How to Put in a Fireplace That’s Vent-Free

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

WOMAN:
95 northbound, state police on the scene.  I'm Anne Rondepierre.  WEBE 108, first, fast accurate traffic.
MAN:
Good morning, Stormin’ Norman.  It's the WEBE wakeup morning show. Sunny and very cold today. A high about 25.   And it is 8 right now at WEBE 108. We make an appeal this morning to Ron Hazelton - now Ron, if you're listening, my wife and I would like to see whether or not you can put in one of those beautiful  ventless fireplaces in our bedroom to take the chill off these winter nights.

RON HAZELTON:
Now how often do I get a HouseCall request over the air, and from Stormin’ Norman at that! I've gotta check this out.

RON HAZELTON:

Hey guys, how are ya?  Snow, snow and more snow in the weather here, huh?

ANNE:
Yeah, that's a good thing.

NORMAN:
Come on in.  I heard you have a good sense of humor. So I just couldn't pass that up.

ANNE:
Well Ron, this is it.  Our bedroom.
RON HAZELTON:
This is it.
NORMAN:
The passion palace.
ANNE:
Yes, kind of.
RON HAZELTON:
I can see it right now.  You want to lie in bed, a cold winter's evening… fireplace.

NORMAN:
Sounds good.
[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]
RON HAZELTON:
So this is where you're thinking about putting it?
ANNE:
We were hoping if we could get a corner unit, that this would be a nice spot to enjoy it, from the bed or from our seating area.

NORMAN:
Now I'm trying to think whether we should go vent or ventless.
RON HAZELTON:
I'm leaning toward the ventless.  The technology has been around for decades and you're up, it's been well established here. It's safe even for a bedroom.  And then we avoid all that work, as you say, of putting holes in the ceiling and the wall.  So why don't we get online?

Kind of look around a little bit and see what's out there. And - and what appeals to you.

NORMAN:
All right.

RON HAZELTON:
This is the Empire Comfort System’s website. It's their White Mountain hearth collection. This is a vent free fireplace right here.

ANNE:
Could it be painted?

 

RON HAZELTON:
Oh sure.  I think it comes in, it comes in white.  Hey guys, take a look at this, will you?  Now, this is not an example of my cabinet-making ability, but it will serve to give you some idea of what that unit you guys liked online might look like in here, from a proportion standpoint.

ANNE:
Right.

NORMAN:
Yeah, this is great.

ANNE:
I'm starting to be able to imagine it.

RON HAZELTON:
Do you see it?
NORMAN:
Yeah.
RON HAZELTON:
Fire, flames. . .

ANNE:
I can see it, I can feel it.

RON HAZELTON:
Okay.  Now what I want you to do, and I'm serious -
NORMAN:
Okay.
RON HAZELTON:
But go over there and lie in bed for a second, will you.  I want you to see how it looks to you from that perspective.

ANNE:
It's nice.
NORMAN:
Yeah.
ANNE:
Is there any way we could maybe raise it up a little higher on, on a hearth or something, so we could actually see the fire part?

RON HAZELTON:
Yeah.  Why don't we try that?
[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]
RON HAZELTON:
- then we could slide this under.

[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]

RON HAZELTON:
Something, we could just take it up a little bit.

NORMAN:
John Grisham okay?

RON HAZELTON:
Oh he'd be proud to be part of this project. So what do you think?

ANNE:
I like that.
RON HAZELTON:
Now that we've settled on a height for our raised   
hearth, I head back to my shop and begin cutting out the pieces, while Anne and Norm go back online  and select their fireplace.  My hearth kit has top and 3 sides. 

Our first step is to attach some glue blocks along the edge.

NORMAN:
This is like, how I do on my hot dogs.

RON HAZELTON:
Want to try that.  Nail right into that block we just put on.  Well this side up now.

NORMAN:
All right.
RON HAZELTON:
Side number 3. What I did is I cut a couple of kind of corner braces to drop in here. So take your nail gun out and right down through here, give me about 4 -
NORMAN:
Watch your fingers.

RON HAZELTON:
Oh jeez - [MOANS].  I always do that once.


NORMAN:
Little carpenter humor.

[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]
RON HAZELTON:
I say let's give this a test fit, huh
?
NORMAN:
All right, let's turn it around.  All set. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

  RON HAZELTON:
Okay, looks pretty good. 

RON HAZELTON:
The baseboard is keeping the hearth from sitting tightly against the wall.  So we turn the base bottom-side up, clamp on a piece of scrap trim as a template, trace the outline and cut out the shape with a jigsaw.  Wow. So this is what I would call a ledger.

It's a piece of wood that we're going to attach to the wall to support the back of this.  At the top of the board, right on that line… you got it. That should drop right in, huh?

Well, our ledge is installed and we've got a snug fit all around. So we nail everything in place.

Now we're moving on to the pre fabricated fireplace. 

Well Norman, here it is.  Everything we need for your fireplace and mantel right here.

