Coll It Fired Up: Choosing, Building & Installing a Shiplap Gas Fireplace
Updated: Nov 23, 2021
November 18, 2021
When my husband and I began looking at houses, the first thing I would ask, other than where will the Christmas Tree go, was where could we build a fireplace?
Growing up, I loved having a fireplace. We had a wood-burning fireplace in our family room, and during the winter months, you could find our family of 6 sitting on the floor, enjoying what we called a “fire party.” This party was filled with cheese and crackers, homemade English muffin pizzas, and other finger foods with tunes by Marc Cohn, Elton John, Carly Simon, and James Taylor playing in the background.
For me, entertaining has always been a priority, so when we were lucky enough to close on our house in July 2020, I couldn’t wait to start the process of redesigning our living room to create the optimal space for entertainment. Of course, this had to include the creation of a fireplace!
Our home already had a gas line, so it made sense for us to look into building a gas fireplace. After doing a lot of research, we found Yankee Doodle Inc. Stove & Fireplace Center in Wilton, CT. We were able to visit the showroom and meet with the owner Sam Halsey, and his associate Jay, to learn more about gas fireplaces. We were given a book of premium traditional gas fireplaces options from Fireplace Xtrordinair, located in Mukilteo, Washington.
Since we didn’t have an existing fireplace, we couldn’t purchase just an insert, rather we needed to purchase a full fireplace. We ended up purchasing the 564 TRV 25K Clean Face Deluxe with birch logs, beveled tile trim, black enamel, and a direct vent pipe.
When thinking about where our fireplace was going to be located, there were a lot of factors we had to take into consideration. The most important was the location of the gas line and determining the most efficient way for the fireplace to connect to it. We hired a gas contractor who told us that gas fireplaces have to be placed on an outside wall in order for the fireplace to vent outdoors. In our situation, there were only two outdoor walls that would have worked: the wall parallel to our front porch and the wall parallel to our carport.
We ultimately selected the carport (option 2), as it allowed the heat vent to be hidden, while also making the fireplace the focal point when you come into our home. Now you can see the fireplace from all most areas of the first floor, which was important to us.
Before the fireplace was delivered and installed, my husband and his best man, Ben, built a base for the fireplace to sit on. Huge shout out to Ben for all of the time and construction expertise he devoted to this project! Not sure he wants to build another one anytime soon - but we are so grateful to him and his help!
The top base piece is 47 in. x 31 in x 4.25 in. Included in that was a 3/4 in. lip that hung over the bottom on all sides by 1 in.
The base ultimately served as the home for our fireplace and the foundation for the shiplap facade we built around it. The inspiration for our fireplace facade came from one of my favorite bloggers, Brooke Christen: Nesting With Grace. Her tutorials primarily focus on giving a wood-burning fireplace a shiplap facelift, or taking a wood-burning fireplace and replacing it with an electric fireplace, but we were able to take inspiration from her ideas.
Using the dimensions of the fireplace as a guide, we had to determine what size we wanted to make the fireplace sitting hearth. We already had a large rug in our living room that we wanted to keep, so we chose to make the sitting hearth end right before that. We measured the size of my butt (seriously!!) when sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace to ensure I could still have the option to sit nice and close on the sitting hearth.
Before install, we painted the sides of the base with Behr Ultra Pure White.
Eventually, we sanded the top and stained it with a combination of Traditional Cherry, Jacobean & Summer Oak Varathane stain oil with foam brushes and a rag.
After it was fully dry, we applied a few coats of Varathane Ultimate Polyurethane (Crystal Clear Satin) with a bristle brush.
We ended up redoing our living room coffee tables to match this stain combination.
Our house is over 100 years old, so saying nothing is level would be an understatement! It took many trials and errors for the frame to be installed as one side was never the same measurement as the other. The frame was made with a combination of 8 ft. x 4 in x 2 in. boards cut to the right dimensions for ample support.
The fireplace ended up being ~51 3/4 in. wide in the front. The side widths are
~ 23 1/2 in. On the sides and the front we went to the ceiling, which in this room was different heights. The left side has a height of ~86 in.
After the trim was installed, we ended up having 9 in. of clearance in the front of the fireplace for the sitting hearth and 2-1/2 in, on each side.
8 ft x 5.375 in x .625 in. Eased Edge Pine Shiplap Boards (packs of 6), cut to the right length and tacked to the frame using 2-inch finish nails with a nail gun.
We started with the pieces that flanked the face of the fireplace and worked our way up to the ceiling.
For the sides, we worked from the ceiling down.
After all the pieces were nailed down we painted them with a coat of Kiltz All-Purpose Primer to help block out any of the stains from the knots in the wood coming through over time.
They were then painted with the same white as the sides of the base, Behr Ultra Pure White.
Top trim: Primed finger-jointed base cap molding
Side trim: Pine common board cut to size using a table saw
Bottom trim: Primed finger-jointed base cap molding
While we bought a Samsung Frame Series TV, it was important to my husband to have it on a mount that allowed us to have more movement than the one that comes with it. That being said, we decided to build a structure, with electricity (just in case!) to secure the TV mount. Once the electrical was run, and the mount was installed, we were able to finish the shiplap on the front facade.
We bought ours locally from PC Richard & Son, opting for the 43 in. QLED 4K (2160P) UHD Smart TV with HDR (2020 Model) with the black frame. The frame clips right onto the TV. There are a variety of different frame options that you purchase separately from the Frame TV. Looking back, we probably didn't need to purchase the frame, as our TV was already black, but for those looking for another color, it’s definitely the way to go! More info on the TV can be found on Brooke’s blog here.
While it included free delivery and installation, we only had it delivered as we weren’t quite ready to install by the time it arrived.
For clearance around the TV, there was 7 in. on each side with 15 in. to the ceiling and 6-1/2 in from the bottom of the TV to the top of the mantle.
Mantle: 45-3/4 in. x 6-1/4 in x 5-1/2 in.
We determined the height of the mantle based on where we wanted to position the TV and how much distance we wanted between the mantle and the top of the fireplace face.
I actually took a Christmas stocking and determined what looked best for the length of the stocking, ensuring that it didn't hang too far into the heat.
We decided that a 6-1/2 clearance from the bottom of the TV to the top of the mantle was adequate.
We attached a 2 in. x 4 board to the frame, which became the support for the mantle box.
The mantle box was made of pine common board cut to size using a table saw.
We stained it with the same technique as the sitting hearth and coffee tables prior to installation.
November 25, 2020: Placed the order for the fireplace
January 24, 2021: Started building the base
January 30, 2021: Fireplace was delivered and installed
February 24, 2021: TV delivered
February 15 - March 20, 2021: Fireplace build
The guys worked on this build on random nights after work, which took about a month from start to finish. For someone that was focused on this daily, it could be accomplished much faster.
Yankee Doodle Full Fireplace = $5,000
Gas Company Pick-up & Install = $2,300
Samsung Frame Series 43” TV with Frame = $1,160
Home Depot Supplies = $2,000
Approx. Total: $10,460