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How To Frame In A Fireplace Insert How To Frame In A Fireplace Insert


How To Frame In A Fireplace Insert

Written by: James Anderson

Learn how to frame in a fireplace insert with this comprehensive guide. Read articles on installation, materials, and design tips for the perfect fireplace upgrade.

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Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to frame in a fireplace insert. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your existing fireplace or add a new one to your home, a fireplace insert can be an excellent choice for adding warmth and ambiance. However, the process of framing in a fireplace insert can be complex and requires careful planning and execution.

In this article, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of choosing the right fireplace insert, preparing for installation, measuring and framing the fireplace opening, installing the insert, connecting gas or electrical supply, securing the insert in place, testing and troubleshooting, and adding the finishing touches.

Before we begin, it’s important to note that installing a fireplace insert may require professional assistance, especially when it comes to connecting gas or electrical supplies. It’s always recommended to consult with a certified technician or contractor to ensure the safe and proper installation of a fireplace insert.

Now, let’s dive into the details and learn how to frame in a fireplace insert.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choosing the right fireplace insert is crucial. Consider fuel type, size, efficiency, ventilation, and additional features. Research, read reviews, and consult professionals to make an informed decision.
  • Proper preparation, accurate measurements, and careful installation are essential for framing in a fireplace insert. Follow manufacturer’s instructions, connect gas/electrical supply safely, and add finishing touches for a cozy atmosphere.

Choosing the Right Fireplace Insert

When it comes to choosing the right fireplace insert, there are several factors to consider. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  1. Fuel Type: Determine which fuel type is suitable for your needs and preferences. The most common options are natural gas, propane, wood, and electric. Each fuel type has its advantages and considerations, such as availability, cost, and environmental impact.
  2. Size and Style: Consider the size and style of the fireplace insert that will best complement your home’s aesthetics and fit within the available space. Measure the dimensions of your existing fireplace opening or the area where you intend to install the new insert to ensure a proper fit.
  3. Efficiency and Heat Output: Look for fireplace inserts with high energy efficiency ratings, as this will help reduce heating costs and ensure maximum heat output. Consider the BTU (British Thermal Units) rating, which indicates how much heat the insert can generate.
  4. Ventilation Options: Determine the type of ventilation system that suits your needs. Direct vent inserts use a sealed glass panel to draw in fresh air and expel combustion gases through a vent pipe, while vent-free inserts operate without a chimney or flue, recirculating the air within the room.
  5. Additional Features: Explore the various additional features available, such as remote controls, thermostats, blowers, and adjustable flame settings. These features can enhance convenience, comfort, and control over your fireplace insert.

Take the time to research different brands and models, read customer reviews, and consult with professionals to ensure you make an informed decision. Each fireplace insert has its unique features and benefits, so choose the one that aligns with your specific needs and preferences.

Now that you have a better understanding of the factors to consider when choosing a fireplace insert, let’s move on to the next step: preparing for installation.

Preparing for Installation

Before you begin framing in a fireplace insert, it’s crucial to make the necessary preparations to ensure a smooth and successful installation. Here are some important steps to follow:

Gather the Necessary Tools and Materials

Before you start the installation process, gather all the tools and materials you’ll need. Common tools include a measuring tape, level, hammer, drill, saw, screwdriver, and safety equipment. Additionally, you’ll need appropriate framing materials, such as lumber, screws, and brackets.

Read the Manufacturer’s Instructions

Each fireplace insert comes with specific installation instructions provided by the manufacturer. Take the time to thoroughly read and understand these instructions before you begin. Following the manufacturer’s guidelines is crucial for safety and proper installation.

Clear the Installation Area

Clear the area around the existing fireplace or the designated installation spot. Remove any furniture, decorations, or flammable materials that may obstruct the installation process or pose a safety hazard. Ensure there is sufficient space to work comfortably and safely.

Check for Permits and Regulations

Depending on your location, installing a fireplace insert may require permits or compliance with specific building codes or regulations. Check with your local authorities to determine if any permits are required and ensure you comply with all safety regulations.

Prepare the Chimney and Flue

If you have an existing chimney and flue, inspect them to ensure they are in good condition and suitable for the new insert. Clear away any debris or blockages in the chimney and make any necessary repairs or modifications to accommodate the insert.

Plan the Gas or Electrical Connection

If you’re installing a gas or electric fireplace insert, plan the gas or electrical connection in advance. Consult with a licensed professional to ensure the proper installation of gas lines or electrical circuits. Safety is of utmost importance when dealing with gas or electrical connections.

By following these preparation steps, you’ll be well-prepared to move on to the next phase of framing in a fireplace insert: measuring and framing the fireplace opening.

