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Fireplace Doors Questions & Answers


Before you do anything else, just email us some pictures of your fireplace and let us lead you in the right direction...

Selecting the right glass doors for your fireplace requires consideration not just for style and function of the doors, but for type of fireplace (prefabricated or masonry, gas or wood burning) as well as how it is finished (brick, marble, stone etc.). Because virtually every fireplace is different, it is nearly impossible to address every circumstance on this website. We highly recommend that you begin by emailing us some pictures of your fireplace so we can help you find fireplace doors that are perfect for you.

This is a "FREE SERVICE" that we offer to all of our visitors regardless of whether or not you purchase your fireplace doors from us. Click here for more information about our Free Fireplace Door Design Service.

How to determine if you have a prefabricated or masonry fireplace.

The best way to determine what type of fireplace you have is to simply email us some pictures of your fireplace. Our experts will make the determination at a glance and will be able to recommend the correct type of doors for your fireplace.

Email us pictures of your fireplace HERE!

Masonry Fireplaces A masonry fireplace is a fireplace that is built from the ground up using completely non-combustible materials such as Brick or Stone. The inside the fireplace is lined with real firebrick on the floor and sides and there is not any metal linking. The damper is normally rectangular in shape. In most cases, the chimney outside the house is brick or stone...however, you may find that it has been covered with some other material such as siding or stucco. The inside of the chimney is usually lined with an oval shaped ceramic flue liner.

Prefabricated Zero Clearance Fireplaces A Prefabricated Fireplace is a metal firebox with a metal chimney that is framed into the house and then covered on the outside with something like stucco or siding...or sometimes a brick or stone veneer.

The metal surface on the inside of the house might have been covered with a brick, tile, or stone veneer as well...which is usually the case.

More tips on determining the type of fireplace you have:

1. If your fireplace is metal inside with a refractory brick lining, then it is certainly a prefab fireplace.

2. The Damper and Chimney will be round as opposed to rectangular or oval.

3. If your chimney outside the house is not built of bricks or rock...then it's probably a prefab fireplace.

4. See if you can find a metal label inside the will have the manufacturers name and model number. If you can come up with this information, it will help us determine the right doors to order for your fireplace.

If you have questions about this...just give us a call at:

Here's some basic info about the more typical fireplaces:

Masonry Fireplaces:
If you have a masonry fireplace, which means that it was built from ground up using bricks, then you can use normal glass doors that overlap the opening or fit inside depending on the application. With brick fireplaces, the amount the frame overlaps the opening is more or less important depending on the width and depth of the mortar joints between the bricks. When it comes to stock size glass doors, the amount of overlap is determined by the size of your opening compared to the stock size that most closely fits your opening, so in some cases, even though a size chart determines that a door will fit your opening, it may not sufficiently overlap to cover wider mortar joints. Also, there is a metal bar that extends across the top of the fireplace opening called the Lintel bar. The lintel bar is set in place during the construction of the fireplace facing so as to support the upper row of bricks as the mason lays them across the top. The thickness of this bar as well as how far back from the opening it is placed must also be accounted for to ensure that it is not in the way of any sub-frame that extends behind the face of your fireplace door frame. These are the types of things that our fireplace glass door experts will look at to make sure the doors you order will fit correctly.

Prefabricated Zero Clearance Fireplaces:
If you have a prefabricated fireplace, you must use glass doors that are designed specifically for your type of fireplace because there are air vents constructed into the fireplace that cannot be covered up by a conventional fireplace door frame. It is particularly important that you install the correct doors on prefab fireplaces in order to allow air to pass into the firebox through these air vents to prevent the framing members surrounding the fireplace from overheating and catching fire. Some glass doors are pre-made for specific models of prefab fireplaces, so it may just be a matter of finding the make and model of the fireplace to order the correct doors. There are also many custom options which will require measuring the fireplace in specific which case we will need you to send us pictures so we can determine where you need to measure. A selection of glass doors specifically designed for prefabricated fireplaces can be located here.

