One of the most common features our homeowners request when embarking on a remodel or renovation is a fireplace. It’s understandable, nothing caps off a crisp fall evening like warming your toes next to a fire. Colorado has the perfect climate year ‘round and few things bring families closer together than a fireplace. In this article we’ll highlight the most common types of fireplaces and explain a few of their differences to help you choose the best for your home.
The vast majority of fireplaces that we install are gas. There’s lots of great reasons; namely they require little maintenance and they’re affordable to purchase and operate. Gas fireplaces can be installed virtually anywhere with both vented and ventless options, or retrofitted into woodburning fireplaces to take advantage of existing chimneys. Gas fireplaces are also environmentally friendly, something to consider on poor air quality days or in areas that restrict woodburning.
Gas fireplaces are also the safest option to operate. With the flip of a switch or push of a remote-control button, they fire right up–eliminating the risk of burning yourself while lighting or extinguishing. Gas burns clean, also eliminating regular ash maintenance and carcinogen buildup in chimneys that requires yearly cleaning. Beyond safety, gas fireplaces are also the most efficient burning option. Gas is less expensive to operate compared to purchasing wood, and these firepalces put out the most heat.
Finally, gas fireplaces offer a variety of aesthetic installation options. They can be mounted high on walls to take the focal place of artwork, or double-sided to be enjoyed from two separate rooms. Gas fireplaces also allow an endless selection of surround designs and hearth options. With safe burning elements, the flame is well controlled and allows you to use a wide variety of materials and creative designs as opposed to traditional stone or brick used for woodburning fireplaces.
After all of the advantaged listed above, there’s no replicating a woodburning fireplace. Perhaps it’s in our DNA from thousands of years of warmth, mesmerizing flickers, and pops, but woodburning fireplaces will always add elegance and ambiance to any room.
Woodburning fireplaces require more maintenance and complex installation. A chimney and flue are required, and the chimney needs regular cleaning to avoid house fires. Further, woodburning fireplaces leave behind physical ash and debris that need to be cleaned between uses. There’s also transporting, chopping, stacking, and storing wood.
Safety is a major concern with woodburning fireplaces, but the functional precautions required for this traditional style are also some of the most visually stunning. Giant rock or brick heaths with rich wood mantles demand that your fireplace be the center of attention of any room. Common materials used are ledgestone, fieldstone, granite, marble, brick, concrete, and metal.
Woodburning fireplaces serve a specific style of home and a diligent homeowner. However, that shouldn’t deter you. Colorado is filled with plenty of lodge, western, and high-end homes that demand this timeless centerpiece. With a little education and patience, anyone can safely and comfortably bring this traditional focal point into their home and enjoy it for a lifetime with their family.
Falling somewhere between gas and traditional woodburning fireplaces are pellet stoves. They offer ease of use similar to gas but also the traditional ambience of woodburning. Pellet stoves can be vented similar to gas fireplaces, eliminating chimneys and flues, but do protrude into the room. They take up square footage and need proper tile or stone bases to rest on. They don’t burn as clean as gas, but are easier to maintain and clean than woodburning. Stoves offer a distinct look and style often forgotten, and we think they can add a lot of appeal to the right renovation.
These have gained more popularity in recent years as the technology has developed and their imitation flames have improved. Electric fireplaces are flameless–they use heating coils and fake flames to give the illusion of a traditional fireplace. Typically, these fireplaces are the least expensive, require no vents, and are mostly a novelty to add ambiance. If designed properly, these can be a fun and cozy addition to built-in entertainment centers and luxury bathrooms.
Similar to electric fireplaces, ethanol and gel fireplaces are mostly decorative. They don’t produce much heat but they do create a real flame for a realistic experience. These fireplaces don’t require a vent and can be placed anywhere–inset into walls, stand alone in the center of room, or popping up on tabletops or bars. These fireplaces are the least common and usually serve a specific aesthetic purpose.
Living in Colorado Springs, fireplaces are in high demand and one of our most frequently requested design options. It’s not uncommon for a typical household to have several throughout the home–living room, basement family room, master bathroom, and outdoor patios. With the wide variety of fuel sources and safety elements, a fireplace can be installed in just about any room and enjoyed any time of the year. Reach out–we’d be happy to show you the latest technology and design a fireplace perfect for your family and home.