What are the pros and cons of wood fireplaces? | homify

What are the pros and cons of wood fireplaces?

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
House Viljoen Modern living room by Hugo Hamity Architects Modern
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As summer is doing its best at the moment here in South Africa, nearly none of us are thinking about how we’ll be warming up our homes come winter 2021. Surely by now you’ll agree that there’s nothing like grouping around a crackling fire for some interior charm, but does that mean that each and every house, including yours, needs to have a fireplace?

Certainly not, especially when you consider the pros and cons of wood fireplaces…  


1. The pros of wood fireplaces: Functionality

House Oranjezicht by ATTIK Design Scandinavian
ATTIK Design

House Oranjezicht

ATTIK Design

Yes, they keep you warm when it’s cold, but some households also use their wood fireplaces for cooking, thereby extending the functionality of their kitchen, braai area, etc. 


2. The pros of wood fireplaces: Scent and ambience

Welgedacht Villa - Exterior Living & Braai by Jenny Mills Architects Modern
Jenny Mills Architects

Welgedacht Villa—Exterior Living & Braai

Jenny Mills Architects

It would seem that many people prefer wood fireplaces over their electric- and gas counterparts simply for the reason that the latter two are no match in terms of enticing scent and charming atmosphere. 


3. The pros of wood fireplaces: Teaching the young ones

Project: Volstruis Ave, Yzerfontein by de Beyer Design Studio Eclectic
de Beyer Design Studio

Project: Volstruis Ave, Yzerfontein

de Beyer Design Studio

If you’re the kind of household that braais and/or camps a lot, then surely your kids have come into contact with fire on more than one occasion. Use these occasions to teach them how to build a fire, maintain one, and (obviously the most important) how to extinguish one from an early age. 


4. The cons of wood fireplaces: Keep stocking up

Depending on how regularly you use your wood fireplace, you’re going to need to invest (both your time and money) in a steady supply of firewood – and kindling, if your yard doesn’t feature a lot of trees. And of course you’ll also need to have an appropriate storage space for your firewood. 


5. The cons of wood fireplaces: Not too eco-friendly

Did you know as much as 80% of a wood fireplace’s heat escapes through the chimney? That means that only about 20% is used to warm up your interiors. Also keep in mind that along with that smoke also come dangerous pollutants that contribute to air pollution, which is why many towns and cities have effectively banned new wood-burning fireplaces.


6. The cons of wood fireplaces: Wasted heat

We re-framed an old gold mirror and made it larger by CS DESIGN Classic
CS DESIGN

We re-framed an old gold mirror and made it larger

CS DESIGN

As if you don’t already have enough things to remember, now your wood-burning fireplace also asks that you keep an eye on your chimney flue. Because if you leave it open, either by accident or on purpose, that can boost the wind drafts around your fireplace, thereby upping your heating bill. 


7. The cons of wood fireplaces: Maintenance

Be prepared to commit to maintenance, especially in winter when you’ll have much more ash to clean off your floor, rug, and other surfaces near your fireplace. And speaking of black soot, remember that you’ll also have to keep your chimney clean, meaning more out-of-pocket costs for you. 

See which of our Architects can help you with your dream home renovation.  


8. The cons of wood fireplaces: Safety hazard

House Viljoen, Living room/Kitchen and Fireplace/Barbeque Modern living room by Hugo Hamity Architects Modern
Hugo Hamity Architects

House Viljoen, Living room/Kitchen and Fireplace/Barbeque

Hugo Hamity Architects

Obviously you need to keep an eye on kids and pets relaxing near your wood fireplace, since those jumping sparks and ash can be a real safety hazard. 

Keep in mind these 12 cheap building materials perfect for a small home


Are you for or against a wood fireplace in your home?
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