How to make an affordable, condo-friendly fireplace: no chimney needed!

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finished fireplaceAmazon, I love you so much. Not only do you give me free two-day shipping (I’m Prime, bitches!) but you also show me awesome shit like how other Amazon users (Amazonians?) hack their products to make even awesome-er shit.

Like how “Bryan S” turned a SEI’s wall-mounted, gel fuel fireplace into a realistic fireplace, hearth and all, PERFECT for condos or even rentals. Do you remember the faux fireplace Katie built in her apartment? This is another option for the fireplace-less among you.

Here’s how he pulled it off, according to the photos and notes he uploaded to this Amazon listing

We’ve always wanted a fireplace but we live in a condo so we can’t have a chimney built and we don’t really like any of the gas fireplaces that come with the mantel so we decided to give this a try.

We installed a marble backing wall, a patio stone hearth and a wall shelf mantel and then installed this over the marble and it looks like a real fireplace! We even mounted the TV above it.

Take a look at my pictures to see the construction process…

Step one: Apply marble backer
41SP5OZYuyLWe picked up some 12×12-inch marble tiles on clearance at a local hardware store and applied them to a cement board backer with mortar. Once the mortar was dry, we filled in the cracks with a tan tile grout. The backer was secured to the wall with anchors on the sides and screws were drilled into the wall stud down the middle.

Step two: Mount fireplace and mantel
Fireplace in front of marble to get and idea of how it will lookPlaced the fireplace in front of marble to get and idea of how it will look.

41B2BC9IVQMLWe went to our local hardware store and picked up some patio paver stones in the lawn and garden section to build the hearth. (We weren’t happy with the ones pictured here so we returned them for some 12×12 patio stones.)

The mantel was just a flush mount crown molding shelf — you can find one for a pretty reasonable price at most stores that sell household goods. You can even find one on Amazon if you search for “crown molding shelf.”

Step three: Add molding around the marble
finished fireplaceWe added molding around the marble, and caulked around molding.

Then, add fireplace screen, light and enjoy! For the price, you can’t find a better deal.

Have any of you created fireplaces where there were none before?

Comments on How to make an affordable, condo-friendly fireplace: no chimney needed!

  1. This is awesome! We just bought a fancy electric fake fire in a box with a mantle but this is beautiful! I might try to convince my husband to do this instead and move the fake fire elsewhere…

  2. No space for now, but once we have a larger place, if it doesn’t already have a fireplace, I’ll definitely consider something like this! Sitting around the fire on a cold winter’s evening is just so cozy! 🙂

  3. My brother-in-law did this for my sister. Not quite as fancy (it didn’t actually burn like a fireplace), but he set up a mantel in their basement apartment, because my sister wanted to have a fireplace. It actually didn’t occur to me that it wasn’t real until it was mentioned–I suppose one normally doesn’t find a fireplace on a relatively thin interior wall, huh!

  4. brilliant! we just got an infared heater that looks like a fireplace and I was thinking of doing something similar with it. I like the marble tiles on the wall with the mantel!

  5. It looks beautiful, but I’ve been doing some research on ventless fire places ( we were thinking about doing this very thing) and have read that the gel fire places can be hazardous, releasing toxic chemicals into the air as well as upping the carbon monoxide levels and releasing moisture into the air which can cause fungus and mold to grow in the room. It’s why we’ve decided to nix the idea of doing this. Did you look into this before you set this up? Have you been able to avoid these potential dangers? So not trying to be a buzzkill, I just thought it might be good to discuss some of the cons in doing this in order for others to make a well informed decision before installing one into their space.

    • I was wondering about this too. I’ve never even heard of gel fireplaces… are they smokeless? I don’t get how this works if the smoke has nowhere to go but into the room…

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