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Many homeowners who have had a home built from the ground up have heard of the term “builder grade.” It refers to the quality of materials and structures used in the home, and people naturally assume builder grade is high quality that the builders themselves would choose. Unfortunately, this misconception can cause big headaches and expenses down the road.


Builder grade actually implies average quality and the products are pre-built and mass produced. These materials and structures are poorly constructed and often fail to hold up adequately over time. Builder grade roofs leak and need to be replaced within ten years, builder grade windows cause high heating and cooling bills due to drafts and air leaks, and even minor structures like builder grade gutters can cause water damaged wood and a flooded basement.

In essence, builder grade is not the way to go, especially with vital and functional aspects of the home like roofs, windows, and gutters. However, some other structures can fall victim to builder grade quality because homeowners may not view them as functional. One of these structures is your hearth and fireplace.

Most people think of the fireplace as an aesthetic addition to the house so the quality would matter much less than that of a roof, for example. The fireplace is the focal point of the room and it also has functional qualities that can negatively affect health and safety if construction improperly or if components fail.

Homeowners who choose a home with a fireplace generally intend to use the fireplace, either for the tranquil ambiance at a holiday party or for the heating option it offers the home. The firebox and the surrounding hearth needs to be built and installed properly in order to safely vent the toxic smoke and fumes.

A major safety threat associated with low quality or deteriorated hearths and fireplaces includes smoke back up into the house. Smoke contains toxins like creosote and carbon monoxide. Creosote exposure can cause cancers and birth defects, and carbon monoxide can cause death if the concentration becomes too high inside the home. In addition, a poorly constructed hearth can eventually collapse, meaning expensive repairs and interior exposure to toxic fumes.

Cheaply-made fireplaces will wear out and fail quicker than higher-quality units. Taking into consideration that a fireplace is typically covered in stone, brick, or other finish materials that would be expensive to replace, it’s important to purchase a fireplace constructed of high-quality and heavy-duty materials to extend the expected lifespan of the system.

In order to avoid these dangers of opting for a builder grade fireplace and hearth get in contact with the fireplace specialists at Home Safe to provide you with all options and the knowledge to help you make a good decision for your home and family. If you live in the area of Wichita, Kansas, contact Home Safe Hearth and Chimney, Inc. for a professional consultation. Enjoy your high-quality fireplace and hearth for years to come without worrying about it causing any dangers.

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