I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but we finally finished our DIY faux plaster electric fireplace! It looks incredible and turned out better than I could ever have imagined. I’m so in love! If you missed it, here’s a look at the progress of our fireplace and my fireplace inspiration.
This is a sponsored post on behalf of SimpliFire fireplaces by Heat & Glo. All opinions are my own. See my full disclosure here.
Let’s take a look, shall we? Keep scrolling down for the full tutorial, including cost and the exact measurements we used.
What do you think? I feel like this fireplace was meant to be in this space, don’t you?
First, I wanted to address why we didn’t add a fireplace to our home during the building process. We could have but opted to DIY our own electric fireplace. While building, we had two options, gas or electric. We opted for a gas fireplace in our previous home, and while I loved having a real fire, it heated the room substantially. I felt like we hardly ever had it on because it would overheat the room. So a gas fireplace was out of the question for us; I then went to the retailer that supplied the electric fireplaces for our builder. They had limited electric fireplaces and I didn’t see a fireplace that I was super jazzed about, so we decided to DIY our own electric fireplace.
Here’s a before picture of the space, the day we moved in.
And now, what a difference, right? I’m still in awe that this is our living room and that we transformed this space in a month and a half.
Electric Fireplace Insert
Enter SimpliFire fireplaces by Heat & Glo. We opted for the SimpliFire 30″ Electric Fireplace Insert with additional surround. I love that even though the insert is an electric fireplace, it has the ambiance of a real fireplace and looks very realistic. Depending on your needs, the SimpliFire 30″ Electric Fireplace Insert features a heat option to turn the heater on or off. The heater is equivalent to a space heater and will heat a small room but doesn’t get overly warm. You can also use this insert to slide into a pre-existing fireplace opening, the only thing you need is an outlet so you can turn it on. Use code FRENGPARTY10 for 10% off your purchase of any SimpliFire by Heat & Glo fireplace through April 30th, 2022.
Step by Step Fireplace DIY
Let’s get into how we built the fireplace bump-out. Because this post will be lengthy, I’ll share how we created our fireplace surround next week.
Here’s a list of materials needed for this project:
- 2x4x12′ Framing lumber (I ordered 14, but we only used 12)
- Drywall (I ordered 4 panels of 1/2″ x 4′ x 8′ standard drywall, but only used 3 panels)
- Drywall Screws
- 3″ Construction Screws
- Corner Bead
- Corner Bead Adhesive Spray
- Joint Compound
- Drywall Spatula
- Sanding block (or sponge)
- Wall Paint
- Paint Roller/Tray
- Tape Measure
- Surge Protector
Step 1 – Game Plan and Prep Work
Before beginning the build of the fireplace, we needed to come up with a game plan. Our first question was how wide and how deep did we want the bump-out. After measuring, I came up with a drawing of the fireplace. I used several blogs and YouTube tutorials to develop the spacing for the framing, ran it by Nate, and got the approval. I ordered all our supplies online to have them delivered to our door the following day because it was easier than figuring out how we would get 12′ framing lumber home from the hardware store.
We first started by removing the base trim from the wall and setting it aside (you’ll need the base trim later). Nate located all the studs in the wall since we’ll need to know this for a later step. He also marked how wide the fireplace would be on the wall for easy reference.
Step 2 – Framing the Sides and Back
After nailing down our plan, we started with framing the sides of the fireplace. I don’t know what to call these except large rectangular pieces. We made the rectangular sides 10′ tall x 12″ deep. We added support 2×4 cross beams every 24 inches, which resulted in 6 cross beams, including the top and bottom.
Once we had both sides created, Nate cut three support brackets that we installed on the back wall of the fireplace. Using the 3″ construction screws, we screwed the three long pieces into the wall studs. Using the same screws, we then screwed the end rectangular pieces into the three support cross beams, one on the bottom and two in the middle.
Step 3 – Framing the Front
We then got to work on the front of the fireplace. Now it’s starting to look like something! The drawing I made is pretty self-explanatory and is probably more helpful than I can put into words. The SimpliFire fireplace insert came with instructions on the exact framing dimensions needed for the fireplace; this was very helpful in knowing the exact dimensions that we needed for around the fireplace unit.
I knew I wanted to add a mantel at 48″ but didn’t know what I wanted it to look like at the time. We decided we needed something to attach the future mantel to and added support cross beams at 48″ up from the floor.
Because we have a Samsung Frame TV with a black box that acts as a hub for all the electronics (Roku, Chromecast, etc.), we added a shelf behind the TV to house the black box. The bottom of the shelf sits at 57″ up from the floor. We also added two cross beams for the TV mount. The bottom of the 2×4’s for the TV sit at 71″ up from the floor.
After we screwed the 2x4s together, we installed the front-facing part of the fireplace framing. We ensured the fireplace insert fit, and we were happy with how the fireplace was coming together.
Step 4 – Adding Drywall
After the framing was complete, we added drywall to the entire bump-out, cutting out holes for the fireplace insert and the shelf for the TV hub. Next, I added tape and mud to the drywall seams and installed the corner bead with adhesive spray. I was nervous about finishing the drywall but watched a couple of YouTube videos, which helped make me feel more comfortable with this process.
After taping and a few layers of mud, this is the time to add texture to your walls. I aimed for a plaster look and created texture and movement with joint compound. I added joint compound to the entire fireplace with a drywall spatula. I worked in small sections and smeared a thin layer of joint compound, working in a small area.
After the joint compound dried, I sanded the entire fireplace (which was not fun) and caulked the edges where the new drywall met the existing drywall. I then painted the bump-out the same color as our wall, Sherwin Williams Pure White. Because I painted it the same color as the walls, only in certain lighting can you see the texture in the fireplace finish, which is exactly the look I was going for. If you painted the fireplace a darker color, the faux plaster finish would be a lot more noticeable.
Step 5 – The Finish Line
After the paint was dry, we installed the fireplace unit and additional surround. Because I was a little stumped on how to build the fireplace surround, we waited a week before completing the project.
As for the fireplace unit, this specific unit only requires a standard outlet. When building, we added additional wiring to hard-wire the fireplace unit, something we may hook up in the future. For now, we added a surge protector and used Velcro to secure it to the TV shelf. With the surge protector, we were able to plug in the TV, fireplace insert, our Google Chrome-cast, and WiFi internet router. We’re able to easily access the surge protector by removing the TV, or if we need to access the outlet itself, we can remove the fireplace insert.
After completing the surround (I’ll share more on how we created the surround next week), we installed base trim under each window and along the base of the sides of the fireplace. We also added crown moulding to the top (don’t look too closely as I still need to caulk and paint it).
Here’s exactly what it would cost to create this fireplace in your home, assuming you already have all the tools such as a saw, drill, tape measure, etc.
- Materials, including lumber, drywall, screws, joint compound: $350
- We paid an additional $105 to have these items delivered to our doorstep
- Fireplace insert: $1158 (but you can save 10% off your purchase of any SimpliFire by Heat & Glo fireplace with code FRENGPARTY10, through April 30th, 2022)
- Total (not including the fireplace surround): $1508
The overall fireplace is 10′ tall, 65″ wide, and 12.5″ deep. The top of the surround ended up being 48 3/8″ tall and the bottom of the TV measures 55″ up from the floor. Did I miss anything?
What do you think? Would you build a DIY electric fireplace?
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