When it comes to fireplaces, many people wonder whether there is a big difference between indoor fireplaces and outdoor fireplaces. For the most part, there is not much of a difference between the two, except that when you are installing an indoor fireplace, you have many more options to consider than you do for an outdoor fireplace, simply because not all materials are made to withstand the outdoor elements and not all types of fireplaces are as appropriate for outdoor applications.
The first main difference relates to the type of fireplace you can install either indoors or out, as far as combustible materials is concerned. When it comes to indoor fireplaces, you have an option to install indoor wood burning fireplaces, indoor gas fireplaces, indoor propane fireplaces or indoor electric fireplaces. Outdoor fireplaces, on the other hand, are most often wood burning options, although you can choose to install an outdoor gas or propane fireplace if you wanted to. Electric fireplaces are not typically used for outdoor purposes, however.
Another difference relates to the type of fireplace surrounds that you can use indoors or out. When you build an outdoor fireplace, you most often are surrounding your fireplace with stone, brick or masonry, because these materials will hold up best to the weather. You can also use tile, but it will depend on where the fireplace is located and what type of tile you use. Indoor fireplaces, on the other hand, can be surrounded with almost any type of material you want, from marble and granite, to glass tiles, stainless steel, other types of metal, stone, and more. An indoor fireplace has few limitations to what it can be surrounded by.
One similarity between the two, however, refers to their portability. Not all indoor fireplaces have to be built into the wall, just as not all outdoor ones need to be. You can choose portable indoor fireplaces that can be placed anywhere you need them to be indoors. A portable indoor fireplace will not be wood-burning however, unless it is a wood burning stove with a proper chimney and flue (but it can’t be moved around, it is just freestanding). An indoor electric fireplace or indoor gas fireplace, on the other hand, can be placed just about any place you want and are self-venting, so you have few limitations as to their location. Portable outdoor fireplaces are usually more like chimineas or firepits – freestanding units that can contain a fire and can be moved around to any location you need them to be.
Other than a few differences between indoor fireplaces and outdoor ones, which mostly relate to the types of materials used to surround the firebox, and in some cases, the type of fuel source used for the fire, there is no great difference between the two. All you need for either indoor fireplaces or outdoor ones is a firebox that can contain a fuel source (either wood logs, gas, propane, or an electric burner), and a way to vent the fireplace. If you do not have a true wood-burning fireplace, your venting needs will not be as much as if you have a gas or electric model, but you will still need to have some way to vent the fireplace.
Adding a fireplace, either indoors or out, adds to the ambience, beauty and comfort of your home or yard. There are quite a few more options that homeowners have when building or buying indoor fireplaces, but there are still plenty of options to choose from when it comes to installing an outdoor fireplace as well. With so many fuel source and decorative options available, you should be able to have the outdoor or indoor fireplace of your dreams.