View Full Version : outdoor fireplace

01-18-2013, 05:22 PM
Customer wants an outdoor "bar" built with a cut in for stove a couple exterior stainless steel cabinets and a fireplace. The fireplace is where i am getting hung up on. They want a fireplace not a pit. WHat have you guys used in the past. Just soley a stone oven or is there some type of exterior fireplace i could from in and then stone around similar to what you would do inside. Price is not a concern pretty much looking for the easier route as the customer doesn't care so much about which route we go? Let me know what you guys have done pictures would be great. Thanks

01-18-2013, 05:57 PM
My dad and I built this at our house, framed it up, and put it together. He bought the fireplace insert at home depot or menards I think. Depends what you are building though, Westin Wall seems to be the easiest as it comes to "building block" otherwise veneered stone isn't bad either.

YardBros Outdoors

01-18-2013, 06:05 PM
Fire rock usa has some nice kits pretty simple to install
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NC Greenscaper
01-18-2013, 09:33 PM
Try El Dorado outdoor. They make modular units and the stone veneer for them.

01-21-2013, 06:01 PM
Got the fireplace figured out does anyone know of similar sites that have bars in the same type of kit thing?

NC Greenscaper
01-21-2013, 07:55 PM
Try El Dorado outdoor. They make modular units and the stone veneer for them.

This company makes modulars for bars as well. What did you decide with the fireplace.

01-21-2013, 08:01 PM

Was recommended this by a local guy who helps or "mentors" me. The whole project is for a good family friend who understands i don't have a ton of hardscaping and that it will be a learning experience for me. Let me know what you guys think.

01-21-2013, 11:02 PM
Alright guys got some final numbers going let me know how this sounds. Running the whole thing at 25$ an hour which i know sounds crazy cheap but like i said its more of experience for me then making money and both the client and i know that. That being said i have priced
fireplace: 2250
bar: 2500
Open shelter 16x16: 3000
Dirt work: 2000
Stained cement pad 16x18: 2000

Do you guys price each item out like this or do you send in a bid that says x amount of dollars. Also i know i am going to need some wiggle room should i just add say 10% to each number for unexpected things i will come across?

Right now bid come out to about 12,000
Figured for labor and material I'm sitting at about 9 grand.
Please don't tell me I'm a low baller and so on and so forth that is why i am asking for help on this let me know what is to low or high. I appreciate the feedback and the help. I don't want people to think I'm some scrub i am licensed insured pay taxes etc. just mainly do maintenance type work and am trying to branch out. Thanks.

01-22-2013, 02:52 AM
At $1800 for the fireplace in the link, dropped off at the street, that leaves you $450 to move it, set it, and I assume furnish and install a veneer. I think you're way light on your price.

I'm not sure what you're doing for a bar, but I have to imagine you're light there. Four barstools, figuring 2' per guest, is an 8' counter. If you're doing El Dorado's units and providing the countertop and veneer, I don't know if you're covering your costs.

When you say open shelter, are you talking a roof w/ no sides or a pergola? Last kit pergola I priced two years ago was a 15'x15' in untreated pine for $2800 plus freight, in cedar for $3800 plus freight. You still need to dig footers, supply concrete, and put it together.

No clue on the dirt work, but the concrete price would fly here.

I get that you're looking at this as an opportunity to learn as well as build your portfolio, and that's cool. You're still putting in the time, and leaving the customer with a finished product, and I assume you'll be standing behind your work. You still need to cover all your costs (which I'm a little worried you're not doing here) and you need to make something for your labor. If you're going to lose money on product and work for free, build a practice outdoor living space in your own backyard so you get to enjoy it, or do it for a charity and get the writeoff. Don't hurt yourself financially just to get something like this under your belt, because if you do this project at a loss you're still going to get called back for every issue, real or perceived.

DVS Hardscaper
01-22-2013, 09:21 AM
Crawl before you walk walk before your run.

