It’s hard to deny the comfort that comes with a nice, warm fire on a cool evening. An outdoor fireplace might be exactly what you need to really enhance your living space. Outdoor fireplaces make hosting a breeze and you’ll always have a comfortable spot to hang out, with guests.
We all know that homeownership is a bit complicated, and home improvements are no exception. Adding a new feature like an outdoor fireplace doesn’t have to be a stressful process, you’ll just need to consider your budget to figure out which option best suits you.
The average cost of an outdoor fireplace is $3,000. However, this cost can range anywhere from $1,500 – $20,000 depending on a number of factors.
The lower end of that price range could represent something as simple as a $500 chiminea or firepit, easily purchased at your local home improvement shop.
On the higher end of the price range, you could custom build a stone or glass outdoor fireplace, with the help of a skilled contractor or stone mason.
The cost of an outdoor fireplace will vary depending on the design, material, type of fireplace, size, and more. Below, we’ve outlined some considerations for installing an outdoor fireplace and how the price can vary.
- Is it worth it to build a custom outdoor fireplace?
- What is a prefab outdoor fireplace?
- Design options for outdoor fireplaces
- Other Types of outdoor fireplaces
- Final Thoughts
Is it worth it to build a custom outdoor fireplace?
A custom-built fireplace will likely be one of the more expensive options when it comes to adding a warm, outside space to your home. There are a lot of options here and the price can vary immensely, ranging anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000.
If you’re looking for something completely unique to your home and your budget is a little more flexible, this may be the ideal option for you.
In order to build a custom outdoor fireplace, you will need to hire a contractor or stonemason to do the job for you. This will require a cost of labor, in addition to the cost of supplies (this is why it’s a slightly pricier option).
Labor costs can be anywhere from $50 – $100 per hour.
The hourly cost and amount of time required will greatly vary depending on the material, size, and scope of your design.
The cost of materials will also vary depending on the quality of materials chosen, and the size of your fireplace. Of course, larger fireplaces will require more materials and this will cause the cost to go up.
Custom-built outdoor fireplace average cost: $2,000- $20,000
When it comes to custom building a fireplace, this is a great option for someone with a larger budget and a very clear vision.
Your personal style will likely shine through with a custom fireplace and it doesn’t have to be a stressful process. Call around to a few contractors in your area to help get an idea of the price.
What is a prefab outdoor fireplace?
One slightly more cost-effective option than building a custom outdoor fireplace is the prefabricated or modular fireplace option. These fireplaces are sold at home improvement stores and will cost a lot less than a custom build.
Prefabricated or modular outdoor fireplace average cost: $1,000 – $10,000
This type of outdoor fireplace is widely available, making it a convenient and cost-effective option. The kit itself can cost anywhere from $500 – $2,500, although higher-end versions do exist and you can even add special features like a pizza oven.
A prefab outdoor fireplace will look quite similar to an indoor fireplace, only the chimney will be a bit smaller since it doesn’t have to rise all the way up through a home like that of the indoor variety.
The chimney of an outdoor fireplace will only rise a few feet up, offering convenience when moving the unit and reducing the risk of igniting any branches or bushes.
Prefab material options
The prefab fireplace will also offer some options as far as the material it is made from. Something that sets these fireplaces apart from a custom-built fireplace is that it will have an outer layer of stone, brick, or metal over the base, rather than being fully constructed with this material. This makes the entire fireplace much less expensive, lighter weight, and easier to transport.
Types of prefab fireplaces
There are three main categories of prefab or modular fireplaces: gas, propane, or wood-burning. Wood-burning fireplaces require you to have a safe location, supply of wood, and tolerance to smoke.
Gas fireplaces do offer a more environmentally friendly option but they require a gas line, making things a bit more complicated. If you want to go with a propane fireplace, you’ll have to hook up a gas line to a propane tank which you’ll have to replace or fill occasionally.
Why choose a prefab fireplace?
Prefab fireplaces offer a fairly luxurious look at a fraction of the price of a custom build. This type of fireplace can be installed fast and enjoyed almost immediately. It may be pricey to order one of these fireplaces, due to shipping costs, but you can likely find them widely available at your local home improvement store.
Design options for outdoor fireplaces
There are a lot of options when it comes to installing your first outdoor fireplace. Below we’ve outlined some design options to think about to help get your project started.
Fixed or portable
One of the first and most important considerations to think about when determining the cost of an outdoor fireplace is whether you want it to be fixed or portable. Both options have their benefits and drawbacks. A portable fireplace is obviously moveable and offers versatility in terms of where you locate it. This can be a convenient feature depending on your outside space.
A fixed fireplace won’t offer the same versatility of location, but it will offer plenty of versatility in terms of design. Fixed or immobile fireplaces are often custom-designed, so this will give you the opportunity to make your fireplace look exactly how you want it to and fit it into the aesthetic of your home.
One drawback of a fixed fireplace is that it will likely require a larger budget than that of a portable fireplace, but the appearance will definitely reflect this higher price.
You will have plenty of options when it comes to the material used for your outdoor fireplace. Of course, the material will also cause the price to vary. Higher-end fireplace materials include granite, metal, and glass.
If you’re on a tighter budget, you may want to lean towards something more cost-effective like stone, brick, stucco, or ceramic. Although aesthetically pleasing, metal isn’t the most practical material given the fact that it will get much hotter than the other options and could pose a safety risk.
When deciding on the design of your fireplace, the possibilities really are endless. If you choose to go with a custom-built fireplace, you will have plenty of customizable options for the design itself. You’ll be able to work with your contractor to get it looking exactly how you want it. The design can be as simple or as complex as you prefer.
If you decide to use a portable fireplace, you don’t have to worry much about the design since it will be already built. The architectural design may be your forte, and if that’s the case, then determining the design is your chance to shine.
Regardless of how you design your outdoor fireplace, the most important step to take is to make sure your fireplace is in a safe area.
Do not locate your outdoor fireplace near any potentially flammable objects like low-hanging branches, trees, or shrubs. Always utilize a spark guard with your outdoor fireplace and use a flame-resistant mat, especially if your fireplace is near your home or on a wooden deck.
Other Types of outdoor fireplaces
Some companies will offer pre-built fireplace kits that come in three or four pieces and can be set in place by a forklift. Think of this as a “happy medium” between a custom build, and something simpler like a portable firepit. Fireplace kits cost on average about $2,000 – $5,000, but you will likely have additional costs for labor and the concrete foundation.
The chiminea is a super simple and cost-effective approach to an outdoor fire. This is the perfect way to cozy up your outdoor space and achieve the same comfort of a wood-burning fireplace, at a fraction of the cost. The average cost of a chiminea is $150 – $500.
Chimineas offer portability and convenience, all you have to do is go pick one up from your local hardware or home improvement store. One of the few drawbacks of a chiminea is that they are a bit smaller and don’t look as luxurious as custom stone fireplaces.
Unfinished contractor models
You may be able to find a contractor in your area that will offer outdoor fireplaces ready for customization. They are essentially a prefabricated design that is unfinished.
Usually, they are made from stone or stucco but could be any material of your choice. This is a slightly simpler way to have a custom fireplace without starting the entire thing from scratch. An unfinished contractor fireplace will likely cost about $1,000 – $4,000.
Adding an outdoor fireplace to your home should be a no-brainer if you’re looking to enhance your living space. The perfect outdoor fireplace for your home is definitely out there. There’s truly a style to fit any home or budget!