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Yellowdog's avatar

In designing a house, can a fireplace be put on the second floor if there is no fireplace beneath?

Asked by Yellowdog (12216points) February 13th, 2021

Can a fireplace be put on a second floor if there is no fireplace on the floor beneath?

As some of you may recall from previous questions, I am designing a house that isn’t likely to ever come into fruition. I was designing a house from my early teens to early twenties, and this is an adaptation of that one. It replicates sort of a Craftsman / Victorian farmhouse that has retained historical accuracy but has been tastefully renovated

My interest peaked again since the COVID lockdowns. Even though it won’t likely ever be built, it has become an obsession for me and I enjoy working on it.

Anyhow, On the ground level is a garage that is connected to the house. The main floor of the house is a few feet above the ground/garage level. Directly above the garage is a large, nicely-proportioned recreation / game room, accessible to the second floor. The main second floor is likewise a few feet above the game room level.

On the other side of a garage wall is a bathroom connected to a back office / bedroom on the main floor. On the other side of the game room is a bathroom connected to a master bedroom.

Obviously, neither the garage nor either bathroom on either floor needs a fireplace. But the recreation / game room, which is over the garage, would be greatly enhanced by a large fireplace (wood or gas) with an elevated hearth.

It seems ok to put an ashpit accessible to the garage. But it seems a little unusual to have a supporting chimney base on the ground and first floor to support a second-floor fireplace.

Is this arrangement plausible or practical? Have you ever known anything like this to be done?

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8 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t see why not. Fireplaces are put in above crawl spaces, why not on the second floor?

I’ll be interested to hear more expert opinions on the topic.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I know someone with a fireplace on the 2nd floor and not on the first. Below it is an open space, not any chimney.

But come to think of it, I have never seen it in use. It may have been built as a gas fireplace, which would (I think) be less complicated for venting.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

It not just the chimney; you have to remove wood ash. Most fireplaces have an ash dump for removing the ashes.

Yellowdog's avatar

@Call Me Jay: A gas fireplace would also be preferable on the second floor because of having to bring the fire wood upstairs—risky, laborious and not fun. Gas fireplaces can require very little by way of ventilation and are much lighter.

@Tropical Willie: An ash pit accessible to the garage makes excellent sense—but I am beginning to think gas is the way to go.

kritiper's avatar

Probably, but only if you build enough structure under the fireplace to support it’s weight.

LuckyGuy's avatar

it is possible to have oneon the second floor if you have a load bearing wall and support on the first floor below.. If you have the choice, I would go with natural gas rather than wood.. Gas is cleaner, easier to use, safer, takes up less space, makes less mess, and requires less work.
Yes, you will still need to be connected to the utility company but that is a small price to pay for the convenience.
In my opinion, unless you have an infinite supply of wood that needs to be cleaned up I would go with gas.

jca2's avatar

My grandparents had an old Victorian house built on the shores of a river (Hudson River, NY). Because the house was on a hill, the front door and living room/dining room was on the second floor, and the floor below was the kitchen and bathroom and other rooms. The second floor (living room/formal dining room) had gas fireplaces. One in the living room, one in the dining room.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 I had friends who had a similar house for a while. I think they lived in Pelham, NY at the time. Main floor was formal living and bedrooms. Downstairs was the kitchen, casual dining, and rec room/family area. They used to roller skate in the room. I loved that house as a kid. When I picture it, I think the main floor formal living room had a fireplace and also one in the master bedroom, but I only remember one fireplace downstairs.

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