This job is not a Job for a rookie. Start little and work your way big.
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01-22-2013, 12:15 PM
The concrete and shelter I have tons of experience doing and am confident on my prices there. The fireplace I will bump the bid up and try to make a solid grand off of. The bar is a kit bar the home owner found and wants. Unfortantly now she knows the price so I can't mark it up like I normally would. However I will take another look at labor on it. Really the only new things I will be doing are the bar and the fireplace which I understand is a big project. The bar is
8' x3'. Material from the kit comes out to about 1500 dollars. I know that there will probably be a couple things here and there that I will need but I should profit 7-800 dollars off it before gas to get there and etc. also what do you guys find best for cutting stone? Thanks
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DVS Hardscaper
01-22-2013, 07:13 PM
Things that never cease to amaze me:

1) people considering theirselves "contractors", yet they use the term "bid" when referencing residential projects.

2) folks with tons of experience and competency, yet they need assistance.


Hardscaping can bankrupt you in a heartbeat. To make it in the Hardscape biz you need to know production and numbers and accounting. Most guys only last in this biz 3-5 years. Always absorb advice and information shared to you.
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01-22-2013, 07:39 PM
First of all I've openly admitted multiple times I've had little to no hardscape experience. What I did say is that I've had a lot of concrete and construction experience. If you are amazed by people needing assistance then why are you on this forum isn't the point of it to help each other and to ask questions? Also I don't plan on becoming a full time hardscaper just am trying to take advantage of a good situation to learn and expand my skills. I'm sorry for using the word bid would estimate be a better choice? Got me stumped on that one?
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01-22-2013, 07:41 PM
What stone are you cutting and how big is it
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01-22-2013, 07:51 PM
its called a belgina tumbled block the dimensions are 6x6" and 6x9"

01-22-2013, 07:59 PM
Is that a paver? How thick is it? Use a demo saw or table saw if you're a real gangster
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DVS Hardscaper
01-22-2013, 08:31 PM
First of all I've openly admitted multiple times I've had little to no hardscape experience. What I did say is that I've had a lot of concrete and construction experience. If you are amazed by people needing assistance then why are you on this forum isn't the point of it to help each other and to ask questions? Also I don't plan on becoming a full time hardscaper just am trying to take advantage of a good situation to learn and expand my skills. I'm sorry for using the word bid would estimate be a better choice? Got me stumped on that one?
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My comment(s) is/are derived from Papercutter providing you some good feedback about your prices, as you did ask what folks thought of them. And then you responded that you're confident of your price for a aspect of the project. But earlier you said money wasn't an issue. Then you said you're doing the work for $25 an hr as a learning experience. And then you wanted feedback of your prices!

We all start somewhere :) And we all continue to learn new stuff :)

If it's a friend - then just tell them $25 an hour or $200 per day and leave it at that.

I find it to be a pain in the butt working for some friends. I have a friend whom I'm helping with grading such, for free. He said he had an old building cleaned out and ready to be demoed. I get there and it's not cleaned out. With me only available to help him on Sundays - he shoulda had it done so we could rock and roll with what I was there to do for him.

The building required some sawing of the structure. He moaned and groaned about the grunt work and stood there starring at it hoping an easier way would jump out at him. The time he spent standing there looking at it was time ticking away.

I told him he'll need a roll off container, as it will take 3-4 trips to the landfill with my truck. Basically an entire Saturday. I can have a roll off loaded in 2 hrs and be back on my way home. He doesnt seem very willing to pay $450 to $600 for a roll off! By the time he pays the landfill fees and my fuel - it'll be damn close to $450.00.

So - if this is a friend of yours - its best to work for an hourly fee. This way if your friend slips in other features (they always do), or is supposed to help you but spends alotta time yelling at his wife - then you're covered. Friends are not accustomed to productivity. They tire out. They have to check their Facebook every 8 minutes. Just a PITA. And like I said "oh, we decided to add this lighting in here", but they somehwe never ask you how much more it will be! So if they're paying you hourly - then they can add and change things and Facebook all they want.

The term "bid" is what you do with commercial work. You submit a "bid with the intent of being the lowest bidder to land the contract. In the residential market - no one wants to be the lowest bidder. We want to sell quality and all that nice sounding stuff. And you can not sell quality when you're trying to be the lowest.

Why am I here? If you really wanna know - feel free to search my name. You'll find I share more experiences, expertise, knowledge, wisdom, and comedy than you could ever dream of. It's what you WANT to make of it.

