A fireplace surround is not necessarily important for a fireplace unit. However, the need for a fireplace surround must follow the local and national codes. Sometimes a fireplace can look bare if there is no surround. Even paints cannot work the magic the same surrounds do for a fireplace.
What is a Fireplace Surround?
A fireplace surround refers to an object sticking out and surrounding the opening to a fireplace. The major components include the sides and the mantel. However, it may lack or have the base of the fireplace, referred to as the hearth. Therefore, you can include anything that protrudes from the firebox opening as a fireplace surround.
The mantel is the top part of the fireplace surround. It is usually flat so that decorations and ornaments can be placed there. Most of the time, they are purchased as standalone components. The sides are also referred to as the legs. They offer support for the mantel and create a barrier between the room and the fireplace.
The hearth of a fireplace surround is not that common. Some come with it, and others do not. This is where objects like the fireplace screen are placed. It sticks out to offer protection for the floor against the hot fire embers. Some fireplace units have the hearth as one of the components.
Fireplace openings differ in size; thus, fireplace surrounds come in different sizes. They also come in a range of materials, designs, and patterns. This allows you to choose whatever fits the interior decor of your home. The design may be contemporary or antique. Materials include concrete, stone, and wood.
Benefits of a Fireplace Surround
Fireplace surrounds have a few functions and benefits. They include;
- It is an attractive and stylish component that helps make the fireplace a focal point of the room
- It acts as a barrier between the open fireplace and the room. This means fires can be contained safely within the firebox. Combustible materials can thus not catch fire.
- Provides room for placement of decorations in the space above the mantel.
- Aids in keeping the smoke out of the room
Attaching Fireplace Surrounds
Many fireplace surrounds are built-in as part of the overall construction of the fireplace. However, the surrounds added to the fireplace are often fastened to the wall with brackets and screws. Such surrounds may include wooden surrounds. They are normally fastened to the wall with brackets/lugs and screws placed around the surround.
These brackets can be placed on either the inside or outside of the surround and sometimes may be hidden behind plaster. Each fireplace surround will have a different number of brackets and their placements.
Can a Fireplace Surround Get Hot?
Yes, fireplace surrounds get hot. The degree of hotness may vary depending on several factors. They include;
- The fireplace kind such as gas, wood or electric
- The clearance distance to the fireplace surround
- The material used to make the surround
The modern wood stove can produce more heat than the traditional wood fireplace. The clearance distance may vary according to the national and local codes in different countries. A metal fireplace surround gets hotter than a stone fireplace surround.
It is thus quite a hard task to determine how hot a fireplace can get. A Stone fireplace often gets hotter than a concrete fireplace. Also, stoves can radiate a lot more heat than an open fireplace.
Fireplace Surround Size
The surrounding size can vary in different homes. The following factors affect the size of the fireplace surround;
- Clearance distance is required for the flammable materials around
- The fireplace opening’s size
- The room size
- The hearth’s size and depth
- The chimney breast’s size ( if any is available)
The clearance distance can vary depending on the materials used to construct the fireplace surround. Just make sure no combustible materials catch fire. Also, surrounds made from materials such as wood should be at least 6 inches away from the fireplace opening. The distance can also vary according to the type of fireplace unit; gas, electric, or wood.
If a hearth is available, its size and depth are important. This is because a surround should sit on top of a hearth. Consider the width and length of the hearth for proper installation of the legs. Another key thing is comparing the size of the surround to the size of the room. A large surround can look dominating in a small room.
A fireplace can work without a surround. However, at what cost would you like that? The fireplace area will look ugly and out of place without a surround. You also learn how a fireplace surround works, how it is installed, and other things from the above. Make your interior decor interesting.