Rock Fireplaces
If you have an irregular stone facing, you may not be able to overlap the opening of the fireplace in the same manner as you would if the fireplace was faced with brick or tile. In most cases, stone fireplaces require that the door frame be custom made to fit inside the opening. Once the frame is installed, the gaps between the stone and the frame must be filled with mortar. For more information regarding this application, you can read a detailed description of how to measure and install glass doors on rock fireplaces.

Multi-Sided Fireplaces
If your fireplace is shaped like an "L" or "U" you will certainly need custom made glass doors. Measuring for these will be difficult if you do not know what to look for. Each style of custom doors has it's own parameters that need to be taken into account when measuring, such as the depth of the sub-frame, the minimum and maximum amount of overlap the frame can accommodate, and the position of any post that may be supporting your fireplace at each corner. So if you have this type of fireplace, you can be sure our experts are going to require you to email us some pictures so that we can tell you exactly how to measure. Once we see your pictures, we will make it very clear and easy for you to know to do.

Tile and Marble Fireplace Facings
Fireplaces that are faced with tile or marble are usually the easiest to measure because they are usually quite square. But there are special considerations that must be taken into account for depending on how you want the doors installed. For example. If you want the doors to fit inside the opening, you must leave enough room for the door frame to expand and contract from the heat of the fire. We've seen glass doors that fit so snuggly into a marble slab fireplace opening that the expensive slab of marble actually cracked and popped off a chunk right at the upper corner. So we don't recommend having doors made to fit inside this type of fireplace with the exception of some styles that are specifically made for this purpose.

Arched and Bowed Fireplaces
Any fireplace that has an arched opening or a convex or concave shape to the front will require a template from which to have your doors custom made. Fortunately, we have done so many of these for our Internet customers that we have the process down to a science. The first step is always to send us a picture of your fireplace so that we can walk you through the process of making a template of your fireplace. Typically, (but not always) his is done by placing a piece of cardboard against the fireplace opening with a hoe cut into it large enough for you to reach inside and trace the shape of the fireplace onto the back side of the cardboard. Once the line is drawn, you will need to check the measurements of the line compared to the actual measurements of the fireplace to see if you have drawn the line accurately. At this point, it is a good idea to actually cut out the pattern to see how it fits. Again, our experts will walk you through this process after having looked at your pictures.

Other considerations
If your fireplace is raised up in the wall, or the hearth inside is higher than the actual opening, or the side walls inside taper back at a dramatic angle...or say you have a lip of bricks that sticks out across the top of the opening, or rows of bricks on each side that project out further than the top...or...well, we could go on and on about the various ways a mason designs a fireplace. The bottom line is, every fireplace is different and needs to be looked at by an glass door expert before you order anything. So...again, we recommend that you send us some pictures and let us take it from there. We've seen so many thousands of fireplaces that it only takes us a second or two to identify the limitations of your fireplace and make our recommendations to you.

How to measure for fireplace doors

Measuring Sheet
In some cases we might ask you to fill out a Measuring Sheet. However, in most cases, we will look a pictures of your fireplace and ask you for measurments that are taylored to your specific fireplace. Before we process any orders, we will ask for a final email confirmation of your measurements as we interpret them along with other specific details for your doors.

Getting Your Fireplace Doors Installed

Installing fireplace doors for the most part is a simple do-it-yourself project. The typical installation requires a hammer, screwdriver, and power drill with a masonry drill bit and possibly a metal drill bit.

For masonry fireplaces
In most cases, there are brackets that project into the fireplace opening that are positioned on the back side of the fireplace door frame. These brackets are held in place with screws that are screwed into expansion anchors that you insert into holes drilled into the firebrick on side walls and or bottom of the inside of the fireplace. In some cases these brackets are located in fixed positions at the top and bottom or sides of the door frame, in others, they can be positioned wherever you want. The brackets are designed to be bent to conform to the tapered shape of a masonry fireplace, or to get around the facing material if it is narrower than the actual inside. The actual hardware will vary between door brands and models, but the installation is pretty much the same concept. Regardless, the brackets will ultimately get attached to the firebrick inside the fireplace either on the sides or top and bottom. With some doors, there are brackets that are designed to attach to the steel lintel bar across the top of the opening. These may require holes to be drilled through the hardened steel, however, in some cases there are clamps supplied that eliminate the drilling.

