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There are essentially three key elements to designing a fireplace. These include the hearth, the firebox and the type of opening that is employed between the firebox and the room in which the fireplace is located. We will go over each of them in greater detail, so that you’ll have some of the basic knowledge required to properly design a fireplace.

A hearth could be flush with the flooring, raised a bit above the floor, or sunk down lower than the floor. Often times, there may be no hearth to speak of at all. In these cases the firebox likely would be relocated a couple inches higher than the flooring, as the hearth is what helps protect the floor from the intense heat that the fire can produce. Hearth seats of various types are also available. The more contemporary type of fireplace utilizing hearth seats feature two blocks on either side of the opening of the firebox.

Complimenting the different types of fireplace hearths, the styles of fireboxes usually affect the height relative to the floor and / or hearth. You’ll find raised fireboxes, flush fireboxes that are the same height as the floor, and there are dropped fireboxes that are built in below than the hearth and / or floor in front of the fireplace.

Finally, we have fireplace openings - which is otherwise known as the fire place surround and where the mantle can be found. The styles of this opening may vary quite a bit; from straight, flat rectangular and full arch along with the more common u-shaped fire place opening. We’ll go over some of the divergences at this time:

  • The most frequently used kind of fireplace opening is rectangular designed openings. Generally, this type of opening will be just that – rectangular in shape. However, even with this style of openings, the sides typically taper towards the firebox from the outside face of the fireplace.
  • Flat arched fire place openings, with straight sides, although the opening has an arch design. As with the traditional rectangular shaped openings, the sides usually open outward from the fire box toward the face of the fireplace.
  • Full arch fireplace openings without straight lines. This kind of opening have one continuous shape around fire place opening. This is the type of opening you are used to seeing in American Southwestern designed fireplaces.
  • Fireplaces with corner style openings allow for there to be a couple sides open to the fireplace. Just as the name indicates, corner openings are built in a manner allowing for an full corner side of the firebox to be exposed.
  • U-shaped openings where the firebox is open on a total of three sides: the face, as well as the two side areas. These last couple designs of fireplaces will broadly output better CFM of heating. If you’ll be planning on heating your living room, these are likely the best fireplace openings to look at.

Obviously, they’re quite a lot of various types of configurations of fireplaces. Of course there are pros and cons with each of them, therefore take your time when choosing the firebox, hearth and opening of the fireplace. By choosing the proper combination, you can not only improve the warmth of your house, you’ll also make your living room much more comfortable in both the summer and winter months.

One Response to “How To Design A Fireplace”

  1. I agree!

    Posted by: Mike West on on March 4th, 2009 at 3:57 pm.