Newbie building a new house and needs fireplace guidance. Help?

lithnights Posted By lithnights, Dec 29, 2012 at 9:13 PM


Should the woodburning fireplace be in the family room or living room?

  1. Family room

  2. Living room

  1. lithnights

    New Member 2.

    Dec 1, 2012
    SE PA
    I had thought of such an access door actually, and perhaps some folks had suggested it. I just don't know the best design/size/functionality of such an access door. Also important is trying to make it look good and fit in with the family room..think wife. : )

    I imagine a simple hinged door in the wall could be used.. but what width/height, what kind of hinge (up/down or sideways), how to trim it out so it doesn't stand out too much.

    And do I just do a pass through or do you build a small shelf in the wall connecting into the garage somehow to hold a couple pieces of wood?

    If not a simple door, I imagine some kind of bin/chest/box like this could be used? Box.JPG

    Somehow have access from the garage and build a box in the family room (flush and finished to the wall) that holds the wood? Or simply have a bin in the garage and allow a reach through from the family room access door into the garage? Ideas welcome..

    Also, insulation was a concern. The garage will be pretty well insulated but it's still an unheated space being exposed to a heated family room. The home is going to be very tight so I don't want to have a big uninsulated area where this access door will be. I imagine I could just keep a piece of thick foam insulation in the opening and fit it in and out each time I load up?

    I think it would be easier to finalize the design during the framing stage but I definitely want to get some ideas now.
    Firewood Box.JPG
    Thanks all!

  2. Dave A.

    Dave A.
    Minister of Fire 2.

    Mar 17, 2013
    SE PA
    If you don't have a lot of experience, it could be harder to make all the decisions up front and it might be better to put off some decisions until you've had more experience. Still you should think about the whole process and start making the decisions you can.

    1. If you're having wood delivered (usually dumped) probably will come up the driveway and will be dumped either on the driveway or on an area adjacent to it. Then someone is going to stack it. You're probly not going to be able to put it all in the garage. Will it go on a covered porch, in a shed to be built, or elsewhere. If you follow the recommendations here, you should be thinking in terms of keeping more than a years supply on hand to dry out. The firewood for next year further away, the current years supply closer.

    2. How much wood do you want to keep in the house -- 1 days supply or a weeks supply or more. Many (more finicky) people don't want to keep much if any in the house -- bugs, mess, etc. How often are you going to want to be bringing it in. Some don't mind bringing it in every day. Personally I like to keep at least a weeks worth at hand-- rarely if ever see any bugs.

    Some people have an open wood box near the fireplace -- you might have something where there would be a door at the back of the wood box with access from the garage that you would load up from the garage and then close the door, and then it would be open to the room. Or it could be like the box you pictured where the back or side of that box would have an access door from the garage and you would fill it from the garage and remove it by opening the door on top. Point is if you don't have to be carrying wood from the outside into the house through other rooms to load the box, your wife is likely to be more amenable to the whole operation. But if your burning 24/7 the box you have pictured looks small and may just hold a one days supply-- not a problem if you don't mind loading it daily.

    Since the garage is unheated and the house is tight, you probly want to think in terms of a tightly sealed weatherstripped and insulated door of the same properties as any other exterior door in your house (even if it's smaller) Of course if you don't have to make it a custom size but can find something stock size, cost will be lower, so you might think in terms of that. Though I would think smaller/less conspicuous would be better. Or it might just be a full size 30-36x68 door from the FR into the storage area at the back of the garage where you keep your current supply of wood (therefore not even needing a decorative wood box in the FR since it's in the garage but still close to the fireplace, in that case you'd need to decide where on that wall to put the door. I'd think you should be able to keep at least a weeks supply of wood in the garage.

    Still. without experience, you don't really know how much you're going to be burning. 24/7 might be too much for you. So if you're not sure or don't want to hem yourself in, you might want to put off some decisions until you've had experience with it. This is only my second heating season with wood. In the beginning I was bringing wood in every day. That was too frequent and restricting a routine for me and now I keep about a 10 day supply bringing in wood and dumping ashes as part of the routine.

    And just to repeat something Members mentioned about a stove in an alcove made to look like it's in a fireplace -- you might want to take a look at the thread "pictures of stoves in alcoves". There are two there where the alcove is made to look like a mock fireplace -- and suggest some very interesting ideas. Dakotas Dad

    and flusher 17's 3rd post in the thread
    there are also some stove's in real fireplaces like Billybonfire's and Jofuls.

    I also am a fireplace person, have to admit it, I just prefer the look of a fireplace -- but I like the look of a cast iron or soapstone stove inside a fireplace -- if the fireplace is large enough. I mention this because there should be a savings doing it that way-- stove inside of an alcove made to look like a fireplace. But whatever you do, you should look into the idea of insulating the outside walls of your fireplaces-- inside fireplaces are the most efficient, but uninsulated fireplaces on outside walls can really lose a lot of heat.

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