Types Of Fireplaces: Aesthetics, Materials, And Fuel

Fireplaces come in many different shapes and sizes. You should know about the types of fireplaces: aesthetics, materials, and fuel fireplaces burn. 

A fireplace is a cheap way to heat your home. While traditional models are made of stone and burn wood, other options exist. 

Types Of Fireplaces
Heat N’ Sweep

Stone fireplaces are common, but other styles are easy to find in the US and worldwide. 

While we can’t cover every style, we can review the most common ones and why they’re popular. 

Fireplaces Build And Positioning 

Types Of Fireplaces
Heat N’ Sweep

When choosing a fireplace, the build is important. Do you want a small fireplace that sits on your table or a stone one that covers a wall? 

Materials and fuel type are important, but more than those, how you want the fireplace to make the room feel. A fireplace can change the dynamics of a room, so y0u need to find the right fit. 

First, choose a design. If rustic, a stone fireplace is for you. Should you want an industrial look, metal or brick are better. 

Open-Hearth Fireplace

Types Of Fireplaces
Earthcore Industries

Open-hearth fireplaces allow you to see the heat source without doors or glass blocking it. Most open hearth fireplaces are wood-burning. They are built with an open-hearth. 

Practice caution at all times. Make sure there is an option to close the doors. At the bare minimum, make sure you have a screen in front of the flame. 

Freestanding Fireplace 

A freestanding fireplace is placed in the middle of a room. All sides are visible, and the heat source is shielded. Most freestanding fireplaces are electric and made of metal.

Wood cookstoves and other fireplaces with stovepipes are freestanding. However, you can get freestanding fireplaces that aren’t attached to the ceiling. Electric models offer easy mobility.   

“Fishtank” Fireplace 

Types Of Fireplaces
Ortal USA

A fish tank fireplace is see-through like an aquarium. It has glass on two or three sides. They’re built in a peninsula shape coming from the wall and are gas or electric-powered.   

The fireplace has a modern feel, like a hotel room with an en suite. 

Mounted Fireplace 

Types Of Fireplaces
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A mounted fireplace is installed like a television. It is secured to the wall and electric. Models like this are built in stone walls for an authentic feel 

Some designs are flat, and look built-in. 

Tabletop Fireplace

Tabletop fireplaces are small heaters that sit on top of a table. They are safe and emit little heat. If they have real flames, the flames are covered on all sides to prevent fire risks. 

Fireplace Insert 

Types Of Fireplaces
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A fireplace insert goes inside an existing fireplace. This is a way to upgrade your old fireplace or switch to a different fuel. You can use a wood-burning fireplace and an electric insert for a new and improved combo. 

Most inserts are metal, which is fireproof. The inserts can be moved easily. Metal inserts are cheap and come in all fuel types. 

Fireplace Materials

Types Of Fireplaces

You can make a fireplace out of anything. Some focus on safety, others efficiency, while certain fireplaces exist due to the price of materials. 


Stone fireplaces are common. They can be made with round and stacked stones, or stones from your property. A stone fireplace looks authentic and is a good heat-resistance option. 


Brick fireplaces are common. They offer authenticity with an industrial twist. Brick is great for those who want a clean stone look with natural versatility. 


Clay fireplaces are one of the oldest styles. They are used for Italian kitchen ovens. Clay is good for cooking and outdoor fireplaces. The chiminea shape is most common. 


Types Of Fireplaces
Heat N’ Sweep

Concrete fireplaces are efficient. There’s not a safer material to build your fireplace with than concrete. 


This may seem silly, but with electric fireplaces, wood is viable. Wood fireplaces are cheap. They’re sturdy and look hand-crafted.


Tile is becoming more popular as it covers almost anything. It is the most versatile as far as patterns and colors are concerned. You can get custom tiles made to lay over your fireplace. 


Metal may be the number one heat conductor, and it’s also fire-resistant. Cookstoves are steel or iron, offer a farmhouse look. Wood cookstoves are popular and add flair to country homes. 

Cost Of A Fireplace  

Types Of Fireplaces
Wyckoff Heating Cooling

Fireplaces can be expensive. But they don’t have to be. The price depends on the size, materials used, and fuel type. 

Electric – $400+

Anyone can install an electric fireplace. Often, you can buy the fireplace, plug it in, and let run. 

Gas – $2000+

While $2,000 may not seem high for a fireplace, this is the price for the materials alone. For a safe gas fireplace, hire a professional to install it. 

Wood-Burning – $5000+

Wood-burning fireplaces require professional help. The materials are expensive, but this doesn’t include labor, installation, or inspections. Expect to pay quite a bit more than $5,000 for a wood-burning fireplace. 

Fuel Types

Types Of Fireplaces

When you picture a fireplace, you picture a stone fireplace with wood-burning inside. That may be the most common type of fireplace, but there are other types available. 

Rare fuel types include gel or pellets. While they are good options, they’re not popular. Modern-day fireplaces burn three types of fuel.

Wood-Burning Fireplaces

Wood-burning fireplaces are the most common throughout North America. They use wood for fuel. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “Smoke may smell good, but it’s not good for you. The biggest health threat from smoke is from fine particles, also called fine particulate matter or PM2.5. These microscopic particles can get into your eyes and respiratory system, where they may cause burning eyes, runny nose, and illnesses, such as bronchitis.”

Gas Fireplaces

Gas fireplaces are common. They heat a house well and don’t produce smoke. However, the flames do produce carbon monoxide, and nitrogen and sulfur oxides. This means that gas fireplaces need vents. 

If you experience any signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, contact the poison control center. You should also make sure your fire alarm detects gases and is up-to-date. 

Related: What is the Best Smoke Detector for Safety, Function, & Price?

Electric Fireplace

Electric fireplaces are the safest. They work like heaters but look like fireplaces. 

Electric fireplaces are the cheapest, safest fireplaces but the least authentic.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Can I Install A Fireplace In A Tiny Home?

If you want to install a fireplace in your tiny home, a wood-burning stove would be your best option. Should you decide to install one, make sure it has a direct air system.

What Is A Fireplace Damper?

A fireplace damper prevents AC air from leaking through the flue when your fireplace is inactive. Before you start a fire, open the damper so the smoke follows the airflow out of the chimney. 

What Is The Best Type Of Fireplace Grate?

There are three types of fireplace grates. The first two are steel bar, which burns wood, and cast iron, which burns both wood and coal. The third type is a grate heater, which generates return heat into the home. 

With steel bar grates, coal will not work. Wood is more versatile as it can burn on steel or cast iron grates.

You cannot burn coal with a steel bar grate because of the space between the bars. Wood is versatile as it can burn on steel or cast iron grates.

However, a cast iron grate offers greater durability and is longer-lasting. 


Depending on your budget and tastes, a fireplace can make or break a living space. Fireplaces add warmth and value to your home. If you think you want, talk to a professional. Installing a fireplace is not a DIY home project.