Measuring and Framing the Fireplace Opening

Measuring and framing the fireplace opening is a critical step in the installation process. Proper measurements and framing will ensure a snug fit for your fireplace insert. Follow these steps to accurately measure and frame the fireplace opening:

1. Measure the Width, Height, and Depth

Use a tape measure to measure the width, height, and depth of the fireplace opening. Measure from the inside edges of the existing fireplace opening or the designated installation area. Take precise measurements to ensure the insert fits securely.

2. Allow for Clearances

Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the required clearances around the fireplace insert. These clearances are necessary to prevent heat damage and maintain safety. Ensure that there is enough space around the fireplace opening to accommodate the required clearances.

3. Select the Framing Materials

Choose the appropriate framing materials based on the size and style of the fireplace insert. Common framing materials include lumber, such as 2×4 or 2×6 boards, depending on the weight and dimensions of the insert. Ensure that the materials are sturdy and suitable for supporting the insert.

4. Frame the Opening

Start by installing a header across the top of the fireplace opening. This header will provide support for the weight of the insert. Use a level to ensure it is perfectly horizontal. Next, install vertical studs on each side of the opening, attaching them securely to the header and floor.

For additional support, add horizontal support beams between the vertical studs. These beams will reinforce the structure and provide stability. Use a level to ensure all framing members are plumb and level.

5. Cut Openings for Ventilation

If your fireplace insert requires ventilation, carefully measure and cut openings in the framing to accommodate the vent pipes or ducts. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for the size and location of these openings.

6. Double Check the Measurements

Before proceeding with the installation of the fireplace insert, double-check all the measurements and make any necessary adjustments. Accuracy is crucial to ensure a proper fit and prevent any issues later on.

By following these steps, you’ll be well-prepared to move on to the next phase of the installation process: installing the fireplace insert.

Installing the Fireplace Insert

Installing the fireplace insert is a crucial step in the framing process. Follow these steps to ensure a safe and proper installation:

1. Position the Insert

Carefully place the fireplace insert into the framed opening. Make sure it is centered and level. Use a level to ensure it is sitting straight. Take your time to position it correctly as this will affect the overall appearance and functionality of the insert.

2. Attach the Insert to the Framing

Secure the fireplace insert to the framing using screws or brackets provided by the manufacturer. Follow the instructions carefully to ensure proper attachment. Be mindful of any specific guidelines related to the type of framing materials you are using.

3. Check for Proper Clearance

Verify that the fireplace insert has the required clearance from surrounding materials or walls. This clearance is essential to prevent heat damage and ensure proper airflow. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the minimum clearance required for safe operation.

4. Seal Gaps and Air Leaks

Inspect the area around the fireplace insert for any gaps or air leaks. Use an appropriate sealant, such as fire-rated caulk or insulation, to seal any openings. This will help prevent heat loss and ensure the fireplace operates efficiently.

5. Install the Surround

If desired, install a decorative surround around the fireplace insert. The surround adds a finished look to the fireplace and can be made from various materials such as stone, tile, or wood. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines or consult with a professional for proper installation.

6. Ensure Proper Ventilation

For gas or wood-burning fireplace inserts, ensure proper ventilation. Connect the vent pipes or ducts according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If necessary, consult with a licensed professional to ensure the ventilation system is correctly installed.

By following these steps, your fireplace insert will be securely installed and ready for the next phase: connecting gas or electrical supply.

Connecting Gas or Electrical Supply

Connecting the gas or electrical supply to your fireplace insert is a crucial step that requires precision and caution. If you’re not experienced with gas or electrical work, it’s recommended to hire a licensed professional to ensure a safe and proper connection. Follow these guidelines:

Gas Connection:

  1. Hire a Professional: It’s highly recommended to hire a licensed gas technician to handle the gas connection. Gas lines can be dangerous if not properly installed or if there are any leaks. A professional will ensure the gas connection is secure and meets all safety regulations.
  2. Turn Off the Gas Supply: Before starting any work, turn off the main gas supply to your home. This can usually be done by turning the gas valve near the meter to the “off” position. If you’re unsure, consult the instructions or contact your gas utility provider for guidance.
  3. Connect the Gas Line: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and the recommendations of the licensed professional to connect the gas line to the fireplace insert. This usually involves using approved materials and fittings to ensure a secure and leak-free connection.
  4. Perform a Leak Test: After the gas connection is made, perform a leak test to ensure there are no gas leaks. Apply a soap and water solution to all the fittings and connections; if you see bubbles forming, there is a leak. In such cases, turn off the gas supply immediately and contact a professional to rectify the issue before using the fireplace insert.

