Building An Addition: A Homeowner's Guide

Fireplaces: Which One Is Right For Your Home?

by Toni Richards

The allure of a crackling fire or the promise of a warmer space can lead you to begin evaluating the various fireplaces on the market. Before choosing one, these details about each type must be learned and considered. 


The fireplace which is first visualized in the minds of most people is the wood-burning type. This is a very traditional and classic choice. This type can not only provide warmth from the fire but also dancing flames, crackles, and the type of ambience that makes people feel comfortable and peaceful. If you're hoping for something beautiful to gather the family around during cold months, wood fireplaces do deliver.

However, if this is a type you're going to seriously consider, you've also got to be ready for the work and structure maintenance needed. For starters, if you don't already have a chimney flue, one is required. Even after a chimney is constructed or checked for viability, periodic checks are significant because they will alert you about improper insulation, leaks and other repair issues. You must also discover how you'll get wood and how best to empty the fireplace of ashes and unburned wood. If you're not used to constructing wood fires or keeping them going, that is also something to learn.

Pellet Stoves

If your primary concerns are about the warmth of the living spaces, pellet stoves could help. These stoves require store-bought pellets that can be ignited easily, and unlike wood, pellets are likely to burn for a while without constant tending. In fact, you might not even need to check the stove for an entire day. You'll still have to empty and clean the stove frequently.


While not always as grand looking as wood fireplaces, gas will also warm the area. No fire-building is necessary, a switch or simple button will get the flames going. Cleanup is minimal since you're just burning fuel; you've got to maintain a relationship with a fuel company so that you always have gas when needed.


For the look of a wood fire without the warmth, electric fireplaces are appropriate. Plugging it in like many of your other devices and appliances, it will not require ash cleanup or fuel deliveries. However, if you need heat, you may opt for another type of structure.

With different kinds of structures available, your final fireplace selection can be one that suits your needs for warmth, beauty or both. Contractors who work with fireplaces are worth speaking to; their guidance is important. For more information, check out a website like