Hire Mr. Smokestack to Install Your New Prefabricated Fireplace

A fireplace brings warmth, character, and ambiance to your home. And while traditional masonry fireplaces have long been the symbol of comfort and tranquility, more homeowners are opting for prefabricated fireplaces. Called prefab for short, these fireplaces provide a more convenient, economical, and efficient way to enjoy the benefits of a relaxing fire.

If you’re thinking about adding a fireplace to your home or want to upgrade your existing fireplace, consider going with a prefab unit. For almost two decades, Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service has installed prefab fireplaces throughout Raleigh and Broadway, and we can get you set up right too.

Get the fireplace of your dreams by scheduling an appointment with us for a simple and quick installation. A member of our customer service team is ready to help you get started. Give us a call at 919-747-1859 or book an appointment on our website.

What Is a Prefabricated Fireplace?

A traditional masonry fireplace is built on-site using mortar along with bricks, stones, or concrete blocks. Building one from the ground up is a messy, time-consuming, and costly construction project. A prefabricated fireplace is a more convenient and hassle-free alternative that offers the same warmth and atmosphere as a traditional fireplace – only without the headache of a full build.

Natural cute stone chimney on outside of house before restoration
chimney replacement with siding instead of stone on outside of house

So what exactly is a prefab fireplace?

It’s a fireplace unit that is manufactured part by part in a factory, and then transported to your home for assembly and installation. As a ready-to-install fireplace system, most prefab fireplace installations can be completed in a day.

Can I add a prefabricated fireplace to an existing home?

Yes, it’s most definitely possible to add a prefab fireplace to an existing home, but you may be limited by your home’s layout, structural considerations, property lines, and available space. If you have questions and would like to know more about the possibility of installing a prefab fireplace, feel free to get in touch with us.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Prefabricated Fireplaces?

Choosing what type of fireplace to add to your home is a big decision that deserves a lot of consideration. What’s best for your budget? What type of aesthetic do you want? What type of fuel do you prefer? These questions can be overwhelming and it’s always a good idea to jot down a list of pros and cons when you’re about to decide on something so important. To simplify things, we’ve made that list for you.

What are the pros of prefab fireplaces?

  • They’re cost-effective. Prefab fireplaces tend to be more budget-friendly than masonry fireplaces. The materials and labor required for installation are also less expensive.
  • Quick and easy installation. Compared to the construction process needed for masonry fireplaces, prefab units can be set up relatively quickly. A prefab fireplace can be installed in a day, while a masonry fireplace can take up to a week to build.
  • There are more fuel options. Prefab fireplaces offer more flexibility in terms of fuel options. You can choose between wood-burning, gas, or electric models, allowing you to select the fuel source that best suits your needs.
  • Better energy efficiency. One of the bigger benefits of gas and electric prefab fireplaces is that they come with features like adjustable flame settings and thermostatic controls, allowing homeowners the ability to control energy efficiency and heat output – which isn’t possible with traditional wood-burning fireplaces.
  • More customizable design. Looking for something other than the old-school brick and mortar options? Prefabricated fireplaces come in various sizes, finishes, and styles, so you can have a fireplace that fits with your interior decor and personal tastes.
  • They’re safe to use. Prefab fireplaces and their parts are extensively tested for safety before they leave the factory. They often include safety features, such as tempered glass doors and spark screens. When installed correctly and in compliance with local building codes, prefab fireplaces meet the same safety standards as masonry systems.
  • Prefab units are lower maintenance. Tired of chopping wood, ash cleanup, or frequent chimney sweeping? A prefab fireplace doesn’t require the same day-to-day upkeep as a masonry fireplace (although we still recommend annual inspections).

What are the cons of prefab fireplaces?

