A fireplace remains the most popular choice and adds significantly to the value of any home. Most fireplaces are no longer traditional brick and mortar, but are engineered and pre-built by major manufacturers. More than seventy-five percent (over a half million) of all fireplaces installed each year are factory-built and shipped to the construction site.
A factory-built fireplace is actually a firebox enclosed within a steel cabinet. A blanket of insulating air keeps the outer wall cool, land spacers surrounding the cabinet allow it to be installed in close proximity to the wood framing (hence the name "zero-clearance fireplace"). They pass rigorous testing standards established by Underwriters Laboratories and the American Gas Association and have an excellent safety record.
Factory-built fireplaces are surprisingly inexpensive. They use a safe, lightweight chimney and do not need any additional footing or other structural support. Because they have fewer limitations than site-built masonry fireplaces, they can be easily and safely installed in almost any room. Factory-built fireplaces are available in a range of sizes, and can be open on one, two ("see-through" and corner models), three ("peninsula"), or four sides ("oasis"). Brick, stone, marble and other facing materials can be combined with your choice of mantels to suit your decor.