What’s a Zero Clearance Fireplace?

Category: Fireplace

A zero clearance fireplace is a great option for homeowners that want to add fireplaces to their homes but have older homes that don’t have the right masonry work like a chimney to support a fireplace.

Zero clearance fireplaces allow homeowners to add fireplaces even if they don’t have the proper chimney to support a fireplace because zero clearance fireplaces use a system of vents in order to circulate air so they don’t need chimneys to work and be safe.

If you have always wanted a fireplace but thought you could never have one because your home wasn’t built with a chimney, now you can have the fireplace that you’ve always wanted. In fact, you can have more than one if you want them. Add a fireplace to your master bedroom and to your living room.

Zero clearance fireplaces are ideal for spaces like garages, sheds, basements, attics, or other spaces within the home or around the home that you want to turn into livable and usable space.

They are extremely energy efficient and can provide great heat with the minimal cost which makes them perfect to use for heating a man cave, she shed, or basement media room or hang out room for the kids.

zero clearance fireplace

How Zero Clearance Fireplaces Work

Zero clearance fireplaces are essentially fireboxes that come already complete. They are pretty much self-contained units that can be placed into much smaller footprints inside the home.

They can also be placed within a few inches of combustible materials like walls safely, which means that homeowners have a lot of freedom to choose where the fireplaces are put.

And the fireplaces are relatively easy and inexpensive to install because they don’t need a hearth or other masonry work. All they need are some ventilation pipes installed and they are pretty much ready to be used. Finally getting a fireplace put into an older home can be fast, easy, and inexpensive.

There are different types of zero clearance fireplaces including pellet burning zero clearance fireplaces, gas zero clearance fireplaces, and wood burning zero clearance fireplaces. If you want another option you can also get an electric zero clearance fireplace.

Some types of zero clearance fireplaces are up to 70% energy efficient which can provide big energy savings for homeowners. And having fireplaces in the home will boost the appeal of the home as well as the function of the home. When it comes to investing in your home, adding a fireplace or even more than one fireplace is a smart decision.

Homeowners always are on the lookout for ways to increase both the function and the style of their homes and this is a great way to do both. Designers can help homeowners decide the best places to install a fireplace so that the flow of the house isn’t disrupted.

Customizing Your Fireplace

Since you can put a zero clearance fireplace almost anywhere in the home the fireplace can look a little drab, like a plain firebox. You can use custom designed mantels, fireplace surrounds, and other elements to create a gorgeous fireplace area that looks like it was designed just for your home.

Masonry work or mosaic work around the fireplace is the perfect way to make it look the fireplace was built into the house. A wood mantel is perfect for setting off space around the fireplace while a stone mantel will give the fireplace a timeless and elegant look. Custom painted molding and other elements can also add to the appeal of the fireplace (check out an article on how to paint your fireplace surround here).

By creating a custom built area around the zero clearance fireplace that has a mantel, fireplace doors, and a defined area like a hearth it will give the illusion that the firebox is really a traditional fireplace. You can enjoy the warmth and appeal of the fireplace without having to worry about the dangers of a traditional fireplace.

You also won’t need to worry about getting your chimney cleaned several times a year in order to keep the fireplace working properly. A zero clearance fireplace gives you the best of both worlds when it comes to having a fireplace.

You can work with a designer or design a look yourself that will perfectly complement the room in your home where you have the fireplace installed.

The Benefits of Zero Clearance Fireplaces

There are a lot of reasons why homeowners are excited about zero clearance fireplaces. From their energy efficiency to the huge range of options that come with installing a zero clearance fireplace here are the benefits that homeowners love the most:

Great Design Options

These versatile fireboxes are essentially one unit that can sit close against wood, stone, concrete or other materials these fireplaces can be installed in spaces that wouldn’t allow the installation of a traditional fireplace.

That means you can add the warmth and charm of a fireplace to any room. In general, there should be an inch for every square foot of room space so that you will get a fireplace that's the right scale for the room and the right size to provide enough heat to make the room comfortable.

If you're getting a zero clearance fireplace to heat a garage or media room that has no other heating then you may want to add an inch or two to the size of the firebox for extra heat capability.


Zero clearance fireplaces are quick and inexpensive to install because they require only some ventilation piping to be safe to operate. Meanwhile, electric models don’t even require ventilation piping. Even with the cost of a custom mantel, glass doors, and other accessories, installing these fireplaces is fast and affordable.

You can even get them installed before the holiday season if you want to make your home more inviting for holiday parties and more inviting for Santa. Because they are so affordable you can more than one installed if you want to give yourself a luxury retreat in your master bedroom as well as having a great family gathering place around the fireplace in the living room.

Easy to Retrofit into Homes

Finally, homeowners who have older homes that were never built with fireplaces can safely and affordably install fireplaces in their homes so that they can experience the relaxation and warmth of having a burning fire in a bedroom, dining room, living room, or other space.

You can even install one in the bathroom if you really want to create a luxurious getaway for yourself. Call today to talk with a designer about options and availability of zero clearance fireplaces and see how affordable it can be to have the fireplace you’ve been dreaming about installed in your home.

cozy fireplace

Fireplace and Chimney Maintenance

In conclusion, a zero clearance fireplace adds value to any home. However, you'll still have to maintain a clean chimney and fireplace no matter what. This includes a proper chimney sweep and inspection to ensure that the flue of your chimney is cleaned out from any debris and creosote.

At Vertical Chimney Care, we understand what customers want and we've delivered that for over 30 years. We are the most trusted chimney service company in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs since 1985. Contact us today to speak to a specialist!

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