Electrical Connection:

  1. Turn off the Power: Ensure that the power to the designated electrical circuit is turned off at the breaker panel. Use a voltage tester to confirm there is no electrical current flowing to the circuit.
  2. Follow Manufacturer’s Instructions: Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions for connecting the power supply to the fireplace insert. This typically involves wiring the appropriate connections according to the provided diagram.
  3. Use Proper Wiring: Use the appropriate gauge and type of wiring as specified by the manufacturer. Ensure all connections are secure and properly insulated to prevent any potential electrical hazards.
  4. Test the Electrical Connection: Once the electrical connection is made, turn on the power to the designated circuit and test the fireplace insert for proper functionality. Check that all controls, lights, and heating elements are working correctly.

Remember, if you’re unsure or uncomfortable with gas or electrical work, it’s always best to consult a licensed professional. Safety should be the top priority when dealing with gas or electrical connections.

Now that the gas or electrical supply is properly connected, it’s time to move on to the next phase: securing the insert in place.

Securing the Insert in Place

Once the fireplace insert is properly installed and the gas or electrical supply is connected, the next step is to secure the insert in place. This ensures stability and safety during operation. Follow these steps to securely fasten the fireplace insert:

1. Check the Manufacturer’s Guidelines

Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to understand the recommended method for securing the insert. Different models may have specific requirements or recommendations for securing the insert within the framed opening.

2. Use Support Brackets or Mounting Hardware

Many fireplace inserts come with support brackets or mounting hardware. These are designed to securely attach the insert to the framing or surround. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to properly install the brackets or hardware according to their specifications.

3. Secure the Insert with Screws or Bolts

Using screws or bolts provided by the manufacturer, fasten the fireplace insert to the support brackets or mounting hardware. Make sure to tighten the screws or bolts appropriately to ensure a secure fit. Use a screwdriver or wrench as needed.

4. Double-Check for Stability

After securing the fireplace insert, give it a gentle shake or push to ensure it feels stable and secure. Check for any play or movement. If any looseness is detected, recheck the fasteners and tighten them to ensure a solid connection.

5. Inspect Surrounding Materials

Inspect the area around the fireplace insert, including the framing and surrounding materials. Ensure that there are no loose or unstable elements that could potentially impact the stability of the insert. Make any necessary adjustments or repairs as needed.

6. Follow Safety Clearances

Confirm that the fireplace insert maintains the recommended safety clearances from adjacent combustible materials. These requirements are usually outlined by the manufacturer and are crucial for safe operation and fire prevention. Adjust the surrounding materials if necessary.

By following these steps, you will ensure that your fireplace insert is properly secured within the framed opening, providing stability and peace of mind during use. Now it’s time to move on to the next phase: testing and troubleshooting.

Testing and Troubleshooting

After securing the fireplace insert in place, it’s important to test its functionality and address any potential issues. Follow these steps to test and troubleshoot the fireplace insert:

1. Follow the Manufacturer’s Testing Guidelines

Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific testing guidelines. They will provide detailed instructions on how to safely test the fireplace insert and its various features. Follow these guidelines carefully to ensure a proper and accurate test.

2. Test the Ignition and Flame

For gas fireplace inserts, test the ignition by turning on the gas supply and activating the ignition switch or pilot light. Observe the flame to ensure it is steady and evenly distributed. Make any necessary adjustments to achieve a proper flame appearance.

3. Check for Proper Ventilation

Ensure that the ventilation system, such as the vent pipes or ducts, is functioning correctly. Check for proper airflow and that combustion gases are being safely vented outside. If there are any blockages or irregularities, consult a professional for assistance.

4. Verify Heat Output

Allow the fireplace insert to run for a sufficient amount of time and check if it is generating the desired heat output. If the heat output is not as expected, ensure that the fireplace insert is properly connected to the gas or electrical supply and that all settings are adjusted correctly.

5. Address Any Issues or Abnormalities

If you notice any issues or abnormalities during testing, address them promptly. Common issues may include gas leaks, erratic flames, unusual smells, or electrical malfunctions. In such cases, turn off the fireplace insert immediately and consult a professional for further assistance.

6. Regular Maintenance and Inspections

Once the fireplace insert is installed and properly functioning, it’s essential to perform regular maintenance and inspections. Clean the insert regularly, remove any debris or buildup, and have it inspected annually by a professional to ensure optimal performance and safety.

By following these steps and thoroughly testing the fireplace insert, you can identify and address any potential issues, ensuring a safe and efficient operation. Now, let’s move on to the final phase: adding the finishing touches.

