A client recently asked me to help her reduce the draft in her living room that was coming from her fireplace surround. It seemed that no matter what she tried, there was always a “wind” blowing from the fireplace. She had the idea of covering the entire opening to reduce the airflow but wanted it to be decorative and attractive at the same time. She sent me this article on how to build a cover and asked me if I could do something similar.
I took some pictures and measurements of her fireplace and got to work. In her situation, the draft was coming from the box around the fireplace. As a result, blocking the airflow from the chimney itself did not solve the problem. This draft was strong enough to slam and open doors throughout her home! I followed the instructions in the article to build the functional portion of the cover but worked with the client to find the design that would best fit her decor. After much debate, we decided to go with a black shiplap look. I spaced out salvaged lumber to resemble shiplap and created a frame around to so that it looked finished.
I installed the cover as it was intended, but the draft was so strong (see door slamming above) that we had to anchor it in place with hooks and eyes. This client’s situation was certainly an extreme, and this cover does not form an absolute airtight seal–that would require far more drastic and permanent measures. It does, however, dramatically reduce airflow and draft.
The finished cover is functional, attractive and adds texture and style to her decor. Her fireplace is finally making her home warm!
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