What is Difference Between Masonry & Zero Clearance Fireplace
Two main types of indoor residential fireplaces are used. A look inside an existing installation will reveal which of the fireplaces you have. If your firebox and the chimney interior, extending upwards towards the roof, is constructed of bricks and mortar, you have a masonry fireplace. If a glance inside the fireplace opening reveals a metal box with a metal pipe extending upward from it, you have a far more versatile, zero-clearance fireplace.
The firebox in a zero-clearance fireplace is pre-manufactured and subsequently installed in areas of the home that a masonry fireplace cannot safely go, which is due to the materials used to make the zero-clearance firebox. The outside of the box does not conduct sufficient heat to negatively impact nearby flammable materials such as wood, drywall or panelling. Since there is no need for heat-absorbing masonry, the firebox can be placed into a smaller opening and directly against nearby materials; hence, the fireplace is designated as zero-clearance.
Zero-Clearance Fireplace Models
Zero-clearance fireplaces burn gas, wood, pellets or may be powered by electricity. Venting options differ with the type of fireplace chosen, but all feature a system of vents and ducts to promote air circulation.
Masonry Fireplace Construction
A masonry fireplace requires a skilled mason to construct a buffer zone of brick and mortar to shield nearby surfaces from exposure to potentially hazardous heat and flames. More space is required for masonry construction, and therefore potential locations for fireplace placement are limited. The masonry fireplace must be individually built on site and not mass produced like its zero-tolerance counterpart. The result is higher construction costs for the homeowner or homebuilder.
If a traditional look is desired, a masonry fireplace may be the way to go. In a modern, contemporary setting, the zero-clearance fireplace may better fit your design aesthetic. Zero-clearance fireplaces feature technological advancements that make them more energy efficient. Zero-clearance installations capture heat and direct it into your space to reduce your energy bills. With most masonry fireplaces, ambient heat is minimal as most of the warm air escapes up the flue and out of your home.