There are many types of fireplaces, and all need different skills and tools to be installed properly.
Many fireplace services work with subcontractors to complete jobs they may not be licensed to handle, like laying down gas lines.
Find a fireplace installer who’ll be able to provide other services in the future, like repairs and inspections.
Installing a fireplace is a big commitment involving time, effort, and research. Hiring a trustworthy pro is an easy way to get the mantle of your dreams, but finding such a person isn’t always so straightforward—unless, of course, you know what to ask. Whether you want to know what types of fireplaces a pro specializes in or if they’ll be someone you can count on for future repairs, these questions will help you get the answers you’re looking for every time.
1. What Are Your Qualifications?
Not all states require fireplace installers to be licensed, so always ask to be sure you’re hiring someone who’s technically qualified for the job.
But even licensed pros can have different certifications. That means that one person may specialize in gas-burning stoves, while another only has the necessary skills to install a wood-burning fireplace. When in doubt, use the search options at organizations like the National Fireplace Institute (NFI) and Chimney Safety Institute of America to find the right local fireplace pro for your needs.
These foundations use predetermined standards to validate a pro’s knowledge and expertise in everything from national building codes to safety guidelines. And while you’re at it, find out if they have insurance to cover any accidents that occur on the job, like cracks in the mantle or panels or broken gas or electric lines.
2. Do You Have Experience Installing This Type of Fireplace?
Ask about previous installations to learn more about a fireplace installer’s current experience level. There are many different types of fireplaces, and all of them require a variety of skills, tools, and knowledge to install correctly. The NFI provides certifications for gas-, wood-, and pellet-burning fireplaces, as well as hearth design. Anyone with all four is considered a master hearth professional.
If you want a gas-burning fireplace, for example, a certified gas fireplace installer near you is the best person for the job. On the other hand, a pellet-burning specialist probably won’t be able to help you install your dream wood stove. Certifications are only valid for three years, so verify that your pro is up to date before sealing the deal.
When in doubt, look at their website to get a better idea of a pro’s skills. Browse their online portfolio or check out their in-person showroom whenever possible to see what their work feels and works like in real life.
3. How Much Do You Charge for Installation?
Before reaching out to fireplace professionals, research what you can expect to pay for most installations. The cost to install a fireplace ranges from $840 to $3,700 and depends on the type of fuel used. If a pro quotes way less or way more than that amount, you’ll know right away that something’s not right and to move your business elsewhere.
4. Do You Hire Subcontractors?
Asking this question will help you find out who’ll be working on your fireplace installation and if they’re insured. Some, but not all, top fireplace contractors near you outsource work to subcontractors who may or may not be certified to handle the job on their own.
However, if a pro works with subcontractors, that doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. For example, many have to work with local gas plumbers to install gas fireplaces because gas lines are legally required to be laid by a licensed professional. To get the best and safest results from the process, just be sure your vetted expert will be overseeing every step of the process.
5. Are You Aware of Local Building Codes?
Double-check the fireplace installation pro is up to date on local building rules before agreeing to work with them. These regulations ensure a fireplace is both properly and safely installed, depending on the requirements of your particular environment. If their knowledge seems limited, it might be a sign they’re not the best person to work with.
6. Are There Any Other Services You Offer?
Fireplaces require consistent maintenance to last through the years. Finding someone who can install your fireplace in the present and continue to preserve it in the future will knock out two birds with one stone. Inquire about the cost of fireplace repair and cleaning services, as well as chimney sweepings and inspections. Even if they don’t offer these extras personally, odds are they know another pro who can and will be happy to pass along their number.
7. How Long Will the Project Take to Complete?
Fireplace installations can take anywhere from one day to a week and depend on factors like your preexisting setup and the amount of demolition required. Find out what to expect ahead of time by asking your pro to give you a project length estimate. A qualified expert will also be able to tell you exactly what kind of work will be involved in the project and how long each major task will take.