01-22-2013, 09:28 PM
I understand what your saying on a lot of it. Just to clear up one thing what i meant on confident on my price is soley on the "construction" aspect of it. Being the concrete and open air shelter. I also said that i would re look over my prices on the hardscaping stuff. Also on the 25$ an hour that i stated is included in the price with me estimating how much time each phase of the project will take. I would assume that most of you work for a rate that is greater then 25$ which is why i mentioned it is for a family friend in order to keep people off my back about being a lowballer.

I also get what your saying about friend being a PITA but this one will not be helping in any way shape or form. I have taken a lot of time figuring out what my actual cost for all this will be. Then i estimated my amount of time it will take to labor wise. I have since gone back and added one full day to each stage of the project. I also went back and put a 15% mark up on material just in case i run short here and there.

Dually noted on the term bid makes a lot of sense to me and i will keep that in mind for the future.

I have looked through your work and have no doubts that you are very successful at what you do and did not mean any insult to you. You do great work and are defiantly someone i would take advice from.

01-22-2013, 09:34 PM
On jobs I'm not familiar with i use a generic SF price as a "spell check" after adding up all the materials, labor, markup etc. make sure I'm not way off or leaving $$ on the table.
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01-22-2013, 09:36 PM
That would not be a bad idea at all i just don't know how i would figure out what to charge per sq foot until i get some experience under my belt?

01-23-2013, 11:13 AM
Where is the fireplace going relative to the structure? Assuming the dude at the end of the video is my height, that puts the top of the chimney at around 66". I wouldn't want that venting onto a pergola, and I definitely wouldn't want it venting into a roofed structure.

Without knowing exactly what you're building and how you're finishing everything it's hard to know how far off your numbers are. I know I couldn't be under $5k for a pergola for that size space, $10k for a roofed structure, but if you're confident, have at it. This isn't even saying you're leaving money on the table, this is worrying that you're hosing yourself.

Take DVS's advice and let the client buy the materials and just charge for your labor. I'd bill weekly, too. When you're dealing with unfamiliar products you're going to hit snags, and when you're dealing with Harry Homeowner stuff like that fireplace you often hit huge snags.

01-23-2013, 03:39 PM
I will do that and let them purchase material. I'm just roughing numbers because I want to see how close I will come so I know for future work. I appreciate all the advice and am trying my best to let your experience overtake. I have since double checked all my numbers. Thank you Dvs paper cutter And rj
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03-15-2013, 04:43 PM
THought i would update you guys on this project. Starting groundwork next week. Little bit of skid loader work to be done. Have a buddy coming in to do that. My question is he is going to bill me at the end. Is it pretty standard to mark that up say 5-10% and make a little profit or is that not an acceptable thing to do?
Thanks again guys pretty sure you saved my a$$ on this one!

03-15-2013, 06:57 PM
You didn't already give the customer a price?

03-15-2013, 07:05 PM
Well being this is my first hardscaping job i gave them a rough estimate of where it would be. They are paying for all material and i will be billing them out hourly for the work i do. This is what some pretty big contractors like DVS recommended doing and being that ihvae no room to argue I'm going to take his advice on this. It will be a great job for me to get some experience under my belt and learn out how to price things. I have what i think would be a good quote in mind so at the end it will be good to see how close i am. I will be taking detailed notes on each phase of the project so that i can see what went good and what went wrong so i can adjust for future projects. As stated above the client is a fairly good family friend and is fully aware of my situation. I would not just do this with any random client of mine.

03-15-2013, 07:13 PM
Gotcha, based on this situation I wouldn't put anything on it but just about whenever I sub work I do add money to it to make it worth my time. I have to over see the subs and need to be paid for it.

03-15-2013, 07:15 PM
Ok that makes sense thank you for the response. If you don't mind asking what is a typical cost to add on? do you do it as a % thing or just depends on what the situation is?

03-15-2013, 07:41 PM
I don't really do it by a percentage, I figure out how much effort I have to put into at and what I need to make off it for it to be worth my while doing and still having a competitive price.

03-15-2013, 09:02 PM
I see. Thank you for the info!
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Tom Schureman
03-20-2013, 11:27 AM
If you are using a Firerock or Isokern fireplace shell, you will still need to install a frost free footing. You are way to cheap on your price for the fireplace....especially if you add any type of hearth or mantle. You may want to use an experienced mason to do the stone work. Also check to see how high you need the chimney to be to get adequate venting. Wind and other structures can effect this