If you are considering building a new masonry fireplace, contact a UFS Member Store near you. From surrounds & mantels to prefabricated zero clearance fireplaces, you’ll find great deals on discount fireplaces and top-of-the-line units for all fireplace products from a real hearth store that offers greater experience and knowledge than big box stores.
Masonry fireplaces were first used as early as the 11th century in Europe, and still to this day remain one of the most coveted features in a home. Whether you intend on using the fireplace everyday or just as the occasional marshmallow-roasting tool, nothing compares to the look and feel of using a traditional masonry fireplace.
Benefits of a Masonry Fireplace
Masonry fireplaces are normally built along with the house, so this allows the fireplace to be fully integrated into the design and style of the home. The quality and longevity of this type of fireplace will depend on the skill and care the mason and home builders took to build it. With proper care and maintenance, you can greatly extend the life of your masonry fireplace.
Another benefit is the traditional look of a masonry fireplace. While zero clearance fireplaces are often designed to imitate the look of a traditional fireplace, there is something special about the quality and feel of a true masonry built design.
Drawbacks of Masonry Fireplaces
The main drawback to a masonry fireplace is the cost. The material and the labor costs to build a masonry fireplace are significant. There are many alternatives to a traditional fireplace that cut down on this expense. If cost is a prohibitive factor then a masonry fireplace is most likely not the best option for you.
Another drawback is that these fireplaces are not very efficient. Without an enclosed firebox and control over the amount of air that feeds the fire, the majority of the heat created is wasted up the chimney. Therefore, a masonry fireplace is not typically the best option when you are looking for an added heat source in your home. It is not uncommon for a masonry fireplaces pull the warm air out of the room and send it up the chimney, leaving the room cooler than it was before the fire.
Converting an existing Masonry Fireplace
If you already have a stone fireplace in your home there are many ways to convert these fireplaces with your fuel of choice. You can add a fireplace insert (or depending on the size, maybe a stove) and utilize the existing chimney to properly vent the new appliance. This is a common option for homeowners who no longer use their masonry fireplace. All gas, wood and pellet inserts are designed to heat well and have high efficiencies.
Steps to Consider When Building a New Masonry Fireplace
Once you decide that you would like to have a masonry fireplace built in your home, there are a couple items that you will have to take care of right from the start. A masonry fireplace must be built according to all appropriate codes. So, you will have to find an experienced stone mason. Your UFS Store Member should be your first stop. If they provide this service, look no further. If not, they will be aware of masons in the area. Be sure to check references and certifications before you hire a mason, as you would with any other contractor.
You will want to be involved with the planning and design of the fireplace, chimney and hearth. You will need to work closely with your general contractor and mason. This can be somewhat time consuming and daunting but it is necessary to get what you want. You will living with this decision for years.
You will have to make a decision on what type of materials you would like to use to build the fireplace. There are many different types of stone, brick, rock and slate options that can drastically impact the look of your new fireplace. The cost of the project can also be greatly affected by the type of material selected during the phase.
Once you have everything picked out on your end, sit back and watch your dream masonry fireplace come to life. There’s nothing quite like sitting by an open hearth fireplace and enjoying the warmth and beauty of dancing flames!