Off Your Gas Fireplace
If your fireplace is intended more for aesthetics than for heat, you can
buy an insert unit without metal grilles around the firebox. Some designs suggest
the look of a traditional masonry fireplace, which allows you to use tile, brick,
or stone to trim the firebox--right up to its edges.
most heat-generating units need a grille at the bottom to pull cool air in from
the room and another grille at the top to push warm air out. Some manufacturers
offer designs that mask the grilles for a cleaner, more decorative look.
surround made from such materials as cast iron, ceramic tile, or stone nicely
complements a gas unit. Although you can create your own surround, manufacturers
now offer ready-made designs.
you can't decide on a permanent look for a surround, consider a frame system that
allows you to change the tile. This type of frame attaches to the drywall around
the unit. The tile slips into the framework and doesn't require adhesive or grout.
Altering the look of the surround to go along with the changing seasons or a new
room decor simply requires a fresh batch of 4x4-inch tile.
This traditional, direct-vent gas fireplace features a filigreed front in pewter
that hides the grilles. Model CNXT70 by Heatilator, $2,700 *; www.heatilator.com.
Grilles on this gas fireplace insert are masked by a cast-iron surround that harks
back to wood-burning stoves. A green enamel finishes the old-fashioned look. Model
RHE32 by Majestic, $3,052 *; www.vermontcastings.com.
Though it looks permanent--and elegant--the tile surround on this direct-vent
gas fireplace is actually a frame that attaches to the drywall. Tiles slip in
and can be changed at whim. Model SL950TRC by Heat-N-Glo, $1,299 *; www.heatnglo.com.