Posted by Karen Duke on 9/13/2019 to Projects
Fireplace Challenge: Let's make it usable again
The fireplace in this older home was simply not in working order. The homeowner didn't want to deal with the challenges of burning wood. Toting in the logs and cleaning up the ashes had just gotten to be too much for her. Then there was no damper, allowing her heated air to escape through the chimney. She remedied this by making some wood "doors" to block off the opening to save her heat. And while that cute vintage white mantel is a great accent for her room, it's way too small for this opening. Were she to burn wood, there was a risk of catching it on fire because it's way too close to the fireplace opening; code requires at least 8" clearance and she had about half that. A mantel that's too close to the opening can catch fire from a stray spark, but more importantly, long term of exposure of the wood causes PYROLYSIS, or decomposition brought about by prolonged exposure to high temperatures.
Our challenge was to give her a convenient gas fire that she could turn on with a remote control, stop the heat loss up the chimney and find her a mantel that would fit the fireplace style while providing a mantel adequate safety clearance because her mantel really couldn't be altered enough to fit properly.
HERE'S WHAT WE DID
We replaced the mantel with a vintage timber shelf. Now you can see that awesome vintage brick and truly appreciate that pretty arch.
We installed gas logs, so she has the aesthetic of a gorgeous decorative fire by just tapping a button on a remote control. She doesn't even have to bend over to turn them on!
To stop heat loss we installed glass doors, custom fit inside of her arched opening. With vented gas logs the damper has to be removed or clamped open, so the fact that she didn't have a damper was okay. Even better than a damper is a set of glass doors that can be closed when the fire is not in use, saving all that heat from being lost up the chimney.
Now she can not only SEE her fireplace again, it will bring her warmth and comfort on those chilly evenings.