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What type of fireplace do you really have?

Masonry and Zero Clearance Fireplaces Have Many Differences.

 Sep 2, 2016    Fireplace Doors, Choosing Your Door

Masonry FireplaceThis is a question we get a lot. While there are only two types of fireplaces out there, masonry and pre-fab fireplaces, it can be hard to tell what kind is in your home by just looking. And, ordering the wrong fireplace door for your fireplace can put you and your family in danger, not to mention hefty fines when it comes to falling short of regulations. We’re here to help with that!

Masonry fireplaces have likely been a part of your house from day one. They were constructed with the house, built brick by brick along with the foundation and framework. The chimney outside would be brick as well, not vinyl or any other siding. This is because brick, or clay, can sustain the heat put off by a masonry fireplace. A good way to know for sure if you’re fireplace is a masonry one is by looking up (or down) the chimney! The interior of the chimney will be some type of stone. As you can see in our video located here, the chimney is square and stone. If your chimney looks like the one in our video, you definitely have a masonry fireplace!

Zero Clearance Fireplace

Pre-fab, or zero clearance fireplaces are different. They are constructed elsewhere then brought in and installed into your home, sometimes after construction is complete. The easiest way to tell with one of these fireplaces is by looking at the chimney. Is it covered in vinyl or some other kind of siding? If so, you know it’s a factory built fireplace. But, not all pre-fab fireplaces look like that. Sometimes they feature stone too. But, there are some other tell-tale signs that your fireplace is a zero-clearance fireplace. For instance, does metal surround your fireplace? As you can see here zero-clearance fireplaces have a metal surround. If yours does, then it’s a pre-fab fireplace.

Many people ask why it matters at all. After all, a fireplace is a fireplace. But, not all fireplaces are the same. Most zero-clearance fireplaces feature louvers on the top and bottom that allow the fireplace to be installed near combustible material without risking a fire. This isn’t something that masonry fireplaces feature, so if you install a masonry fireplace door on a zero-clearance fireplace, you’re likely covering up these louvers, which could lead to damage to your fireplace, the surrounding wall or cause a fire. It can be very easy for large chain companies that do not take the time to know their customer’s needs to sell you the wrong fireplace door. This is why we go to so much effort to make sure you’re getting the right fireplace door. It can be expensive and dangerous to install the wrong fireplace door on your fireplace!

We understand if you’d like a little more help figuring out what kind of fireplace you have. After all, not being certain could cause a lot of problems later. Take advantage of our photo quote service here and let us help you figure out what you need for your fireplace! You can also email us a photo at [email protected] or give us a call at 888-986-1535! Keeping you safe is our priority.

Last updated on May 18th 2020.


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