Masonry vs Manufactured Fireplaces: What’s the Difference?

When thinking of fireplaces, most people immediately picture a traditional masonry fireplace. And if you’re a new homeowner interested in adding a fireplace to your home, a masonry setup may seem like a tall task. The good news is that there are other alternatives to think about if you’re in the fireplace market – manufactured fireplaces. So, which is best for you?

Well, both masonry and manufactured options have benefits and drawbacks, but both are great choices depending on your heating needs, design wants, and budget.

If you’d like to schedule an appointment for a consultation to discuss whether a masonry or manufactured fireplace is right for you, you can reach out to Smalling Masonry by dialing 317-903-8121 or by contacting us online with questions or pictures. We also have a place to book your next appointment!

We’re confident that we can make your dream fireplace a reality.

What Is a Masonry Fireplace?

A masonry fireplace is built onsite within the home as part of the home’s structural design. These more traditional setups are built from materials like stone, firebrick, or red brick, and bound together by mortar.

Homeowners often opt to go with a masonry fireplace because of its heightened visual appeal. The traditional brickwork has a charm that is aesthetically pleasing and offers the comfort of familiarity. With regular maintenance and routine repairs, a well-built masonry fireplace can last a literal lifetime.

All that said, the materials used to build a masonry fireplace are heavy and that should be taken into consideration when planning installation. Can your home’s existing structure support the added weight? Will there be enough room to fit a large fireplace and chimney? Building a masonry fireplace and chimney from scratch also might require some demolition work at the beginning – and some type of reinforcement support to ensure the structural stability of your home.

What Is a Manufactured Fireplace?

A manufactured fireplace – also referred to as a prefabricated fireplace – is constructed off-site in a factory, and then transported to the site for installation. Manufactured fireplaces typically feature more materials like refractory panels and various metal parts.

Manufactured fireplaces are a bit more flexible in terms of placement, as opposed to their masonry counterparts – and they’re a lot quicker to install, too, with nothing needing to be built into your home. And since they are better insulated than masonry fireplaces, they give off better heat, making them a popular choice in smaller homes.

That said, these aren’t a permanent fixture, like a masonry setup would be. This means that they’ll need to be replaced in a decade or two. That said, many like this lack of permanence and that it’s less of a big commitment.

Which Is Cheaper to Install?

While we can’t say for sure what to expect in terms of a price range (at least, not until we get to know your unique situation), we can get you a rough idea. A masonry fireplace is built as part of your home’s structure, which could require demolition and moving load-bearing walls, so these options tend to be more pricey.

Manufactured fireplaces are easier (and cheaper) to install, but we may need to insert a gas line to support it if you choose gas as your primary heating source. And inserting or moving a gas line requires permits from your town which could come at an added cost.

So ultimately, it depends on what appliance you want, the fuel type you’re using, and the scope of the job once a plan is in place. We do offer an estimate tool on our site for custom chimney installations and we encourage you to use it. And if you have questions or concerns? Reach out to us directly! We’re happy to help.

Hire Us To Install the Fireplace of Your Dreams

Whether you choose to go with a traditional masonry fireplace or you prefer the flexibility of a manufactured unit, Smalling Masonry is the right team to get the job done. A member of our customer service crew is waiting and ready to answer all of your questions. Get in touch with us online or give us a call at 317-903-8121 to get started.


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