The past year put a halt to progress across many industries, but interior design trends certainly did not slow down. One particular trend that continued its rise in popularity through 2020 was the addition of fireplaces and chimneys.
Fireplaces are a favorite among new builders and renovators for the fashion and function possibilities. Emergent designs add a bold aesthetic, and innovative material uses are creating more unique and efficient home heating solutions.
With new takes on comfort come new maintenance considerations. Keep reading to learn about some fireplace and chimney trends of 2020 and what they mean for upkeep.
Wood-Burning Is Back
Wood-burning fireplaces are an increasingly in-demand option for many interior designers. Functional and elegant, a wood-burning fireplace can be a valuable centerpiece to living areas. Its addition can increase a home’s value.
With new glass features to create a showcase, burning wood is an attractive look. But, beyond the cosmetics, wood-burning fireplaces offer an array of practical benefits over their gas counterparts:
- Continued heating even with power loss.
- Lower gas and electricity bills.
- More environmentally friendly.
Wood-Burning Fireplaces and Chimney Maintenance
Wood-burning fireplaces cause soot and creosote to accumulate in the flue. Annual chimney cleaning is critical to keep the build-up in check. When too much creosote has built up, the possibility of a spark igniting a chimney fire increases significantly. Whether you have a wood-burning or a gas version, cleaning once a year is necessary to also clear debris.
The chimney liner needs particular care in the presence of creosote. Liners are sheaths of metal or tile, either ceramic or clay, that protect chimney walls from heat. Cracks in the liner can allow pockets of creosote to build up quickly. It can also allow moisture penetration, creating an acidic substance that speeds up wear on the liner and damper. Regular inspection of these liners is a critical safety precaution when dealing with wood-burning fireplaces.
Fireplaces Are Getting Bigger
Large hearths and bold climbing brick and rock structures are gaining popularity for their dramatic look. The larger openings also have a practical advantage in expelling higher heat volumes. Many designers are using lighter brick and stonework to accentuate the dark cavity of the fireplace.
With a more extravagant, exposed structure, the possibilities abound for the creative use of different stones and brick designs. Builders are integrating rock-stacking techniques to stagger different materials like limestone and marble into unique layouts.
Whether a blended stone look or a grand brick display, maintenance is key to ensuring structural integrity. Since these structures are favorable for their visual appeal, imperfections in masonry will quickly ruin the aesthetic.
To retain the attractiveness of exposed brick, tuckpointing and sealing restore the look and sturdiness of the structure. Tuckpointing is the removal of old mortar and replacement with fresh mortar. It is a common practice, as mortar degrades much quicker than brick.
For cracked bricks, replacement is needed for major damage, but small cracks can be sealed over. After cleaning the crack, using a high-heat mortar and caulk is sufficient to smooth over the defect. Since many interior brick displays are painted, it’s easy to blend in repairs seamlessly with the structure. Quickly addressing brick cracks combined with tuckpointing will ensure a clean, elegant look for a grand fireplace.
Linear and Corner Fireplaces Create Modern Artistry
The versatility and minimal requirements for setting up gas fireplaces are one big driver of fireplace popularity today. Homeowners are adding extra layers of coziness to bedrooms, dining rooms and even bathrooms with gas fixtures. The clean, simple characteristics of modern design are finding their way into many of these new fireplace installations. Two popular additions for open concepts are the linear and corner fireplaces.
With a glass-enclosed fireplace framed by solid veneers (often marble), the simplicity of these varieties still pops. Even traditional wood-burning fireplaces are becoming more eye-catching with updated treatments like these.
New glass and marble features create a new dimension for upkeep. This is especially essential to maintain the unblemished look, the main purpose of these installations.
Gas fireplace glass tends to develop a white film that requires special cleaners. Commercial cleaners are cream-based applications that clean while preventing scratching. Homemade solutions are also popular, with vinegar and ammonia sprays working equally well.
Chimney build and repair are not generally thought of as evolving, but progress is made every year. As design trends continue, updates to the focuses and processes of chimney maintenance occur as well. For 70 years, our experts at Ray Arnold Masonry have stayed on top of the latest innovations and best practices in chimney maintenance. If you are updating your look to a more modern aesthetic, contact our team for help. We provide the highest quality service and extensive knowledge to create structures with eye-popping appeal and long-term functionality.