A fireplace adds ambiance to any home. Sitting around a fire with your family can warm up even the coldest winter day. If you are thinking of building a new home or remodeling your current one, you may be wondering what your options are for building a fireplace. When designing your fireplace, you will have the option of installing a masonry or factory-built fireplace. Learning the differences between these two types of fireplaces can guide your decision-making process.
The biggest difference between masonry and factory-built fireplaces is how they’re constructed. A masonry fireplace is built on site and is integrated into the architecture of your home. It is constructed out of bricks and mortar. Usually, it is only convenient to install a masonry fireplace if you are building a new home or doing a major remodel.
A factory-built fireplace is built in a factory and installed on site. It is considered an appliance and is extensively tested for safety and efficiency. It is very important to choose the correct chimney system for your type of fireplace, or else you could create a hazardous situation. The chimney must match the fireplace type below to ensure proper airflow and safety. Because of this, you will want to make sure you have a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified technician install your factory-built fireplace.
In general, masonry fireplaces are more expensive. However, because masonry fireplaces are built on site, a skilled mason should be able to customize it any way you would like. Factory-built fireplaces, on the other hand, tend to be cheaper. However, since they are prefabricated, there is less opportunity for design options.
Durability & Maintenance
Properly designed masonry chimneys will last longer than factory-built fireplaces, which last approximately 15 years. You have to remember that factory-built fireplaces are an appliance while masonry fireplaces are built into your home and, therefore, can last the lifetime of your house if properly maintained. There is usually more maintenance required with masonry fireplaces. This is because masonry fireplace chimney flues are usually clay and tend to gather creosote easier than the factory-built chimneys which have metal flues. Also, as older brick and mortar starts to crumble, they will require more patching with sealing to keep working properly.
If you’re in the market for a new fireplace but are having trouble deciding what type of fireplace you would like, come visit our showroom and speak with one of our professional CSIA-certified fireplace technicians today!