The easiest new fireplace to install is a direct-vent gas fireplace.

Q: My husband and I have one big complaint about our house: There's no fireplace. How difficult is it to add one in an existing home?

A: For the easiest installation, choose a direct-vent gas fireplace. You can install this type of fireplace on any exterior wall, and it will vent directly out the back. Installation usually takes only about a day or a day and a half.

If you want to add a wood-burning fireplace, that's not impossible either. You just need space above to get a chimney up through the roof. In two-story houses, choices for placing the fireplace may be more limited, but often you can find the 12- to 14-inch space the chimney requires by enclosing a corner of a room or a spare closet.

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