I have an antebellum home and am renovating a bedroom that once had a fireplace which was torn out long ago. I'd like to install a vent-free gas log set in this room, but I do not want to put it in a cheap pre-fab vent-free firebox, but hope I can build a real- looking firebox from real firebrick inside a chase that looks like a real interior chimney.
I thought I could frame it out, line with durock and colid concrete block, then face with firebrick. Not sure what to do with the top (inside the chase) or if the whole thing is a bad idea. Just seems like a 300 pre-fab box is a bad idea when I can buy a pallet of historic for the same price. thanks for any advice!
Be careful, you are treading in dangerous waters when it comes to old fireplaces that have been torn out and covered up. Sprinkle in the antebellum age and now you are nearing the class 5 rapids.
There are various opinions on the uses of vent-free fireplaces. Check your local codes to make sure they are allowed in your area. I am not aware of any vent-free fireplaces that are allowed to be used in sleeping rooms. Vent-free fireplaces are factory sealed units and any kind of modifications to them are not permissible. They should carry a UL label or equivalent.
For your old fireplace and chimney, I would suggest that before you do anything you should have it checked out by a qualified chimney company. You can find information on chimney specialist in your area at the Certified Chimney Sweep web site or the National Fireplace Institute web site.