, you’ll need to install a chimney. Compared to gas and propane, where you only need to dig into the ground, it’s far more expensive to install. Gas fireplaces need to connect to a gas line below ground and propane just needs a tank, similar to an outdoor grill.
Finally, electric fireplaces are essentially fancy electric heaters. They provide heat by just plugging it into a wall. As such, they are much cheaper to install and portable.
Other Outdoor Fireplace Considerations
Although the primary objective of an outdoor fireplace is generally to provide light and warmth, a few extra additions can really amplify your fireplace addition. Adding a large hearth to the front of the fireplace can create a warm place to sit, which is very useful for homes in colder climates. The hearth can also be a simple way to accommodate more guests when there are not enough chairs.
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’s the perfect way to add extra storage without distracting from the beauty of the area.
Advantages Of An Outdoor Fireplace
With all the costs out of the way, we can jump into the fun reasons you should install an outdoor fireplace. Perhaps the biggest advantage 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’s easy and convenient to cook steaks or even pizzas in an outdoor fireplace. Finally, it’s 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.
For more benefits, please see 7 Reasons To Install A Fireplace.
Disadvantages Of An Outdoor Fireplace
Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks to installing an outdoor fireplace. 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 to ensure it’s always functioning and looking great.
Outdoor Fireplace Maintenance & Repairs
When evaluating the real cost of an outdoor fireplace, you have to look beyond installation. Sadly, any fireplace is not a set it and forget type of home feature. It requires upkeep to keep it in top working condition.
The following fireplace repairs will pop up. However, if you follow the maintenance tips below, you can hopefully avoid a $388 fireplace repair bill.
Outdoor Fireplace Maintenance
Unlike indoor fireplaces, your backyard sees a lot of weather change. No matter what type of fireplace you install, rain, snow, sleet and all of nature’s elements affect your fireplace. Therefore, always consider the following maintenance items before and after a storm hits.
- Clean Logs: Buy cleaning logs
- Loose Bricks or Stone: Mortar deteriorates over time, causing loose brick
- Decorative Tile: May have to cover before storms
- Firebox: Clean it once a month
- Metal Fireplaces: Replace rusted elements
Outdoor Fireplace Repairs
Of course, we oftentimes can’t avoid certain repairs. When they are called upon, you should have a rough idea of their average costs.
You must clean your chimney. If you don’t, creosote, which gets left behind after every fire, can build up and cause severe damage. Cleaning logs help remove creosote. When the logs don’t work or you’ve neglected your chimney for far too long, you’ll have to connect with a local chimney cleaning company.
Weather causes brick, stone and tile to expand and contract over time. As you might expect, the mortar can’t hold in the elements when they’re moving. The end result is masonry cracks across your outdoor fireplace. Luckily, small cracks can be fixed for as little as $200. However, if a crack extends the length of the fireplace, you could spend upwards of $10,000 (for custom fireplaces).
If your bricks or stones are expanding, water will get into your fireplace. In addition to cracks, if you have any leaks, you’ll have to worry about mold and rot. Sadly, most leaks occur at the top of your fireplace. If you can reach, most DIY fixes cost as little as $100. If you hire a fireplace pro to reseal the crack, expect to pay roughly $400.
Your fireplace crown protects your chimney’s flashing and bricks towards the top. It keeps the right elements out, like pests and water, and right elements in, like sparks. Similar to a leak, you should not pay more than $400 to fix a fireplace crown.
DIY Or Hire A Pro?
Building an outdoor fireplace is no easy feat, especially if you’re going with wood, gas or propane. Electric units, you just by and plug in. All others, real installation is required.
Like most fireplace projects, we highlight recommend you call in the pros. Given the nature of the project, the dangers and complexity with custom fireplaces, it’s safer to let pros who have been in the business for years handle it.
How To Build An Outdoor Fireplace
If you’re a DIY enthusiast and ready to take on a challenging outdoor project, we’re happy to give you a helping hand. Below are all the necessary steps to build a brick or stone outdoor fireplace. For more details or if you’re a visual learner, check out the video below.
- Gather your fireplace insert and measure it. Use measurements to make the frame.
- Add hoses and other accessories.
- Cover frame with tar paper
- Attach metal lath to tar paper with a nail gun.
- Cover metal lath with mortar.
- Mix more mortar and add to back of stone or brick. Then, attach to fireplace. Hold each in place for 30 seconds.
- Fill in gaps with mortar.
Find A Fireplace Pro
Installing an outdoor fireplace can get expensive, but knowing the biggest price factors, such as pre-fab or custom and fireplace materials, can go a long way in decreasing your outdoor fireplace cost.
If you’re ready to add a beautiful feature to your backyard, let us help you connect with local fireplace contractors.
Get free estimates from local chimney fireplace contractors
Last updated on Mar 1, 2017