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How to Choose the Right Hearth for Your Timber Home

It’s easy to heat up your home’s design with the perfect fireplace. Use this guide to navigate through your options.

Photo: Roger Wade / See more of this home here.

1. Fireplace

A popular hearth option that now comes in affordable factory-built models


Traditional appeal; can be open on one to four sides


Typically requires professional instal- lation; full-masonry fireplaces require a rein- forced foundation to support their weight

2. Fireplace Insert

An insulated, closed-door system placed in an existing wood-burning fireplace opening


Increases the efficiency of older fire- places; can function as a secondary home heater


Requires a working chimney; inserts typically must be removed for routine maintenance

3. Wood or Pellet Stove

A freestanding option that combines ambiance with ease of use


Wide range of sizes; very efficient heat source


Takes up space in the room; requires fireproof flooring material underneath

4. Masonry Heater

Uses stone mass to absorb the heat from small, hot fires, radiating warmth even after the fires are out


Among the cleanest and most efficient to operate


Expensive and heavy; requires a solid foundation

5. Electric

Available as fireplaces, inserts or stoves; provide the warmth of a traditional unit without the need for fuel and cleanup


Provides the ambiance of a fireplace; programmable heat; can be placed anywhere


Lower-end units look artificial and lack crackling sound and aroma of an actual fire

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