Chiminea fireplaces may be constructed from cast iron, cast aluminum, or clay. The Chiminea is usually made with a round burning chamber with a smokestack placed above it. The overall size of the Chiminea may range from 4 to 6 feet high and 2 to 3 feet wide. The metal Chiminea is the most durable and allows fires to burn for long periods of time. A clay Chiminea is not as durable as metal versions and may become damaged from excessive heat. Cracking of the clay is a common problem, which weakens the chiminea structurally. If the clay Chiminea is labeled as air-dried it must be treated with a sealer prior to use, such as a heat resistant sealer or paint. A kiln-dried Chiminea does not typically require treating or sealing; however, it is best to consult the manufacturer or the retail store that sells the Chiminea to ensure that this is the case.
A Chiminea may also be referred to as a Patio Fireplace or an Offset Smoker; however, both of these names may refer to other types of free standing fireplaces that are different from a traditional Chiminea. For example, Offset Smokers are typically built with a wide cylinder-like enclosed firebox in which a fire is started for grilling, smoking, or barbecuing foods on grates that are placed over the burning chamber within the firebox.