With the holidays and the cold temperatures of winter upon us, it is definitely fireplace season. Whether you’re hanging the stockings and decorating the mantle or just starting a fire on a cold Wisconsin night, a fireplace is the center of a custom home.

If you are building your new dream home, what are you envisioning? Is it a gas, electric or wood-burning fireplace?

Most homes have a built-in fireplace (connected to the chimney, if needed) while others have a gas or electric fireplace inserted into the wall. Homeowners can even choose a freestanding fireplace, which is especially common in outdoor spaces. There are a number of options to choose from. When you are designing your home, you will take all of these ideas and options into consideration.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), sixty percent of houses have at least one fireplace. It is very common to have a fireplace as a focal point in the living or family room. However, they are also found in an open kitchen space, in the dining room, the master bedroom, lower level and even in the backyard.

Fireplaces are desired for many reasons, including aesthetics, heat source, and energy efficiency. Options have changed over the past few years, with different energy sources and materials becoming available. The exterior aesthetic is changed and enhanced with the chimney or chimneys as well.

picture of a fire pit outside a home

What is the Best Type of Fireplace for You and Your Home?

Traditional Wood-Burning Fireplace

A wood-burning fireplace is classic. The sound of logs crackling in the fire with the scent of fresh wood makes a wood-burning fireplace nostalgic, cozy and hard to beat on a cold winter’s night. It’s the perfect ambiance for Christmas and the holidays, too.

While wood-burning fireplaces are beautiful and enjoyable, they are the most high-maintenance and expensive option. Homeowners must have a place to store the wood and plenty of time to keep it stocked. Plus, you need to know how to start and keep a fire burning. The price of putting in a full mason chimney will also add to the cost of your custom home, which is something to consider when working through your budget.

You need to clean a wood-burning fireplace routinely. There is a risk of hot embers popping out of unscreened fires. To avoid this, you should sweep ashes away once the fire dies. A professional must also regularly clean the chimney.

If you love the idea of a rustic wood-burning fireplace, but don’t want all of the work, it may not be the best fireplace for your custom home.

Best fireplace for your custom home

Gas Fireplaces

Gas fireplaces are a popular choice when building a new custom home because of their convenience. Compared to wood-burning fireplaces, they’re easy to maintain, without any clean-up of wood chips and ashes, and there’s no lingering smell. Like a wood-burning fireplace, a gas fireplace can also provide heat and light during a power outage.

They’re more affordable and flexible, too. You can install them in virtually any room you want. Plus, they don’t require a masonry hearth and chimney like a traditional fireplace. Instead, gas fireplaces need a gas hook-up that can be vented through a pipe in the wall or gas inserts. Gas burns much cleaner than a wood fire. There are even vent-free gas fireplaces on the market.

The beauty of the gas fireplace is that you can start them with the flip of a switch or a remote control, which ignites the gas or propane. While there is no chance of toasting marshmallows on an open fire, you can still see flames dancing and lighting up the room. These modern-day fireplaces even run on a thermostat, so you can strategically heat the room while giving your furnace a break.

A gas fireplace may be your best bet if this sounds like a worthwhile trade-off for an authentic wood-burning fire. Additionally, busy families may get more use out of a gas fireplace than a wood-burning one.

Best Fireplace For Your Custom Home


Electric Fireplaces

An electric fireplace is the most hassle-free option of all of them. They come from a box, already constructed. You can plug in an electric fireplace anywhere you’d like in the home, including in your existing fireplace. There’s no installation needed and no ventilation.

There isn’t a fire, however, as it’s just an electric heater designed to look like a roaring fireplace. But, the electric option may be the right choice if you’re dreaming of a fireplace in your living room just for the aesthetic. They’re also the safest option if you’re a family with young children or pets in the house.

An electric fireplace can give you the same lighting and heat, with much less work. Of course, these don’t look exactly like a traditional fireplace, but with their ease of use and minimal to no upkeep, nothing can beat them. Besides functionality, they don’t require venting, a chimney, or a propane tank, which keeps their space requirement minimal.

They’re emission-free, scent-free, clean-up-free and safe to operate. You can also move them around the home to experiment with different spots until you find the perfect location.

The cons of an electric fireplace are that they tend to be the most expensive long-term option as they increase your electric bill. They are also the least efficient when it comes to warming a large space because they produce the least amount of heat, warming up only your immediate vicinity because of their low overall output.

picture of a screen porch with a fireplace

Connect with Colby Construction to Choose the Best Fireplace for Your Custom Home

A custom luxury home would feel empty without a fireplace, especially during the Wisconsin winter. From the scent of burning wood with a wood-burning fireplace to the glow and warm ambiance of a gas or electric fireplace, they simply add to a room. Fireplaces can enhance any atmosphere. Choosing the right fireplace to suit your family’s needs and your home’s aesthetic is key. What you want is a fireplace that you use and enjoy all year round, not something that just takes up space.

Colby Construction will help you select the perfect fireplace for your home and your needs. Check out our Pinterest Fireplace Board for some of our favorite fireplaces we’ve created for our clients!