Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
Economical Enclosures
Concrete, Block, Brick, Stone

In "How Much Should a Rumford Cost?" we talk about building a Rumford fireplace with a block chimney in a day or two - and then glibly add that "stone or brick instead of block would cost more."

Well, how much more? And are stone or brick about the same cost? Are there any shortcuts that don't compromise quality?


I recently participated in a discussion in which a good stone mason said he could only lay about fifteen square feet of stone a day. At that rate it would take him about two months to veneer a forty foot tall fireplace and chimney encloure - about 800 sq.ft. The fireplace and block chimney might take a week and cost $6,000 plus materials. The stone veneer, at the same pay rate might cost $75,000 plus the stone. Wow, you've got to love stone.

At least one stone mason has figured this out and now builds only the core and let's other less competent stone masons veneer the thing.


So how does brick compare? Sam McGee used to say any mason in the country can lay one brick in ten seconds. The question is what does he do with the rest of the minute?

There are plenty of good brick layers who can lay 500 brick a day, or 80 square feet. That would take a well tended bricklayer two weeks instead of two months to lay up the 800 sq.ft. veneer and cost more like $12,000 plus the brick.

But wait. Do you need to veneer the whole 800 sq.ft. enclosure? If the chimney is inside the exterior walls of the house maybe you only have to veneer the face of the fireplace and the chimney above the roof. If it's an exterior chimnery - and this is an important point - you may want to veneer the entire outside of the chimney - the part that shows. You would still not have to veneer the side of the chimney that faced the house but still, an exterior chimney with 400 sq.ft of veneer would cost a lot more than an interior chimney with only 150 sq. ft of veneer.

There are some other interesting ways to build fireplace and chimney enclosures.


A poured in place concrete enclosure might be less expensive than a block enclosure - especially if you have a carpenter instead of a mason.

AAC, rammed earth and adobe are also posibilities.

Then there are some interesting ways to build stone walls or enclosures economically.

Formed Stone Walls

Ernest Flagg in the 1920's devised a way to build stone walls by placing the stones into forms to save time and money.

Wire Stone Walls

How about this stone wall contained by wire? What if you added mortar?

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Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
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