Adding Finishing Touches

Now that your fireplace insert is installed, tested, and functioning properly, it’s time to add the finishing touches to enhance its aesthetics and create a cozy atmosphere. Follow these steps to complete the installation:

1. Install a Surround or Mantel

Consider installing a surround or mantel around the fireplace insert to enhance its visual appeal. Choose a style and material that complements your home’s decor and personal taste. Whether it’s a modern stone surround or a traditional wooden mantel, this addition can create a focal point in the room.

2. Decorate the Hearth

Add decorative elements to the hearth area to bring warmth and personality to the space. Place a beautiful screen or set of fireplace tools nearby. You can also add candles, vases, or other decorative items to create an inviting ambiance when the fireplace is not in use.

3. Arrange Furniture and Accessories

Position your furniture and other accessories to optimize the comfort and enjoyment of the fireplace. Arrange seating around the fireplace to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Consider adding soft cushions, blankets, or rugs to add comfort and warmth.

4. Incorporate Lighting

Use lighting to highlight the fireplace and create a warm ambiance in the room. Install dimmable lights or wall sconces around the fireplace to create a soft and inviting glow. Experiment with different lighting options to find the perfect balance that suits your style and mood.

5. Maintain a Clean and Tidy Space

Regularly clean the fireplace insert, surround, and hearth to maintain its appearance and ensure safe operation. Clear away any ashes, debris, or flammable materials to prevent any potential fire hazards. Regular maintenance will keep your fireplace looking beautiful and functioning efficiently.

6. Enjoy the Cozy Atmosphere

Once all the finishing touches are in place, it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the cozy and inviting atmosphere created by your fireplace insert. Gather around with loved ones, sip a warm beverage, and embrace the comfort and ambiance of your beautifully framed fireplace.

By adding these finishing touches to your fireplace insert, you’ll create a space that not only provides warmth but also adds style and charm to your home. Now that your installation is complete, take the time to fully appreciate and embrace the cozy experience it offers.

Congratulations on successfully framing in your fireplace insert and creating a beautiful and functional addition to your home!


In conclusion, framing in a fireplace insert is an exciting home improvement project that can add both warmth and ambiance to your living space. By following the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can successfully navigate the process and create a beautiful and functional fireplace that enhances the overall atmosphere of your home.

Choosing the right fireplace insert is crucial, considering factors such as fuel type, size, style, efficiency, and additional features. Preparing for installation by gathering the necessary tools and materials, reading manufacturer’s instructions, and ensuring proper permits and regulations are in place, is essential for a smooth and successful project.

Accurately measuring and framing the fireplace opening sets the foundation for a secure and properly fitting insert. Installing the fireplace insert, connecting the gas or electrical supply, and securing the insert in place ensure safe and reliable operation.

Testing and troubleshooting the fireplace insert allows you to identify and address any issues, ensuring optimal performance and safety. Adding the finishing touches, such as installing a surround or mantel, decorating the hearth area, arranging furniture and accessories, and incorporating lighting, adds the final touches of style and comfort to your fireplace installation.

Remember to perform regular maintenance and inspections to keep your fireplace insert in top condition and to enjoy its benefits for years to come.

By following this guide and seeking professional assistance when needed, you can successfully frame in a fireplace insert and create a cozy and inviting focal point in your home. Embrace the warmth and ambiance it provides and cherish the moments spent gathered around its comforting glow.

Frequently Asked Questions about How To Frame In A Fireplace Insert

What are the benefits of framing in a fireplace insert?

Framing in a fireplace insert can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home while also providing a more efficient and functional heating source. It can also help improve the overall energy efficiency of your fireplace and reduce heat loss.
How do I know if my fireplace is suitable for a fireplace insert?

You can determine if your fireplace is suitable for a fireplace insert by consulting with a professional fireplace installer. They can assess the dimensions and condition of your existing fireplace to determine if it can accommodate a fireplace insert.
What materials are commonly used for framing in a fireplace insert?

Common materials used for framing in a fireplace insert include brick, stone, tile, and wood. Each material offers its own unique aesthetic and can be customized to complement the style of your home.
Can I install a fireplace insert myself, or should I hire a professional?

While some homeowners may have the skills and experience to install a fireplace insert themselves, it is generally recommended to hire a professional for this task. Professional installers can ensure that the insert is properly fitted and installed according to safety and building codes.
Are there any maintenance requirements for a framed-in fireplace insert?

Like any fireplace, a framed-in fireplace insert will require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance and safety. This may include cleaning the insert, inspecting the chimney, and addressing any potential issues with the framing materials.

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