A warm, roaring fire in a fireplace is possible for all homeowners, not just those whose home was built with one. While masonry fireplaces and chimneys are generally included in a home when it is built, factory-built fireplaces are installed later on. Both of these fireplaces can produce adequate heat to your home during the frigid winter months, however, they do have their differences.


Home Location

Masonry fireplaces and chimneys are constructed as part of the home’s structure. Factory-built fireplaces, on-the-other-hand, are built exactly as the name implies – in a factory. They are then installed in homes later on. Factory-built fireplaces and chimneys must be installed correctly for safety.

Lifespan & Repair Costs

While factory-built fireplaces can last for many years, masonry fireplaces will still generally outlive them by a long time. After a certain period of time factory-built fireplaces will need to be replaced from a lack of replacement parts that keep them safe.

The good news is for those who chose factory-built fireplaces is that they are less expensive to repair and replace than masonry fireplaces and chimneys. As a result of the high cost of repairing masonry fireplaces, many people have opted for stainless steel chimney liners, which usually come with a lifetime warranty. Typically, replacing a factory-built fireplace costs less than simply repairing a masonry fireplace.


The main reason factory-built fireplaces are more efficient than their masonry counterparts is because of insulation. Factory-built fireplaces are usually very well insulated, which allows them to be installed almost anywhere. The construction of these fireplaces, which consists of glass doors, insulated wall, air-cooled pipes, and blowers (some not all) to move heat into the room, is made to work efficiently with the home’s heating unit.

Both types of fireplaces must be maintained properly. This means annual inspections to ensure that it is meeting all safety requirements. Both fireplace types are safe to use when used and maintained correctly. So, whichever you choose to keep your family warm, keep your fireplace and chimney clean and regularly inspected.

Resources: American Chimney & Masonry, Sweepy Stories, Smoke Signals

Read for More Information:

Important Facts about Gas Fireplaces
Chimney Masonry Repair: Why It’s Needed
What Are Chimney Inspection Levels

Wells & Sons is a chimney sweep service that offers chimney cleaning, repair and maintenance, gas and pellet stove installations, whole home masonry and stucco, and dryer vent cleaning. Wells has been providing superior chimney services to the Montgomery, Bucks, Berks, Chester, and Lehigh County, Pennsylvania and surrounding areas since 1979.