Question: I was browsing your web site today and could not find the answer to a question I have. My father is building a house and the builder wants to install a "pre-fab" fireplace. My father is a traditionalist and wants a masonry fireplace. He is concerned that the "pre-fab" won't last long enough. I was wondering how the life-span of pre-fab fireplaces compares to those of masonry fireplaces. Answer: Pre-fabs do last for 20-30 years plus. However, they vary in quality. Most builder ALWAYS use the lowest priced models. These are actually nicknamed "Builder Boxes" in the industry. If you can, get an upgraded one. If you are in a cold climate, certain pre-fab models can bring cold air into the home. More upscale models often eliminate this. Bottom line, nothing wrong with pre-fabs, but better models may increase your satisfaction.