Locating where to install the brackets: Before the brackets can be attached to the inside of the fireplace, anchors must be installed, so you need to determine where to install them. To do this, normally you would go ahead and attach the brackets to the back side of the door frame. The door frame is then pushed up to the fireplace opening so that you can determine how to bend the brackets if necessary, and mark the location where they hit the sidewall of the fireplace so that you can drill the holes for the anchors. You will find that the brackets have slots in them rather than holes, so you are not so limited as to where you must drill the holes. Anywhere along the slot is sufficient.

Once the holes have been drilled and the anchors put in place, the door frame is placed against the fireplace opening again and screws are inserted through the brackets and tightened down into the expanding anchors to hold the door frame firmly in place.

For Prefab Fireplaces
Prefabricated fireplaces are normally easier to deal with because there are just 4 brackets that need to get screwed into the inside metal frame of the fireplace. In some cases, several sizes and shapes of brackets may be supplied from the manufacturer in order to make your job easier. In other cases, the brackets won't work at all and you might end up just driving some screws through the actual door frame into the metal face of your fireplace. Again, if you need help, we are here to make your life easier...but you can expect that we will ask you to send us a picture of your fireplace so we can see what the deal is.

Rock Fireplaces
Rock fireplaces may require a bit more effort than other fireplaces because the installation typically requires that the frame be mortared into the fireplace opening. We are experts at this type of application and have several installers on staff who have done many of these installations. Since this type of installation is a bit more involved, we have devoted an entire page that goes in to great detail about how to measure and install glass doors on rock fireplaces.

This is pretty much all there is to installing most glass doors. However, there are so many variables with fireplaces that you may need some advice from a us. So we have experts on staff who have performed thousands of installations who can always come up with ways to help you if you have something unusual.

Important Notes:

Stock size glass doors are designed to overlap any rectangular opening that is a flat surface such as brick, marble or tile. If your fireplace has protrusions such as a ledge overhanging the opening or columns that project further on the sides than at the top, you will not be able to use stock size doors the way they were intended.

Our size calculator is meant to offer tips and guidelines only. You must speak to one of our glass door experts to clarify that the glass doors you have selected are appropriate for your application.

We also recommend that you email us pictures of your fireplace along with your dimensions so that our experts can examine your fireplace to determine if there are any unusual circumstances that must be taken into consideration.

It is critical that you determine the correct dimensions and type of fireplace that you have before you order glass doors to cover the opening.

We will not be held responsible for, or accept returns, for glass doors that are ordered based on incorrect  dimensions or for the wrong type of fireplace...please read this column carefully.

There are over 50 doors to view in this section. The size, style, and  finish options are limitless and therefore prices will vary dramatically.

If you cannot find what you like, please call us and one of our glass door experts will be happy to offer you more options and possibly email you pictures of items not shown on our web site.

Masonry fireplaces

Masonry fireplaces use different doors than those designed for prefabricated metal fireplaces. Stock sized doors are always designed to "overlap" the you must determine if an overlap fit is appropriate before you order any stock (or custom) sized doors.

If the surface around the opening of the masonry fireplace is flat (without any protruding surfaces), then overlapping should not be a problem and you can select from the stock size (or custom) size doors on this page.

If you have a ledge that the door frame must fit under, or protruding masonry work on any side of the opening that would prevent a frame from overlapping the surface and fitting flush, or if the surface is very irregular (Stone) will most likely need custom made doors.

Prefabricated Metal Fireplaces

Prefabricated Metal Fireplaces, often referred to as "Zero-Clearance Fireplaces", require special glass doors that are designed to keep the fireplace from overheating the framing members in the wall.

It is critical that you order the correct glass doors for this type of fireplace. Glass doors that are designed for masonry fireplace will create a fire hazard and will not have the proper mounting hardware for your installation.

Click Here to see fireplace doors specifically designed for Prefabricated Fireplaces

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