10 Pro Tips for every electric fireplace installation

We’ve been selling and installing electric fireplaces for over 20 years. While every model is slightly different, there are certain things that should always be considered before installing any electric fireplace. Armed with the experience of installing thousands of electric fireplaces, and advising on thousands of others, we’re sharing 10 Pro Tips to help you avoid the most common pitfalls. These are tips for avoiding the most common mistakes that we see, among professional and DIY installers alike. Here’s a bonus tip (no extra charge!): If you purchased your electric fireplaces from us, reach out with any installation questions, no matter how silly they may seem. A 5-minute conversation can avoid hours of frustration due to a misunderstood instruction.

Electric Fireplace Installation Tip: Read the Owner’s Manual

As obvious as it sounds, reading the Owner’s Manual is always the first step in any electric fireplace installation. It will give you framing dimensions, electrical requirements, and any clearance-to-combustibles instructions that are relevant. There are also operating instructions for the remote control, the touch-pad, and the mobile app, so you can test the fireplace before finishing the wall.  Note: Framing dimensions have already allowed for a bit of wiggle room in the opening; do not make the opening larger or smaller.

Electric Fireplace Installation Tip: Decide if you want your fireplace Recessed or Surface-mounted

A recessed electric fireplace is installed IN the wall; a surface-mounted fireplace is installed ON the wall. Electric fireplace models that do one or the other are not necessarily interchangeable. To be installed into a wall, the electric fireplace must have heat blowing out from the front; it must also be tested and certified for in-wall installation. The Owner’s Manual will tell you whether or not your electric fireplace is designed for recessed, or semi-recessed installation.

Electric fireplaces designed for surface-mounted installation will come with mounting brackets that allow for this type of installation. In theory, any fireplace that’s safe for in-wall installation is safe for on-wall installation. However, not all manufacturers have allowed for surface-mounting of their fireplaces, and they don’t always supply the means to do this type of mounting. Again, any surface-mounting options will be listed in the Owner’s Manual. Note: In-wall electric fireplaces can also be quite unattractive for surface-mounting, unless the manufacturer has provided for side covers or they have streamlined the exterior of the firebox.

Electric Fireplace Installation Tip: Find out if your fireplace is Built-in or Slide-in

If your electric fireplace is going to be set into a wall or cabinet, then the distinction between built-in and slide-in matters. A slide-in fireplace goes into the framed opening AFTER the wall coverings are installed; it’s the final piece. A built-in fireplace goes into the framed opening BEFORE the wall coverings are installed; the wall finish materials will go over the firebox, up to the viewing window. A slide-in fireplace has flanges that overlap your wall covering materials; wall coverings may be any thickness you like. With a built-in fireplace installation, the thickness of the wall coverings should not exceed the thickness of the flange around the viewing window. Note: If you are laying wall coverings over drywall or plywood, be sure to stop the drywall/plywood at the edge of the firebox, so that the final layer of wall coverings, eg. tile, wood, stone, can flow from the drywall/plywood right onto the firebox.

Electric Fireplace Installation Tip: Multi-sided fireplaces may be installed as Single-sided

If you’re looking for a single-sided fireplace, and the one you love is multi-sided, don’t despair. Most multi-sided electric fireplaces may be installed with one or both glass ends blocked, for an L-shaped or single-sided installation. Why might you want to do this? Multi-sided fireplaces are built-in, and have no trim around the glass viewing window. If you like this trimless installation, using a multi-sided fireplace is one way to achieve it. Multi-sided electric fireplaces are also deeper than most single-sided units, so they can offer more realism and nicer media packages.

Electric Fireplace Installation Tip: Confirm your Framing Depth

Before you purchase an electric fireplace, find out if there are any limitations on the framing depth. If you are fitting the fireplace into an existing wall, you need to know how deep it is. Common wall depths are 2×4 and 2×6; condos can be even thinner than 2×4, and they have metal framing rather than wood. Is there an electric fireplace that will fit into your existing wall depth?

If you are building from scratch or having cabinets made, you can choose the depth of the fireplace to suit your space. Keep in mind that wall units need to be at least 12-inches deep to provide useful space. This means that the fireplace wall can also be deeper.

If you are mounting the fireplace on the wall surface, you will want to consider how far the fireplace will project from the wall. Do you want an extra-slim electric fireplace with just 4-inches of depth, or are you okay with a 6-inch depth? Do you prefer an all-in-one cabinet and fireplace combination that you can hang on the wall? These tend to be deeper, but give a nicer finished look.

See our next post for the remaining 5 Electric Fireplace Installation Tips

Stylish Fireplaces knows that adding a fireplace to your home can be challenging. With an electric fireplace and their NFI Certified Hearth Design Specialists, it’s easy to create a space you’ll love to share with family and friends. Check out all the options and connect with their experts for help to find the perfect electric fireplace for you. You’ll live stylishly ever after. 

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