So you’re considering altering the appearance of your fireplace. Let’s put all the cards on the table.

You have concerns and if you hire a contractor, that person will have other concerns.

No matter which trade is involved, the work to be accomplished is typically unfamiliar to a homeowner. This is especially true for modifications made to fireplaces. That’s true since the materials used are atypical and because the artisan needs to rely on creativity and/or innovation in order to complete the tasks.

Customer Concerns

It’s understandable that the customer would have concerns like these,

  1. Longevity – How long will this improvement to my fireplace last? Will it scratch off or show other signs of wear?
  2. Cost – Is the proposed modification the most cost effective approach? Are there other products that would give similar (or better) results?
  3. Beauty, color, effect, etc. – What choices are available? What limitations does the proposed plan have?

It’s important to ask as many of these questions as come to mind. Customizing the look of fireplaces requires trust between homeowner and contractor. Asking questions is a great way to not only resolve concerns but also to build trust and thereby reduce future concerns.

Contractor’s Dilemma

Meanwhile the contractor also has concerns. Some of those concerns may fall in categories like these-

  • Can I offer exactly what’s requested? Do I fully understand what they want? Are we limited by the substrate, by the materials or by my own tools or skills? If your contractor is determined to provide a good job for you, these questions will be in mind and you will be told about any reservations or concerns.
  • Finding balance among competing needs (for example, between low cost and high quality; between good looks and high performing products).

In Conclusion:

No one solution is right for all fireplaces nor for all customers. Plenty of discussions can help to make sure everyone is on the same page.

  • Conscientiously weighing all options. Sometimes there’s more than one way to accomplish an objective. Being willing to do research in order to find products which provide superior results is a good trait in a contractor.
  • Managing expectations. The customer and the contractor likely have different expectations about something in the project; duration, mess, cost of add-ons, final appearance, etc. Lots of communication can help.

Making samples can help provide an idea about end result. Someone has said that you can pick two of these three: “You can have your project done well, done cheap or done quickly. But you can’t have all three.”