First, why are you installing a fireplace? Is is for recreational use and entertaining? Is it serving as a backup emergency heating system? Supplemental heat for a chilly room? Is it simply a decorative element to enhance your decor? Fireplaces are available in a wide range of designs fireplaces being used as supplemental or backup heat sources will get the most use and a higher quality (more expensive) model will be a better choice that generally offers greater efficiency.
Who will be using the new fireplace? What is your lifestyle? Elderly people and those with health problems may not be able to handle the vigors of toting firewood. But if you have the time to enjoy the rituals of cutting, splitting and stacking wood and the idea of free heat from fallen trees on your property, an investment in a wood burning fireplace may suit your needs perfectly. Otherwise, expand your possibilities to gas or electric fireplaces.
Fireplace design experts and chimney sweeps agree that low-end, builder-grade fireplaces should only be used for occasional, recreational fires such as family gatherings at holidays. If you expect to use your fireplace once a week or more during the winter, opt for a higher end model that will last for many years because replacement is an expensive, time-consuming project. Now let's begin with the next stage of planning.