“Masonry built” or “Factory Built” are two phrases you will hear a lot when shopping for a new fireplace. That’s because these two designs make up all major fireplace installations.
So what’s the difference between these two designs? In a word: construction. Masonry fireplaces are constructed to be practically bullet proof. Most masonry fireplaces are built right into the home, and are made of sturdy brick or stone. These fireplaces are designed to be simple but functional. Masonry built fireplaces can last decades. Homes built in the 1800′s or 1900′s with masonry fireplace designs can still use their original fireplaces today. Regular maintenance on this style is minimal. And masonry fireplaces are often sought after by new home buyers.
But the solid construction of the masonry fireplace can be a problem as well as a benefit. Masonry fireplaces are difficult and expensive to replace. Any changes to the fireplace must be done to the building itself. And a more invasive method of replacement can cost a home owner extra time and money. What’s more, a masonry construction does not always guarantee a permanent addition to a household. Imperfections in the original construction of the fireplace can cause problems decades after they are built. If these structural problems do pop up, they are likely to appear without warning. And the cost of fixing these unexpected issues can be great.
For people who want a lower cost installation and simpler construction, a factory-built fireplace is the right choice. Factory-built, or pre-fabricated, is the term given to any fireplace that is built in a warehouse and installed on site. These fireplaces are designed for easy installation in any room of the house. Masonry fireplaces are designed to burn wood, and must be changed to burn another type of fuel. But a factory-built fireplace can use wood, gas, electric, or processed fuels right from the start.
A factory-built fireplace can give your home the right look for the right price. Masonry-built fireplaces must conform to one style, but a factory-built installation allows for practically anything. You can have a classic wood burning fireplace for the same cost as having a stylish electric fireplace. You could turn your fireplace into an accent with a see-thru, peninsula, or wall-mounted design. With factory-built, the choices are endless.