Many people purchase their homes with a fireplace already intact but those who do not have a big decision to make. When adding a fireplace to a home, it is necessary to choose between a factory built and a masonry fireplace. The decision depends on many different factors, many of which are a matter of personal preference. However, before making a purchase, it is important to understand the differences between the two types.

There are advantages and  disadvantages to choosing a pre-fabricated fireplace.

There are advantages and disadvantages to choosing a pre-fabricated fireplace.

The primary difference between a masonry fireplace and a factory built fireplace is the way in which they are constructed. A masonry fireplace is built at the site of the home, while a factory built fireplace is pre-assembled in a factory. It is important to keep in mind that factory built fireplaces are held to the same safety standard as masonry fireplaces and often have a higher heat output. A homeowner who plans to install one must make sure that it meets the required fire and safety requirements set by the municipality.

Another major difference between the two is the material used to create the flue, or the part of the chimney that allows smoke to leave the home. In a factory built fireplace, the flue is made out of metal. A masonry fireplace will feature a flue that is made out of brick or clay. Even people who choose masonry fireplaces often choose to line their flue with a metal liner. It lasts longer and is less likely to fall apart due to water damage from rain or snow.

If cost is a major factor to be considered, it is important to keep in mind that a masonry fireplace costs more to construct as well as to maintain over time. A factory built fireplace usually comes with a chimney cap, while a masonry fireplace will most likely require one to be purchased separately. The chimney cap may seem like an extra feature but it is actually a vital part of fireplace and chimney safety. It prevents foreign material from entering the chimney and blocking airflow.

In many cases, the choice is simply a matter of aesthetics. Many homeowners like the classic look and feel of a masonry fireplace. However, a factory built fireplace has a sleeker, more modern appearance. If space is an issue, it may be best to choose a factory built model since they tend to be smaller. Each homeowner must consider what they are hoping to get from their fireplace and what they hope the room will look like afterwards in order to make the best decision.

Of course, when installing something like a fireplace, safety is going to be an area of concern. When it comes to choosing between a masonry or factory built fireplace, many people think that masonry fireplaces are safer. In truth, there is no evidence to suggest that either model is safer than the other. The important thing is making sure that the fireplace is inspected regularly and that all rules of fireplace safety are followed.

Installing a fireplace is a major home project and decisions should not be made without careful consideration. The biggest choice to make is whether the fireplace will be a masonry model or factory built. Both options are equally safe but there are a few differences that may impact a homeowner’s decision. Regardless of which type is finally installed, it is important to keep up with regular maintenance and comply with all safety regulations.

Winston's Chimney Service
11301 Industrial Road
Manassas, VA 20109