Differences Between Masonry & Factory-Built Fireplaces

Maonsry FireplaceA masonry fireplace typically increases the value of a home, which may not be the case with a factory-built fireplace. Both do provide the beauty, pleasure, and warmth of a crackling fire; but there are some differences between masonry fireplaces and factory-built fireplaces which consumers may consider significant.


A masonry fireplace and chimney is part of a home’s architectural design and is built in place as the home is constructed. Various aspects of masonry fireplaces are regulated by municipal codes, and the structures are inspected to verify that they meet building requirements. Among modern-day mandates is the inclusion of a flue lining. The flue is essential to preventing house fires; chimneys in older homes built before the liner was a requirement should not be used until a liner is added.

Factory-built fireplaces, as the name implies, are made in factories. They are also subject to applicable engineering codes. Proper installation of these appliances is a matter of utmost importance, to prevent house fires and possible carbon monoxide poisoning, which is the leading cause of poisoning fatalities in the U.S. Trust our professionally trained and qualified chimney sweeps, who will painstakingly install your factory-built fireplace according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


Fires can potentially create a great deal of wear and tear on any appliance, but the life expectancy of a masonry fireplace is still quite remarkable. Some masonry fireplaces, for example, have a 20-year warranty and are expected to endure for at least a century.

Factory-built fireplaces are far less durable, though they can last for many years. What often happens over time is that various parts which need to be replaced are no longer available, making it necessary to replace the entire appliance.

Replacement Costs

While masonry fireplaces typically last a very long time, at some point they become damaged, usually by the effects of moisture. The bricks and mortar begin crumbling, which leads to other problems. It can be extremely costly to repair a masonry fireplace and chimney. When a flue liner deteriorates or develops a crack, it’s important to install a new lining as soon as possible, which is also a significant expense.

By comparison, replacing any and all parts of a factory-built fireplace is affordable.

Heat Efficiency

Open hearth masonry fireplaces provide a lot less heat for a home than modern appliances, which have many years of technological advancement behind them. For example, there are wood stoves available today which burn so efficiently that they qualify as smokeless appliances. Also, many factory-built appliances have fans which move the heat from the fire into the room.

One big difference between the two heating units as regards heating efficiency is iFactory Built Insertnsulation. Factory-built fireplaces – which have glass doors, air-cooled pipes, and insulated walls — are very well insulated. In fact, they can be installed just a few inches from combustible materials.

Because of excellent insulation, there are typically many different locations in a home to choose from, as far as where a factory-built fireplace can be installed and safely used.

A masonry fireplace can become a much more efficient appliance if a factory-built fireplace insert is added.

Contact us today for help with the installation of a fireplace insert or factory-built fireplace as well as for chimney cleaning, maintenance, and inspection. We will also be glad to answer any questions you have about your chimney and venting system.

Chimney Solutions, Inc.
1155 McFarland 400 Drive, Alpharetta GA 30004
Office 770-255-1300

Chimney Sweep / Chimney Repairs / Chimney Liners / Fireplace & Stove Service
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