Welcome to part two of the factory-built fireplace blog miniseries. Refer to Part One if you missed the information we shared there. Today we’re just going to jump into the next topic.


Many people ask how long a factory-built fireplace will last compared to a traditional brick and mortar fireplace. Brick and mortar will likely last longer with proper maintenance and care. But today’s factory-built fireplaces are very reliable as well. Most will provide several years of use, but may be rendered useless if the unit is old and replacement parts aren’t available.


A factory-built fireplace may be installed in nearly any room. The size of the fireplace you choose will dictate the placement. Choose a smaller unit if you’re looking to install it in a small room or a large unit if the room is large. The clearance requirement is much smaller with a metal factory-built unit than with a traditional fireplace or a wood stove.


Design options for a factory-built fireplace are abundant. They may be finished with nearly any material or design option. They may include a full mantle design or intricate metal scrollwork. You may even find some finished in wood or stonework. They can be finished with a variety of options to suit nearly any decor.

Wood Logs or Gas Logs

You can actually use either type of log with a factory-built unit as long as certain conditions are met. The unit must be listed for use with solid fuel without any restrictions regarding gas log sets. Most units may not be used with “vent-free” gas long sets.


Regular cleaning and inspections should be made to ensure the unit is still working properly over time. Maintenance may include cleaning the unit, sweeping the chimney, and ensuring that the chimney isn’t damaged in any way. Make sure to examine the firebox for any wear and tear or cracks. The refractory panels will need to be replaced when there is a gap the size of the thickness of a nickel. Replacement must be done by a qualified chimney specialist.

Chimney Inspections

We perform all types of chimney inspections for both traditional fireplaces and factory-built fireplaces as well. The chimney performs the same function for each unit and the safety of your family and home depend on proper maintenance and regular inspections. Call Lou Curley’s Chimney Service at 610-626-2439 to schedule an inspection or chimney cleaning with one of our CSIA Certified chimney sweeps.