Most people tend to forget, or even do not know, that there are different types of chimneys. Prefabricated and masonry are the two common fireplaces. Nine times out of ten, masonry fireplaces are going to be more expensive than prefabricated. The price difference is based on the fact that masonry requires to be build on-site, versus being assembled.

Masonry Fireplaces

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Masonry fireplaces are typically built as the home is being built to become part of the home. an experienced mason who properly builds a fireplace can make it last much longer than a prefabricated fireplace. Bricks and mortar joints will deteriorate over time, but if annual inspections and regular maintenance are carried out, you should not have a problem in getting this fixed. Masonry is made from brick, which is a porous material. Prefabs are made from stainless steel and metal, so they are less susceptible to rain and water damage. Brick chimney are more prone to water damage and leaks are common.

With this being common, it is important to have water-repellant solutions installed in the home to prevent it from  happening. A chimney cap, chase cover, water repellant, and annual inspection can help combat water damage. Maintenance tends to be more expensive on masonry because you must pay to upkeep the brick structure. With a masonry chimney, you cannot “fake it until you make it.” Brick masonry can offer the ambiance factor that no other prefabricated fireplace can. A masonry fireplace must be part of the house’s structure and initial print, but a prefabricated fireplace can be designed in any aspect of your home, before or after.

Prefabricated Fireplaces

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In comparison to masonry, prefabricated fireplaces are significantly inexpensive. As a homeowner, it does make a lot more sense. As time progresses, and we step into the modern era, there is a noticeable rise in the demand for prefabricated fireplaces. More and more people are realizing that it is cheaper and less of a hassle to own a prefabricated fireplace. These fireplaces can radiate more heat by using a closed combustion system. By using closed combustion, less energy is used, making the fireplace more efficient in heating materials.

Though it does get hotter, that is not always a good thing. Prefabricated fireplaces generally last about 10-15 years, depending on the usage. Since prefabs are constructed from steel, the parts tend to warp and rust because of the heat. Unlike masonry, this fireplace is assembled on-site, and not built. This means to cost to replace or repair is much cheaper than masonry. It also means that prefabricated fireplaces can be built essentially where there is room in your house.


Whether you are leaning more towards a masonry look for your home or are drawn to the cheaper costs of a prefabricated fireplace, it is important to think long term. A fireplace is not something that you usually own more than one or must consistently buy new ones. Purchasing a fireplace will have an impact on your life forever. Are you ready to take on the high cost of masonry, and maintain the aesthetic value of bricks? Or did you want to get a prefabricated fireplace, even though it will not last you nearly as long? The choices you make for your home are always yours to make!