The linear fireplace is one of the most popular fireplaces in home design today. Its large size makes it the center of attention in the living room. If you opt for an electric fireplace, you can enjoy it in any season (with or without heat). It’s the perfect blend of on-trend aesthetics and functional practicality.

When it comes to actually installing your linear fireplace, there can be a lot of questions. We chatted with our product team to find out the most important things to think about for linear fireplace installation. Here are the top four.


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Consider Recessed vs Surface Mounted

Linear fireplaces can be fully recessed or surface mounted. One of the first things to consider, even before you purchase a fireplace, is which type of installation you prefer.

A recessed fireplace is inserted into the wall and the front of the unit sits flush with the wall. Sometimes you can do a partially recessed setup. Your final option is a surface mounted unit. The surface mounted unit hangs on the wall and installs just like a picture on the wall.

Choosing between recessed and surface mounted is mostly a question of the type of unit you purchase and how much money and time you have to devote to a minor construction project.

Some linear fireplace units have intake or vents on the side of the fireplace that might require either partial recession, surface mounting, or building in clearance in a fully recessed installation. Be aware of the specs of the units you are considering (before you make a purchase) to be sure the unit aligns with the type of installation you desire.

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DIY vs Contractor

Now that you have determined the type of installation you want and have the right unit, your next question is whether you can do it yourself or should you hire a contractor.

Surface mounted linear fireplaces can easily be handled yourself. Manufacturer instructions that come with the fireplace (and are also found online for download) will guide you through the process. If you are planning on installing a recessed linear fireplace, things quickly get more complicated.

Most people prefer to get a contractor to install recessed fireplaces. Not only will you have to knock a hole in the wall, but you’ll have to consider the electrical situation and any clearance requirements for the fireplace. A frame must be built to support the unit and measurements must be exact.

One thing that tends to trip up DIYers with recessed fireplaces is the actual dimension vs the rough-in dimension. The actual measurement doesn’t include any trims which will have to be accounted for in the overall measurement. The rough-in measurements will give you a better idea of the overall finished measurement including trims, clearance, etc.

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Planning for Installation

Planning before you start your linear fireplace installation is key to success. Surface mounted units don’t need quite as much planning as a recessed unit as they don’t require any construction. Recessed models, however, need plenty of forethought.

Depending on the type of linear fireplace you select, you may have vents or intakes on the side of the unit that require either partial recession or clearance space around the fireplace inside the wall.

Traditional fireplace inserts need three inches of clearance around the top and sides and that often stands for linear units as well. On the other hand, some linear units feature zero clearance installation and need no “breathing room” to be built in.

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Though the zero clearance recessed units can fit snugly into the wall, they do require at least eight inches minimum distance between the unit and a mantel or shelf. Maintain a distance of 36 inches around the unit for drapes and furniture and such.

Even though you try to get ahead with good preparation, it is important to wait until you receive your unit before you start putting holes in walls. We recommend that you rough-in the opening you’ll make once your unit arrives so you don’t end up having to backtrack. Always consult exact dimensions for framing in the unit’s manual as well.


White trimmed electric fireplace against a blue wall with long console unit underneath.

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Powering the Unit

For electric fireplaces, a source of power is key to planning the location of your linear fireplace. Most units are standard 120 volts but some are 210 or 240 volts. Be sure you have the correct amount of power available to your fireplace.

Hard wiring is another great option for recessed linear fireplaces. As long as a contractor is involved, a direct source of power eliminates some potential problems. Whether you go with hard wired or an outlet, be sure that the power source is grounded appropriately.

Many customers are interested in electric fireplaces in bathrooms. While a fireplace can go anywhere, this is an electrical appliance that should not come in contact with water. Do not install a linear (or any other type) electric fireplace over a bathtub, next to the shower, or in an moist unventilated space.

Ready to select and install your linear fireplace? Linear fireplace installation is made easier when you consider all the important things ahead of time.

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