  • Lack of classic charm. Not all homeowners want the more modern look of a prefab fireplace. And while it’s possible to mimic most of the more charming features of a masonry fireplace, like brickwork, it’s hard to capture it completely.
  • Durability can be an issue. While prefab fireplaces are long-lasting when properly maintained, the materials used – such as refractory panels – may undergo wear and tear over time, eventually requiring replacement.
  • Lower heat output. Wood-burning prefab fireplaces may have lower heat output than traditional masonry fireplaces, but this can vary depending on the specific model and design.
  • Long-term maintenance. You should have your prefab fireplace inspected once a year, no matter what type of fuel you use. However, gas and electric prefab fireplaces will require additional maintenance on occasion, such as servicing gas components or electrical connections.

Have you been convinced to go with a prefab fireplace? Schedule your installation with Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service by calling 919-747-1859 or setting up your appointment online.

How Is a Prefabricated Fireplace Different from a Masonry Fireplace?

Prefabricated fireplaces have a very similar anatomy to a masonry fireplace with a few key differences. The firebox is the area of the fireplace that holds the fire. Because of the amount of heat it takes on, the firebox needs to be built with materials that can stand up against intense temperatures that can exceed 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a traditional fireplace, the firebox is made from firebrick and refractory mortar whereas a prefab unit’s firebox is made from refractory panels.

Older outdated fireplace with gold metal glass doors, wood beam surround, and stone hearth before replacement
Newly installed prefabricated fireplace with natural cut stone surround and hearth

What are fireplace refractory panels?

Fireplace refractory panels are an important precautionary feature in a prefab fireplace. They are specially designed heat-resistant panels that line the inside of the firebox in wood-burning and gas fireplaces. These panels help keep the flames contained within the firebox and protect the structure of the chimney from absorbing too much heat.

Are fireplace refractory panels as strong as firebrick?

Generally speaking, firebricks are stronger and more durable than fireplace refractory panels. They can last between 5 and 15 years with a regular maintenance plan. Panels can crack, warp, or loosen after years of use, so it’s important to have them inspected once per year by a certified chimney technician, so they can find issues and repair them quickly – long before they grow into bigger problems.

What is a chase cover?

Water is a chimney’s biggest threat, and it’s crucial to your chimney’s longevity to invest in waterproofing components. A masonry chimney usually has a chimney crown – that slab of concrete that sits at the top of your chimney and holds the cap.

So, what protects a prefab unit? A chase cover is the same concept as a crown, except it’s made out of a metal, like stainless steel, aluminum, galvanized steel, or copper, and it isn’t nearly as heavy. Chase covers can rust and corrode as time goes on and as they’re exposed to rain and snow, but they can be treated with water-resistant coatings to stay looking good and functioning well for the long haul.

Can I Use Any Type of Fuel in a Prefabricated Fireplace?

Prefabricated fireplaces aren’t limited to just wood as a source of fuel. Some units are designed for gas, while others are electric. Some more advanced models offer the ability to switch fuel types, so if you want the option to switch between wood and gas, a prefab unit is the right choice for you.

  • Wood-burning prefab fireplaces. These fireplaces are designed to burn seasoned firewood – wood that has been dried and aged to reduce moisture content, so that the fire burns cleaner and more efficiently. (Tip: Avoid green or unseasoned wood. These types of firewood can create excessive creosote buildup in the chimney and increase the risk of chimney fires.)
  • Gas-burning prefab fireplaces. A gas-burning fireplace is meant to run on natural gas or propane. These fireplaces are equipped with gas burners and logs or LED fire media to create realistic-looking flames.
  • Electric prefab fireplaces. Electric prefab fireplaces use electricity to power heating elements and produce flame-like visual effects. They do not require traditional fuel sources – you can just plug the electric fireplace into an outlet to get your fire going.

Does a Prefabricated Fireplace Need a Chimney or Vent?

Whether or not a prefab fireplace needs a chimney depends on the type of fuel source. Wood-burning and some gas-burning prefab fireplaces need a chimney or venting system to safely remove toxins from your home and promote good airflow. On the other hand, electric prefab units don’t require a chimney because they don’t produce smoke, gases, or toxins.

