How to buy an antique fireplace
Jeff Dennis, Managing Director of Britain’s Heritage, offers expert advice
What do we need to consider when buying an antique fireplace?
Every old house deserves a period fireplace. The age and style of the house and the importance of the room will dictate the type and style of the fireplace but, above all, choose one that you will appreciate and enjoy.
How can we ensure it’s the right size?
Don’t concern yourself with the size of the current fire opening, as it can be made to suit your chosen fireplace. Properties dating from before the 1960s will have been built with a ‘builders’ opening’ into which the fireplace you buy can be fitted. The width of the chimney breast is the important measurement – it must be no less than the width of the mantelpiece – and the fireplace should be in proportion to the room.
If I buy a reclaimed fireplace ‘as seen’, what damage or deficiencies can be fixed and what can’t?
An unrestored fireplace may have parts missing that can be difficult or impossible to find, so always buy from a specialist company that restores as well as sells antique fireplaces. They will have made sure the fireplace is complete, restored to working order and meets current HETAS (Heating Equipment Testing and Approvals Scheme) regulations, or, if it’s gas, complies with Gas Safety regulations.
Can I fit an antique fireplace myself?
All fireplaces must be fitted by a qualified HETAS or Gas Safe registered installer who will issue a Certificate of Compliance.