Fireplaces in modern homes are built using two ways, prefabricated or masonry. Depending on what you prefer, you can decide which option is best for you. Masonry fireplaces are traditional, whereas prefabricated fireplaces are more modern. There are many differences between the two, heat output, price and longevity are all important factors. When buying, or renting a home, knowing what kind of fireplace you have is necessary to know how to maintain it. When building a home, you can have the option of what type of fireplace you want to have. Knowing the pros and cons of the two will help you decide for yourself.
The biggest difference between masonry fireplaces and prefabricated is the price. Masonry almost always is more expensive than prefabricated. The inflated price in comparison is because masonry requires it to be built on-site, versus being assembled. Masonry will become a part of the home’s design, so it is usually built while the home is still being constructed. An experienced mason who properly builds a fireplace can make it last much longer than a prefabricated fireplace. Bricks and mortar joints will deteriorate over time, but if annual inspections and regular maintenance are carried out, you should not have a problem in getting this fixed. Masonry is made from brick, which is a porous material. Prefabs are made from stainless steel and metal, so they are less susceptible to rain and water damage. Brick chimney systems are more prone to water damage, and leaks are common. It is important to have water-repellant solutions installed in your home to prevent this from happening. A chimney cap, chase cover, water repellant, and annual inspection can help combat water damage. Maintenance tends to be more expensive on masonry because you must pay to upkeep the brick structure. With a masonry chimney, you cannot “fake it until you make it.” Brick masonry can offer the ambiance factor that no other prefabricated fireplace can.
In comparison to masonry, prefabricated fireplaces are a lot more inexpensive. As a homeowner, it does make a lot more sense. As time progresses, and we step into the modern era, there is a noticeable rise in the demand for prefabricated fireplaces. More and more people are realizing that it is cheaper and less of a hassle to own a prefabricated fireplace. These fireplaces can radiate more heat by using a closed combustion system. By using closed combustion, less energy is used, making the fireplace more efficient in heating materials. Although it does get hotter, that is not always a good thing. Prefabricated fireplaces generally last around 10-15 years, depending on usage. Since prefabs are constructed from steel, the parts tend to warp and rust because of the heat. Unlike masonry, this fireplace is assembled on-site, and not built. This means to cost to replace or repair is much cheaper than masonry. It also means that prefabricated fireplaces can be built essentially where there is room in your house. A masonry fireplace must be part of the house’s structure and initial print, but a prefabricated fireplace can be designed in any aspect of your home, before or after.
Think Long Term
Whether you are leaning more towards a masonry look for your home or are drawn to the cheaper costs of a prefabricated fireplace, it is important to think long term. A fireplace is not something that you usually own more than one or must consistently buy new ones. A fireplace is a purchase that has an impact on your life forever. Are you ready to take on the high cost of masonry, and maintain the aesthetic value of bricks? Or did you want to get a prefabricated fireplace, even though it will not last you nearly as long? The choices you make for your home are always yours to make!