If you’re exploring a fireplace installation in your home, it’s important that you understand the terms often used in association with fireplace installation and design. Knowing these terms will help you to understand your options and choose a fireplace design that fits your home’s decor and style.
Chase – The chase is the structure that vents the fumes and smoke from a fireplace. Located above the fireplace, the chase of a traditional fireplace is the chimney, but with modern gas fireplaces, the venting system will be built for the specific unit.
Clean Edge – This modern finish removes the picture frame look of many traditional fireplaces and brings the finishing material all the way to the front edge of the fireplace for a clean, minimalist look.
Clearances – These parameters refer to the safe minimum distance between the fireplace and other combustible materials like a television, decorative items, and artwork or pictures. Each unit will have its own unique clearances.
Combustible Materials – This term refers to materials that can catch on fire and burn. When a fireplace is installed, non-combustible materials are used around the unit until they reach the clearance parameters. Non-combustible materials are typically brick, concrete, backer board, metal, and some glass. Using combustible materials too close to the fireplace poses a risk of those materials being destroyed by the heat of the fire.
Finishing Material -This is the material that encloses the chase. Traditional fireplaces feature brick or stone, but more modern fireplaces that have a Cool Wall may have finishing materials like wallpaper or wood.
Cool Wall -Not a standard part of all fireplaces, this addition encloses the chase and enables the use of combustible finishing material without risk. Sometimes, using a Cool Wall will require special venting in the chase.
Flue -The flue is the venting mechanism inside the chase. The flue in a traditional fireplace is located inside the chimney while the flue for a gas fireplace is a direct vent to the outside of the home.
Hearth -Built in front of the fireplace, this structure raises the fireplace off the ground to protect the floor. Hearths are traditionally brick, but the material will match the style of the fireplace, so it could be marble, concrete, unfinished stone, or other non-combustible material.
Mantel -This part of the fireplace serves as a frame above the fireplace and is a popular spot for decor, pictures, and even televisions to be displayed. Sometimes the mantel is made of finished wood and sometimes it is made of stone or concrete.
The choice of fireplace style is really important. You want your fireplace to complement your home and look like it’s always been there. Here are some of the most common styles and a description of each.
Bay Style -This unique fireplace has glass on three sides: the front, left, and right. Thus, you get a view of the fire from more angles. Popular in large rooms, Bay style fireplaces mimic the “U” shape of a bay and create a warm atmosphere for all.
Pier Style -Similar to the Bay style, the Pier style features glass on 3 sides. The front, back, and single side glass panes allow views from multiple rooms and serve as a transition piece between rooms as well.
Corner Style – This style of fireplace is great for corner placement or for transition between rooms. With glass on two sides, this L-shaped fireplace allows views of the fire from multiple positions and can serve two rooms at once.
See-Through – With glass in front and back, this style of fireplace gives light and warmth to two rooms and brings an open feel to the space.
Single Sided – Probably the most common type of fireplace, this style is what you see in most homes. It features glass in the front only and is set into the wall facing out into the room.
Traditional Fireplaces -This single-sided rectangular fireplace is most common. It matches the traditional decor of a majority of homes.
Contemporary Fireplaces -Contemporary fireplaces change with the times. Whatever styles and designs are trending are considered contemporary in the moment.
Modern Fireplaces – Modern homes feature sleek lines and finishes with discreet trim. Modern fireplaces follow suit with a clean, linear design that makes it look like part of the architecture rather than an overstated design piece.
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