Question: We are building a new home. Our plan had been to lay in an actual bricked fireplace, but without a chimney. The brick on the back of the fireplace (exterior of home) was to have been laid up to the soffit. We were then going to use the fireplace for ventless gas logs. However, I am now is search of options to allow the use of vented logs. I'm worried about some of the issues surrounding ventless (odor, too much heat, realism, etc.). What options do we have that would not compare to the expense of building a bricked chimney? We will have a 10/12 pitch on the house, so I'm concerned that a top venting prefab pipe chimney would have to extend too far upward to allow for the drafting. I know one option may be going with a direct vent system, but I have concerns there too. If we were to install one of the metal fireboxes and then brick around the fireplace and the vent pipe (Home exterior will be brick.), could there be any problems down the road if we needed to replace the pipe or if the front face of the box were to become damaged, etc.? Brick would have to be torn out? Your site is very informative and is appreciated by those of us with limited knowledge of some of the principles involved with fireplaces. Answer: These are good questions and issues, especially the one about replacing the pipe in the future. First of all, a direct-vent fireplace would be a great solution if you want both heat and realism. New homes are also tightly constructed, and a DV makes certain that you will not have draft problems. Of course, with a direct vent you do not even have to lay up any brick on the outside. However, if you want the look of brick, you can vent the DV straight up and then frame and brick veneer the outside of the box. The DV pipe does not have to extend as high up as would a fully vented fireplace, so you will not have the "too tall chimney" problem. The chimney pipe is designed to last for many years, 25-40 years or more would be my guess. It could probably be replaced from the top by lowering the pipe down into the enclosure. Some brick facing on the inside of the home (above the fireplace front) would have to be removed to allow this to happen. One good idea is to install a second lintel (the steel angle iron that hold the brick above the fireplace opening) about 3 feet above the fireplace opening. This allows for easy removal and replacement of the fireplace, chimney and face brick in the future.