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Installing a fireplace can be a daunting task. Deciding on whether or not you want a masonry fireplace or a prefabricated fireplace is a major decision.  The cost to install a prefabricated brick fireplace is  $3,500 to $5,600 on average whereas an authentic mason-built brick fireplace can cost $10,000 to 30,000 and sometimes more. So the first decision you need to make is how much you have to spend on a fireplace. Then there is the construction. A masonry fireplace must be built on its own foundation. This means part of the foundation of your home must be removed and replaced with the fireplace foundation. It is best if at all possible, to have a masonry fireplace built when the home is being built. Adding a masonry fireplace after the home is built will be more costly. A masonry-built fireplace will last a lifetime or more, if well cared for it can last 100s of years. With a prefabricated fireplace, which is considered more of an appliance, it has approximately 20 to 30 years before it has to be replaced. Although both types of fireplaces will entail some construction in your home, the construction of a prefabricated unit is much less than that of a masonry one.

Many newer homes that have fireplaces are built with prefabricated ones since it is less costly, don’t require as much room, don’t need its’ own foundation, and can be placed directly on the subflooring of a home.  Installing the flue is also a major task on a masonry chimney since brick or stone must be carefully built foot by foot until it reaches the correct height for your home. A prefabricated flue is much more easily installed as it can run up the inside wall and through the ceiling and roof of the home. Especially if it is a zero clearance prefabricated fireplace, these units require the least room to be installed. All prefabricated units are heavily insulated to prevent heat and fire from reaching nearby beams and walls of your home. The insulation is what enables the fireplace to be placed just about anywhere in your home. Whereas a masonry fireplace has to have a specific location. Re-installations of a prefabricated fireplace are not usually as costly as having one initially installed, as most of the construction has been done and the firebox and flue are the only portions that need to be replaced. Unless you want some upgrades on the look of the fireplace and mantel this is the perfect opportunity to have these items added, or changed. This can not be done on a masonry fireplace as easily as the mantle and face are usually built into the unit at the time of construction and would take major construction to change out. Once again as fuel prices go up, home heating is getting much more expensive and the popularity of fireplaces are on the rise. If you do decide to have a fireplace installed be sure to have a professional chimney sweep install it as most contractors are not trained in fireplace installation and local codes that accompany a proper installation.