Differences between Factory-Built Fireplaces and Masonry Fireplaces

masonry fireplace, pre-fabricated fireplace insert, professional chimney sweep

A masonry fireplace is built along with the home on site whereas a factory built fireplace is built in the factory and transported to the home for installation.

If there isn’t a masonry fireplace and chimney in your home, you can have a factory-built fireplace installed.  Both of these units provide warmth and the ability to enjoy watching the flames.  There are some distinct differences, however, between a masonry fireplace and one that is built in the factory.

Place of Origin

Some would say that the most significant difference between a masonry fireplace and a factory-built fireplace is where they are constructed.

Masonry fireplaces and chimneys are part of a home’s structural design and are built as the house is built.  There are certain building requirements which dictate various aspects of the unit, and fireplaces are inspected to ensure they are up to code.

Factory-built fireplaces are manufactured in factories.  They also are regulated and must be built according to applicable engineering codes.  For a homeowner, the most critical factor regarding factory-built fireplaces is installation.  For safe operation of these appliances, they must be installed properly.  Our professional chimney sweeps are trained and qualified to install factory-built fireplaces according to manufacturers’ instructions.

Durability

A masonry fireplace and chimney will typically last longer than a factory-built fireplace.

While factory-built units can last for many years, they ultimately need to be replaced.  What usually happens is that various replacement parts are no longer available.

Replacement Costs

Repairing a masonry fireplace and chimney can be costly.  If the flue becomes cracked or deteriorated, a new lining needs to be installed.  Many people today are opting to get stainless steel chimney liners, since they usually carry a lifetime warranty.  The bricks and mortar may begin to crumble over the span of many years, but regular maintenance and the application of water repellent coating will help keep the chimney sound and reduce the deterioration caused by weather.

Insulation

fireplace insert, pre-fabricated fireplace, pre-fab fireplace installation

Fireplace inserts are built at the factory but can be installed in many different locations in your home.

Factory-built fireplaces are built in such a way that they can typically be installed just inches away from combustible materials.  Most are constructed of metal and have glass doors, insulated walls, air-cooled pipes, and blowers which can move the heat produced by the fire into the room.  The chimneys which come with the factory-built fireplaces are especially constructed to work safely and most efficiently with the heating unit.  It’s extremely dangerous to use a chimney which doesn’t meet the specifications outlined by the manufacturer.

Not all factory-built fireplaces include blowers.  Some operate with the standard radiant heat method, which isn’t as effective in circulating heat.

Open masonry fireplaces are typically not as efficient as factory-built fireplaces, when it comes to heating a room; and that’s partly because of the difference in insulation.  A concrete foundation is necessary for a fireplace but not for factory-built models.  As mentioned previously, factory-built units are better insulated and there are many options for where they can be installed in a home.

Fireplace insert accessibility

You can install a fireplace insert in a fireplace, but that isn’t the case with a factory-built unit.  The only exception would be if there is an insert which was specifically designed and tested to be installed in a particular factory-built fireplace.

If you would like to explore the different options for fireplace inserts and masonry fireplaces, contact our professional staff today. Whether you have a masonry fireplace or a factory-built unit, let our professional chimney sweeps handle your maintenance, inspection, and installation needs.

Northeastern Chimney, Inc.
formerly Nayaug Chimney Services, LLC
37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110
Phone: 860-233-5770

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