NORMAN:
Oh the good stuff.

RON HAZELTON:

The good stuff.  And you're going to be amazed how easily this goes together.

We set the fireplace base on our raised hearth, place the fire box on top. And attach it in place with screws.  Next I attach the flexible gas line and tighten the connection. Then we remove the protective plastic from the metal trim, set the fireplace surrounds in position, and then the apron.  Once again, we attach ledgers to the wall.

Then, slide the fireplace assembly into position.  Finally we set the mantel on top and attach it to the ledgers.  Right, huh? Solid.  Looks pretty good?
NORMAN:
It's very official looking.

RON HAZELTON:
…Anne back?
NORMAN:
Honey!  …I don't think so.

RON HAZELTON:
Not here.  Know where she is?

NORMAN:
No, I think she went shopping for, like, some accessories -
[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]

RON HAZELTON:
You think we should go forward without her taking a look at this?

NORMAN:
No.
RON HAZELTON:
Really?
NORMAN:
No.
RON HAZELTON:
Think she'll be long?

NORMAN:
No. She should be back pretty soon. So, thanks, you know?  This is coming out really good. How's everybody?
   RON HAZELTON:
The family? Yeah, good.

NORMAN:
The little one?

RON HAZELTON:
You know, we're getting, like, that two hours of sleep every night.
NORMAN:
Oh, you're going to love that.
RON HAZELTON:
I'll see your red anchor and I'll raise you an orange screw and a molly bolt.
NORMAN:
Thank you.
[OFF-MIKE OFF TOPIC]
ANNE:
Honey… hi.  You guys have been hard at work, I see.
NORMAN:
Yeah.
RON HAZELTON:
You know, we didn't really want to go ahead until you took a look at it. What do you think?

ANNE:
Wow.  Okay, wait, let me block this out for a moment. Wow.  I think I really like it.

RON HAZELTON:
You like it? Well, this is the main reason I wanted to get your input here - now what we're going to do up here,  we can leave it just like this, but my thought is, if we were to put some kind of a wall back here, we might make this look more like there's actually a chimney there.

ANNE:
And that will come up flat.
[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]

RON HAZELTON:
Yeah, come up here and I think it might sell the idea that this is a built-in, more of a built-in fireplace.
ANNE:
And it would give me a nice spot to maybe hang a picture.
[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]

 

RON HAZELTON:
Yeah, yeah.  Now I didn't get that right away. But while I was sleeping, it came to me in a dream.

ANNE:
That nap paid off.

RON HAZELTON:
So Anne, this is what I'm thinking over here. Just stand back and kind of look at that and see if you're going to like that better than just the wall.  I'll put it up. I'll take it down.

ANNE:
You know Ron, I think I like it a lot better.

RON HAZELTON:
This time we put our ledger strips up vertically, nailing them into the wall studs. Then we position a piece of half-inch plywood on top of the ledgers and nail it in place. Finally, we install drywall over the plywood and secure it with screws.

Next, I apply a bedding coat of joint compound to the seams, tear off links of joint tape, dampen them in water, apply the tape to the seams, press it firmly into the compound using a putty knife. And finally snip off the excess.  Now it's time to trim out our base with decorative edge molding.  And install baseboard.  A couple of coats of paint and Norm begins setting the logs in place.

This is about the only wood carrying he'll have to do for this fireplace.

NORMAN:
Not only can we build good fireplaces, we're good interior decorators too.  Look at that, will ya?

RON HAZELTON:
Terrific.
ANNE:
Looks good, guys.
RON HAZELTON:
Hey Annie, how are ya?
[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]
ANNE:
I've got one more dish and I think it looks fantastic. But I gotta see this.

RON HAZELTON:
Oh yeah, you wanted that wall so you could hang a picture on it.
  ANNE:
Yes, I did.
NORMAN:
It's very nice.
RON HAZELTON:
Voila. Nice, huh?
ANNE:
It looks great, Ron.

NORMAN:
This calls for a toast.  Let me go get the champagne.  Hey, nice fireplace. Certainly is nice to be here - wine.

RON HAZELTON:
This was a great idea.

NORMAN:
Ready.
ANNE:
Ready.
NORMAN:
Ready.
[CHAMPAGNE CORK POPS]
RON HAZELTON:
May I pour?
ANNE:
To the fireplace.
RON HAZELTON:
Yes, and all the pleasure it may bring.

NORMAN:
The old pleasure palace. All right, how about one more thing.  Would you mind locking the door on the way out?

RON HAZELTON:
Oh, sure.

Learn how to install a vent less fireplace; includes details on locating the fireplace, assembly, building a hearth, and installation tips.

For this next HouseCall, Ron received a unique request over the air waves from local radio personality Stormin' Norman. Norman requested that Ron visit his home to help him and his wife Anne (also a radio personality) install a ventless fireplace in their bedroom to add a bit of atmosphere and take the winter chill from the air. They had selected a corner of their bedroom where they thought a corner fireplace would fit perfectly.