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How to dress up your fireplace

Eventually, you fireplace can look old and dirty from soot and other contaminants in the fuel you burn. Cracked mortar, missing caulking and other deterioration are common. Redoing your fireplace can provide an instant update to the entire room, transforming the unit into a focal point of the room.

Fireplaces covered with a significant amount of dust and soot make then look old an dingy. Start by removing charred logs, ashes and soot from the interior fire box. Also remove any soot from the exterior surfaces. A shop vacuum is a handy tool for removing the ashes and other debris. There are commercial products available for cleaning the brick surfaces. Repair cracks with approved mortar and you can even completely reline your firebox if necessary.

Repainting the metal area around the front of the fireplace will also add to the overall appearance of the fireplace. Commercially available hi-temperature paints come in a variety of colors to enhance the look. Resurfacing the area around the firebox is another way to spruce up the old look. Wood and marble surrounds are available from a multitude of suppliers.

Installing a decorative mantel shelf above the fireplace adds a visual interest to the room. There are a number of creative designs of mantel shelves available. When using a wood mantel, make sure to check the fireplace installation manual and observe the proper clearance to combustibles. 

You can also decorate your fireplace with new accessories for little cost. Artwork above your fireplace can provide a very appealing look. Potted greenery, decorative pots, candlesticks or fresh flowers can add color and texture to the space. Many homeowners choose to add a flat screen TV above the fireplace. Again, make sure you are observing he correct clearances and do not subject the TV to high temperatures.

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