Is a Screen Necessary For a Fireplace?

To say if a fireplace screen is necessary depends on local authority laws and guidelines. Some laws state it is a must you place a screen on your fireplace. The wood-burning fireplace was the first type of fireplace, and it had a screen for protection purposes. The screen prevented the flying embers from entering the room.

A flying ember can easily start a fire when it gets in contact with flammable material. The original fireplace screen was metallic and mesh-like. It did not cover the whole firebox because it can lead to the slow-burning of wood. Nowadays, gas and electric fireplaces have glass screens.

Functions /Purposes of Fireplace Screen

  1. Protective function

A fireplace screen’s primary and traditional function was the protective function. The hot embers can easily fly out and land on flammable materials like carpets and wooden floors. The screen ensures embers bounce back into the fire. Always place the screen even if you have stone or metallic floors.

The screen also prevents pets and young children from getting too close to the fire. It creates a boundary that warns children that fire is dangerous. But still, watch your children and pets when the fireplace is up in flames. The screen on the gas fireplace also protects you from the hot flames. Do not touch the screen because it gets hot.

2. Decorative function

Time passed, and the electric fireplace came into existence. It also came with flames and a glass screen. However, the flames are not real, and it is an illusion of rotating glasses and reflections. Hence here, the screen serves a decorative purpose. They come in styles that make the electric fireplace look elegant.

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Some glass screens come in colors that match the flames. Some manufacturers mix and match colors to bring out a brilliant outcome. The mesh-like screens for wood-burning fireplaces can also add aesthetics to your home. Some screens have the eggshells hue to reflect the natural color of fire.

The screen will add more aesthetics because it can hide the messy firebox after the fire is out. The firebox always looks ugly and black with the soots on the walls, but the screen can hide all this mess. It will also hold the ash and fallen soot from entering the room. But ensure you clean your fireplace regularly.

3. It controls overheating

The downside of a wood-burning fireplace is that it is hard to control heat. The heat will start low, but the room will be too hot with time. The fireplace screen can reduce the amount of heat getting out into the room. Metallic screens can absorb the heat and allow little heat to pass. Some are painted with shiny colors to reflect the heat.

It is also an efficient way of heating your home. It is a simple science of how to move heat within matter. When the fireplace is open, only 10% of the heat will be transferred to the room by convection, and the rest goes to waste through the chimney. But the screen will absorb the heat and radiate it later into the room; at last, less heat is lost in the chimney.

How to Clean and Paint the Metallic Fireplace Screen

Tools and equipment

  • Wire brush
  • Soft brush
  • A bucket of hot water
  • Liquid soap
  • Spray can paint
  • A dry piece of cloth
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Step 1

First, you must clean up the firebox, or else the ash will still fly back on the clean screen. Then lay plastic bags on the floor near the fireplace. Remove the screen from the fireplace and place it in the plastic bag.

Step 2.

Use a soft brush or a dry rug to remove ash and soot from the mesh. Then add liquid soap to the bucket of warm water and shake until bubbles form.

Step 3.

Take the wire brush, deep it in the soap solution, and scrub the screen gently to avoid destroying the mesh. Rinse it with clean water and wipe with a dry piece of cloth. Take it outside to dry well.

Step 4.

Now it is time to apply the spray paint. Place the dry screen on the plastic bag. Take up the spray can and shake it before you start spraying the screen. Hold the can about one foot off the screen while applying the paint. Give it time to dry and place it back on the fireplace.


The question, if a fireplace screen is necessary, is a personal decision on how safe you want your home. From the information above, you can see the screen is not a must to have, but it keeps your home safe and your children at a safe distance. The screen will also make your home look lovely. It will try to control the amount of heat in your home.

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