Although a luxurious, open-faced masonry fireplace is a great focal point for your room and gathering place for family events, you need to understand that its opulence comes with a price. The traditional wood-burning fireplace is not actually a great heating unit and, unlike an electric or gas fireplace or even a prefabricated wood-burning unit, it's not going to reduce your heating bills unless you put it through a lot of modifications to make it more energy-efficient. This, in addition to the construction costs, can make the luxurious fireplace a very expensive one indeed.
1. It requires skilled labor and expensive materials to construct
You'll need to hire a mason to have this fireplace put in. And if you're installing it in an existing home rather than one that's under construction, you'll need to have part of a wall knocked out to make room for the fireplace. In addition, the stone used for the fireplace (especially if you want an expensive, impressive-looking type of stone) can set you back ten thousand or more. This seems like a lot, but you need to consider that not just the hearth, firebox, and mantel are included; the chimney will also need to be constructed (which involves making more space and doing more masonry work) and because all that stone is so heavy the foundation may need shoring up to support it all effectively.
2. It can be extremely inefficient, robbing you of your warm air
The more open your fireplace is, the more warm air can fly up the chimney and away. A traditional wood-burning fireplace may actually reduce the temperature of your home, requiring your furnace to work harder and costing you more in heating dollars. You can take steps to prevent this, but they'll all add cost to the project and some of them, such as a chimney balloon to reduce the amount of air that leaks through the damper, can only be used when there's no fire in the fireplace. And if you want the fireplace to actually be efficient enough to reduce your heating bills, you'll need to invest in as many of these add-ons as you can. Glass doors to reduce airflow, metal grates to absorb heat and pull it out into the room with an electric fan, and ductwork to carry heated air away from the fireplace are just a few of the additions you'll need to consider.
These reasons show just why an open-face stone fireplace is such an opulent luxury piece; it's very expensive, a big project to install, and in addition to not burning cleanly or efficiently, it can actually siphon off the heat you do have. All this just goes to show, of course, that if you do install this type of fireplace rather than a more efficient and less impressive-looking one, you're definitely going to be an object of envy. A beautiful masonry fireplace is inimitable in its nostalgia, its beauty and impressiveness, and the sensory experience the crackling wood fire provides. Contact a company like Corrado Construction to learn more about your options.