Unfinished Fireplace Options

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bburroughs1031

New Member
Oct 3, 2021
4
Wisconsin
Hello, looking for some advice and opinions. It'll be a long read... I'm currently finishing my basement and the original homeowner was a mason who put two fireplaces in the house, one upstairs and one down. Both are masonry chimneys with clay liners. He never finished the downstairs fireplace surround so I'm left with a hole in the cinder block wall. ( Picture #1). I've come up with a few options but not sure if any of them are really correct. Also, fwiw buying a new efficient insert is out of the budget and I'm not looking to heat the house with this, it's in the basement family room so will only get occasional use.

Option 1: I need to extend the opening of the firebox out further as I don't want one flat wall. I also don't want the whole wall to be brick. I thought I could either frame out the opening with steel studs. And line the opening with brick. Similar to picture #2, but actually frame out back to where brick could be lined around the fire box opening. The idea would be to have it look like picture #3. If I have to actually just build the opening up and out with brick, that's an option as well, but would rather not. Ideally it would be jambed out about 6"-8" but could probably do as little as 2.75"/3".

Option 2:. I have a comfort flame zero clearance insert that I considered framing in front of the masonry fireplace and just sealing the old one off. I am somewhat leaning towards this idea, as I really don't want to carry wood all the way downstairs. However, it's just the box and doors right now and need to purchase the logs, vent pipe and blower and also run the gas line.. I also realize from what I can find this is not of the highest quality and older, but it's never been used and I got it for free.

Any help or input is greatly appreciated.
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,109
central pa
Hello, looking for some advice and opinions. It'll be a long read... I'm currently finishing my basement and the original homeowner was a mason who put two fireplaces in the house, one upstairs and one down. Both are masonry chimneys with clay liners. He never finished the downstairs fireplace surround so I'm left with a hole in the cinder block wall. ( Picture #1). I've come up with a few options but not sure if any of them are really correct. Also, fwiw buying a new efficient insert is out of the budget and I'm not looking to heat the house with this, it's in the basement family room so will only get occasional use.

Option 1: I need to extend the opening of the firebox out further as I don't want one flat wall. I also don't want the whole wall to be brick. I thought I could either frame out the opening with steel studs. And line the opening with brick. Similar to picture #2, but actually frame out back to where brick could be lined around the fire box opening. The idea would be to have it look like picture #3. If I have to actually just build the opening up and out with brick, that's an option as well, but would rather not. Ideally it would be jambed out about 6"-8" but could probably do as little as 2.75"/3".

Option 2:. I have a comfort flame zero clearance insert that I considered framing in front of the masonry fireplace and just sealing the old one off. I am somewhat leaning towards this idea, as I really don't want to carry wood all the way downstairs. However, it's just the box and doors right now and need to purchase the logs, vent pipe and blower and also run the gas line.. I also realize from what I can find this is not of the highest quality and older, but it's never been used and I got it for free.

Any help or input is greatly appreciated. View attachment 282687 View attachment 282688 View attachment 282689
You cannot just finish it off with steel studs you need a masonry face on it and a hearth extension.
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
6,103
07462
The basement fire place looks like it was used a bit, does it smell at? good to find out ahead of time so you can address stack effect.
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,842
Iowa
Yeah it was. Honestly the guy lost his mind, had a wood burner piped into it and started burning all the trim in the house.
_g Lucky you have anything to start with from the sounds of it.