Types of fireplaces: Choose the ideal option for your home

There are different types of fireplaces, but they have one thing in common – they fill the room with comfort. Today, the functions of a fireplace have changed somewhat because it is rarely installed directly for heating. In modern homes, it most often serves a decorative function: it creates a romantic atmosphere and gives the home a special charm.

Dreaming of a fireplace at home? In this article, specialists from Minimalism will tell you everything about the types of fireplaces, the features of their installation, finishing, and other nuances. Read on and learn how to choose the perfect fireplace for your home!

#1. Types of fireplaces by basic design

Based on the design of the firebox, there are two types of fireplaces:

  • open ones are an imperishable classic: the sound of crackling wood and the dance of flames. The combustion process occurs in a firebox without a protective screen. Despite their beautiful appearance, these options are rarely used for heating, since almost all the heat from open fireplaces goes up the chimney. Due to the low level of efficiency (10-20%), the air is heated only near the fireplace. In addition, in such a fireplace it is necessary to constantly regulate the fire and control the draft force, as well as regularly clean the chimney. Open fireplaces are made of refractory brick or marble. They are suitable for a country house or cottage, but rather as a decorative element;
  • closed – a practical, energy-efficient, and safer type of fireplace. The design consists of a metal fireplace insert with a heat-resistant glass-sealed door and a chimney. You can adjust the intensity of the air supply, which affects the rate of combustion of wood. A convection box around the firebox increases power and helps distribute heat. The efficiency of such a fireplace is more than 75%, so some models are installed specifically for heating.

#2. What types of fireplaces are there by fuel type?

By type of fuel, fireplaces are classified into:

  • solid fuels burn wood, sawdust, wood waste, briquettes, or coal. Well suited for heating a home. Among the advantages is that there is no dependence on electricity, so the house will be warm even if the lights are turned off. But such a fireplace with a metal firebox and a portal made of brick or stone requires maintenance, regular cleaning of soot and ash, and a large amount of firewood, which requires a separate place for proper storage;
  • pellet fireplaces are a more modern type of solid fuel fireplaces, equipped with automation. They run on pellets (pressed wood pellets). The heating process is controlled thanks to temperature sensors, controllers, and electric motors. The fan is responsible for the uniform distribution of warm air throughout the room. Such fireplaces are not suitable for apartments, since they are heavy structures (from 300 kg), which require a chimney, a separate foundation, and reinforced floor slabs. Some models do not work without electricity;
  • electric fireplaces are electric heaters, the appearance of which imitates the flame and crackling of wood in a classic fireplace. Equipped with a heating element and a built-in screen. A stylish and safe choice for any room. Electric fireplaces operate on mains power and are easy to install; they do not require additional ventilation holes or a chimney;
  • biofireplaces operate on liquid fuel (bioethanol or ethyl alcohol), which does not emit carbon monoxide, smoke or odor. A compact option with a real flame that does not require a chimney. Portable portable models are available. A biofireplace cannot be used for heating because it produces little heat. But these types of fireplaces are great for creating comfort and a good mood. They can be installed in different rooms in an apartment or house;
  • gas types of fireplaces work like a regular gas stove – they turn on instantly, and the gas creates a living flame that heats the room and beautifully complements the interior of the living room or other space. Such fireplaces, equipped with a closed combustion chamber, heater, burner, thermostat, and casing, emit a large amount of heat. Unlike solid fuels, they do not require cleaning from soot or ash. There are models with remote control. Among the advantages – they work even when the power is turned off. To install a gas fireplace, you must obtain permission from the gas company and the fire safety department.

#3. Types of fireplaces by placement method

When the type of fireplace is chosen, you can move on to the next stage – choosing a place to install it. There are several options:

  • built-in structures are suitable for small spaces. This is usually how solid fuel fireplaces are installed in private homes. They are mounted into the wall, placed on a special heat-insulating stand, and connected to the chimney. Electric and gas models are also built into apartments. This type of installation is carried out at the stage of construction or repair work;
  • free-standing fireplaces are placed directly on the floor or a thermally insulating base without additional installation into the wall. There are two subtypes – stationary and non-stationary. This type of placement is suitable for solid fuel boilers on legs or a high stand with an additional chimney arrangement. Electric and bio fireplaces can be moved and placed anywhere;
  • Wall-mounted (suspended) structures can be different: partially built into the wall or simply suspended. A good option for housing with a minimalist design. This type of installation is suitable for electric and bio fireplaces;
  • tabletop models of various sizes and shapes are found mainly among biofireplaces. These types of fireplaces can be placed on different surfaces both in rooms and in open spaces.

In which room should you place the fireplace in your home? It depends on which type you choose. For example, it is better to install solid fuel in spacious living rooms, because you will need additional space for firewood or pellets. Gas fireplaces are not recommended for bedrooms. Electric and bio-fireplaces can be installed in the dining room, office or bedroom.

#4. Fireplace design options

Modern fireplace models amaze with their variety of shapes:

  • corner ones make it possible to admire the flames from different angles. This type of fireplace is usually installed in rooms with a modern interior;
  • two- and three-sided can be installed in walls that zone the room. Three-sided ones can also be placed separately against the wall. Suitable for loft and high-tech interiors;
  • wide-format – an excellent choice for spacious rooms with a minimalist design;
  • semicircular panoramic options can be used in high-tech or modern interiors;
  • prismatic fireplaces harmoniously complement the country style;
  • a fireplace with a vertical hearth is installed in small rooms with a modern design and in rustic or classic interiors.

Cast iron or steel is used to make the firebox. Cast iron fireboxes retain heat even when the flame goes out, but they are heavier than steel fireboxes, so their installation is more difficult. Steel fireboxes have a light lining (cladding), and the combustion chambers look more modern, so these types of fireplaces fit well into different interiors.

Fireproof materials are recommended for finishing the fireplace: brick, marble, rubble stone, sandstone, limestone, concrete, granite, slate, river pebbles, artificial stone or tiles of various shapes. Wood, plasterboard, plaster and metal are also suitable for cladding.

The mantelpiece is often decorated with candles, candlesticks, photographs, sconces, vases, figurines and other decorative elements. On the wall above the fireplace you can hang an original mirror, paintings, panels, clocks. Or you don’t have to decorate the fireplace area if the interior design is minimalistic.

Ideally, a fireplace, its type and purpose (an additional source of heat or a stylish focal point in the interior of a room), a place for placement, features of connection and heat distribution should be considered at the design stage. For example, some types of fireplaces operate from an outlet, while others require ventilation. The fireplace itself is installed when the rough work is completed. You should also follow safety rules: there should be no flammable materials or communications (wiring, heated floors, etc.) under any type of fireplace or around it.

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