There are different ventilation options available depending on your set-up:

  • Direct vent. Typically used for gas prefab fireplaces, this system includes a coaxial pipe that brings in combustion air while venting out exhaust gases.
  • Natural vent (or b-vent). Used for some gas fireplaces, this system relies on the natural draft to vent combustion products through a vertical vent pipe.
  • Vent-free (or ventless). Vent-free gas fireplaces do not require a chimney or vent and are designed to burn gas cleanly within the room.

How Do I Maintain a Prefabricated Fireplace?

Although prefabricated fireplaces can be easier to maintain than their masonry counterparts, it’s important to be careful not to neglect them. A traditional brick and mortar fireplace can last a lifetime, but prefab units have a much shorter lifespan that only shortens if you don’t take care of it properly.

Here are some tips to keep your prefab fireplace in peak condition:

  • Schedule annual inspections. Don’t slack on annual inspections. Both the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend a yearly checkup by a certified chimney technician to make sure all parts are in working order.
  • Don’t delay repairs. In the event that one of our technicians uncovers a problem during their inspection, don’t wait to schedule a follow-up appointment to complete the repair work. If a component of your fireplace isn’t working properly, it can cause more problems down the line and it will be more expensive to fix.
  • Clean your unit monthly. Clean the interior of the firebox regularly to remove ashes, soot, and debris once a month with a hand brush or paintbrush. You can also use a cloth and warm water to wipe down the hearth and exterior to avoid soot buildup.
  • But still book yearly cleanings. Book an appointment with a professional chimney sweep to take care of your prefab fireplace to keep soot and creosote at safe levels. If you clean your unit regularly on your own, you may be able to ask your chimney technician about reducing the number of professional cleanings.

Can I Install a Prefabricated Fireplace Myself?

There is always a temptation for consumers to try to install their newly bought prefabricated fireplace, which we totally understand. However, you might consider having a professional not only install your fireplace, but also consult with them before you order or buy one. This has to do with getting the measurements correct, as well as knowing the venting requirements for the different types and kinds of units out on the market today.

It’s so easy when you do something day in and day out to go in and consult with a customer or measure to make sure they are ordering or purchasing the right size fireplace. It is a lot less expensive for a professional to do an install from start to finish than to come into the process in the middle. Telling a homeowner they have an added expense to get the unit to work within the current codes and standards is something that can be easily avoided.

Call and ask us to help you with that prefabricated fireplace from measurement to purchase to installation. We will take the hassle out of installation and ensure it will be installed properly – and we guarantee our work. You can rest assured and be worry-free that any fireplace we install will be safe and sound for your home and family.

Find out why we are Broadway and Raleigh’s first choice in chimney and fireplace services. Reach out today.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Prefabricated Fireplace?

Unfortunately, it’s hard for us to provide an estimate for installing a prefab fireplace because there are a lot of factors that can impact costs. These are a few things that can influence the budget:

  • What is the cost of the prefab fireplace itself? (This can vary based on the model, brand, and fuel type).
  • Are we Installing the unit into an existing fireplace or do you need a new fireplace constructed from scratch?
  • Is there an existing chimney that can be utilized or do we need to create a new venting system?
  • What materials do you want to use for the fireplace?
  • Are there features and accessories you would like to accompany the unit?

Why Should I Choose Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service?

When you work with Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service, you’re getting almost 20 years of experience, knowledge, and dedication to our clients. Our CSIA-certified technicians are some of the best in the business and they care about your safety. As members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG), we believe that the chimney industry is fueled by a commitment to continuing education and technical expertise. Your peace of mind is our top priority, and we strive to be a trusted resource that makes chimney maintenance stress-free.

Book an Appointment to Install Your Prefabricated Fireplace Now

Are you ready to move forward with a brand-new prefab fireplace? Do you have questions about converting your masonry system? You can get the beautiful fireplace and cozy living space you’ve always wanted. Don’t put off your dreams any longer and get in touch with us today.

Our customer service team is here to guide you through the process and get you started. Call us at 919-747-1859 or reach out to us online.


Curious about whether a retrofit fireplace could be the solution for your fireplace needs? Check with our restorations and installations experts for everything you need to know.