A fireplace is the complete fireplace structure. It can be masonry true brick and mortar style or a factory built zero clearance metal style. Either way the fireplace is the entire structure that you burn inside of. You need a fireplace if you don’t already have one and you want to install a fireplace in your home or you have one already and are going to be removing the structure from the wall and installing a new one into the opening in the wall that is left over.
A fireplace insert is basically a stove that is designed to be inserted into a fireplace that is already there. Usually a wood burning fireplace built with the home will get an insert put inside of it. Inserts require very little if any construction because you are utilizing the existing fireplace and opening for the insert.
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