How to Increase Your House Flip’s Value with a Fireplace Remodel

Wed Jun 12 2019

Does the house you’re flipping have an old fireplace that doesn’t look as good as you’d like? You’re probably wondering, “How do I upgrade this fireplace? How can I make it really stand out?”

Those are great questions because a fireplace can be a major selling point and something that certain buyers will get very excited about and remember. People buy based on emotion, so give your prospects something that your competition doesn’t have and something that prospects will feel like they can’t pass up.

Here are four fireplace renovation ideas we recommend for upgrading an existing fireplace.

1. Wrap Old Brick

If your house flip has an old brick fireplace with a large brick wall around it, you may want to update it to a more contemporary style. But if you tear out all the brick and replace the whole wall, it could get expensive. We recommend you instead cover most of the brick wall with another material, such as a stone tile, leaving just the bricks in the fireplace visible.

An even less expensive way to cover old brick is to paint it. Interestingly, either the stone tile or the paint will leave the original brickwork so that a later homeowner can uncover it, if they desire.

A renovation with high quality stone tiles could cost several thousand dollars, so make sure you compare the prices of different tile and labor options.

2. Install a New Fireplace and Surrounding Elements

If you really don’t like the look of the old fireplace—maybe it’s made of outdated materials or has an unappealing design—take it out and put a new fireplace in its place, using the same duct system.

You might have, for example, a metal fireplace with a fiberboard mantel that looked stylish 30 years ago and juts out into the room. You could replace it with a new brick fireplace in a brighter color, put in a matching mantel, and install new drywall around it, along with keeping the new fireplace flush with the wall. Putting up new drywall can take about two days on its own, so plan accordingly.

3. Tile the Hearth

You could add new tiles just to the fireplace hearth, meaning the floor right in front of the fireplace. If the fireplace is going to be used, you’ll need a type of tile designed to stand up to heat.

Beyond that, there are many options. You could try a bold color of tile that brightens up the whole room. A neutral color like white or gray is safe for appealing to most buyers. You could also try terra cotta tiles or brightly-colored artisanal tiles. You can keep costs low by getting more basic tiles, or you can splurge on a custom design.

4. Surround the Fireplace with Faux Stone or Granite Slabs

If you like the original fireplace, you could just upgrade the fireplace surround, which is the material directly around the fireplace unit. Our first suggestion applies if you don’t have or want a mantel. In that case, you could create a large surround—even all the way up to the ceiling—out of a cast-stone veneer, which saves money and hassle compared to buying real stone.

It’s possible to install a cast-stone veneer yourself, but it requires putting several layers of material on the wall, laying the faux stones out in an attractive design, putting grout between them, and more. You may want to pay someone with experience to take care of it.

You could instead create a fireplace surround out of several slabs of granite that are each about an inch-and-a-quarter thick if the mantel and wall already look the way you want.

Remodeling a fireplace doesn’t have to be expensive if you pick one of these four lower-cost options. You can always try a more expensive option, though, if it’ll increase the value of the home enough or help you sell it more quickly and recoup your investment.

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