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What Is A Masonry Fireplace?

By Lawrence Macmillan August 15, 2021

Who doesn’t love the aesthetic that comes with having a fireplace in your home? In the winter months, it can make your home feel even more homely.

However, there are many different types of fireplaces, and if you have decided that you want to have a fireplace in your new home, then how can you know which one you want to have? Perhaps you are taking on a home renovation project, and you are looking through catalogs but have no idea what the difference is between types of fireplaces.

Surely a fireplace is just a fireplace, right? Wrong! 

There are different types of fireplaces for different reasons, each type has its own pros and cons, and will work well in different settings. The big question is, which one is better for you? 

Masonry fireplaces: What are they? 

A masonry fireplace is one that is made of brick, stone, and mortar. They are made up of a brick firebox, a brick chimney, which goes all the way up to the roof of the house and is typically constructed together with the house. 

Despite how there have been several fireplace designs that have come into being, these masonry fireplaces are still considered to be a grand favorite, and they are often dear to the homeowners who have them, thanks to their rustic and natural look and feel. They also have a plethora of uses as well that make them very useful and that people seem to favor them for. 

What are they used for? 

What are they used for?

As you would expect from any fireplace, masonry fireplaces warm up your house. They were originally designed to warm homes during the evenings,

However, they are also often used to warm up the house during daytime in the winter months. In some places, temperatures can get extremely cold during the winter, for many a masonry fireplace makes these cold temperatures more bearable.

They often replace other types of heaters as brick is more capable of retaining heat for some time, in fact, even after you have extinguished the fire, it will still keep your home warm for some time after. 

They are also often used for cooking food as well, they are a great place to boil some water for a nice cup of winter warm cocoa. You can use them to roast meat on sticks too! If you want to save on energy costs, or if the power goes out, masonry fireplaces are a great lifesaver that can save you from having to live off of the canned goods in the pantry. 

Their aesthetic appeal is also something that draws a lot of people to them. Some people find it very satisfying and relaxing to look at their rustic fireplace, with the flying embers dancing around on a dark and chilly evening. Many people will enjoy these fireplaces simply for their aesthetic. 

These fireplaces are considered to be energy savers, if you have had to pay out heavy energy bills when you’ve had the heating on non-stop in the winter months, you will  love having a masonry fireplace instead.

Since the brick retains heat so well, your home will be warm and toasty, and you won’t even need to turn the heating on. Just chuck a log on the fire and relax. 

We will talk about this in more detail in a moment, but, masonry fireplaces do add value to homes. People love having these fireplaces in their homes, the aesthetic, the energy saving, and the warmth are all very attractive, so if you have a masonry fireplace, the value of your home will go up when you try to sell. 

Masonry fireplaces vs factory built fireplaces

Factory built fireplaces and masonry fireplaces both provide you with warm, aesthetic and watching your own fire crackle away as you relax at home. However, there are some distinct differences between the two. People still seem to prefer masonry fireplaces, though. 

Value

Both of these types of fireplace add value to homes, and both must comply with regulations and safety requirements. When you purchase a home with a working fireplace, you must ensure that it meets regulations, getting a professional to check it out and ensure all is working well with it.

Masonry fireplaces are permanent parts of a structure and are built as the home is built, this is not to say you couldn’t add one, however, if you did, you would probably have to deconstruct part of the house to do so, and it is certainly not a one-man job. 

Factory built fireplaces are easier to install in your home however, they are not like masonry fireplaces, but they must still meet all engineering municipal codes. These will need to be installed by professionals. 

Efficiency

The efficiency of masonry fireplaces is good, however, some people like them thanks to the warm fire and the brick insulation, but some do not as heat can escape through the chimney, although this can be altered if you know what you are doing with your damper. 

Factor built fireplaces are insulated and can even be installed within inches of combustible materials, they can also have glass doors as well. Sadly though, their ‘smart’ appliance factor does mean that it is not as authentic. It is best to try it out for yourself, however, despite the possible loss of heat through the chimney, people still prefer masonry fireplaces. 

Life expectancy

When it comes down to life expectancy, masonry fireplaces win. They are built into the home, and they have remarkable life spans. With proper maintenance and care, these fireplaces can last a century. 

Factory built fireplaces, on the other hand, cannot. They can last a while, but they are not so durable. You will often need to replace parts, oftentimes as time goes on, these parts are unavailable, and you will need to replace the whole thing. 

Generally masonry fireplaces are the winner here, despite how they will typically lose a bit of heat through the chimney, they increase home value, are nice to look at, add a rustic aesthetic to your home, and they are incredibly durable


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