How to Choose Fireplace Doors
As the mercury continues to drop, your fireplace is looking better and better, right? Before you load up on starter logs or switch on the gas, there’s one accessory you should think about: fireplace doors.
Fireplace doors add decorative flair to any room. The many finishing and style options available can complement any home’s atmosphere, whether it’s rustic or modern, trendy or classic. But fireplace doors aren’t just for looks. They add an extra level of safety to your roaring fire and they improve your home’s energy efficiency. For you, that means more peace of mind, a more comfortable in-home climate and lower fuel costs year-round.
It’s a win-win-win—and it’s easy to install, so long as you choose and order the right fireplace door in the first place. Our handy fireplace doors shopping guide will show you how to do exactly that.
FIGURE OUT WHAT TYPE OF FIREPLACE YOU HAVE
One hearth is not like any other. There are two distinct types of fireplaces: masonry and prefabricated. A prefabricated fireplace is also called a zero-clearance fireplace, a manufactured fireplace or a metal fireplace. Which type of fireplace you have will determine the kind of fireplace door you need to purchase.
Why? Because each type of fireplace is built differently
The design and installation of the coordinating fireplace doors reflect those structural differences. If you buy a masonry fireplace door for a prefab fireplace, you won’t be able to install it properly. If you buy a prefabricated fireplace door for a masonry fireplace, it won’t fit.
These two different types of fireplaces also have different safety considerations, too. To understand them, you need to get a basic feel for the structure of your fireplace.
A masonry fireplace is made in your home by a craftsman. Both the firebox and the chimney are made of brick or stone and mortar. These materials insulate your fireplace from the rest of your home.
Prefabricated fireplaces are plug-and-play fireboxes that come straight from an assembly line. They might look like masonry. In fact, some manufacturers are creating excellent prefab look-alikes.
Beyond aesthetics, though, there’s one important difference: A prefabricated fireplace has a metal firebox connected to a metal flue. Air passageways are built around the firebox to keep it cool. The airways can’t be blocked by your fireplace doors. If they are, your house could catch on fire.
How to tell what kind of fireplace you have
How you get your fire started isn’t a sure sign of which type of fireplace it is. You can put gas logs into a masonry fireplace and wood into a prefab fireplace.
To establish what type of fireplace you have, you need to look at the firebox itself as well as the surrounding area.
A masonry fireplace is made entirely of brick, stone and ceramic flue lining. While the chimney might be covered by a different material on the exterior of your house, you’ll probably be able to see some ceramic peeking out at roof-level.
In a prefabricated or zero-clearance fireplace, you’ll be able to see black metal in the surround and interior of the firebox, as well as in the flue. There will also be a label detailing information from the manufacturer.
Of course, the easiest way is to let our experts figure it out for you (for free, of course). All we need are a few clear pictures of your fireplace. You can find directions on sending us fireplace photos here.
SEE IF YOUR FIREPLACE NEEDS A CUSTOM FIREPLACE DOOR
While some front-facing masonry fireplaces with rectangular firebox openings can be matched with a suitable stock fireplace door, most fireplaces—and nearly all prefabricated ones—need a custom-built fireplace door for a perfect fit. A U- or L-shaped fireplace will require a custom door, as well.
Hansen Wholesale works exclusively with Design Specialties fireplace doors. They are made in America and feature the best craftsmanship and customer service we’ve seen in our many years in business. While we do offer a couple of stock options, we recommend you go custom for a tight, safe, stylish fit for your fireplace.
Our experts can usually tell at a glance whether a stock fireplace door option will work in your situation. Send us a few photos and we’ll let you know which avenue is right for you.
ESTABLISH A BUDGET FOR YOUR FIREPLACE DOOR
Considering the style, safety and savings a fireplace door can offer, the investment you’ll make in one is relatively small. Remember that if you buy a top-quality piece with thick-tempered glass and best-in-class hardware and joints, you won’t have to replace it for decades. Some of the fireplace doors we sell at Hansen Wholesale offer lifetime guarantees! It doesn’t get better than that.
Here is our best advice when it comes to setting a budget:
Don’t go with the cheapest fireplace door you can find
If you browse the offerings at your local big box hardware store, you’ll see fireplace doors priced between $200 and $300. We cannot tell you how many letters we’ve received from customers who bought these doors and, for whatever reason, could not install them.
Hardware store employees are not experts in fitting fireplace doors, and standard measurements sometimes don’t account for quirks in masonry. The cheaper options also have thinner glass, which can shatter, and less durable materials, which don’t hold up for years on end. In most cases, you cannot burn a fire with the doors closed whereas with the doors we sell, you can.
Many buyers of these low-end options come to us for a replacement.
At Hansen, our least expensive fireplace door is priced at about $500. Why? Because that’s what good materials and craftsmanship cost. Custom doors start at about $900. Depending on the materials, finishes, designs and features you’re interested in, you can spend upwards of $3,600 on a fireplace door that perfectly fits into your home and lifestyle.
What makes one door more expensive than another?
The cheapest fireplace doors are usually made from bent or stamped sheet metal. Sheet metal that is plated in a brass or antique brass finish will usually tarnish or discolor rapidly, sometimes within the first year of ownership. For this reason, Hansen Wholesale does not sell doors made of sheet metal. Doors like this are normally found at home centers and sell for less than $400.00
Our least expensive custom and stock fireplace doors start at about $500 and are made from aluminum. In fact, our manufacturer invented the first aluminum fireplace door more than 30 years ago! Aluminum is a workhorse. It doesn’t tarnish or rust, but the construction does leave corner seams, which you might not like.
You can upgrade from aluminum to seamless steel or forged iron. Both offer distinctly different looks.
With steel, Design Specialties can use laser technology to custom create the design of your choice. The manufacturing process is also incredibly flexible, making it possible to fit a steel fireplace door to virtually any shape fireplace.
The iron option takes steel to the next level. It offers an incredible antique or rustic texture, which is created by a metalsmith trained in the art of iron forging.
Rectangular fireplaces are easier to cut, craft and assemble. An arched, L- or U-shaped fireplace calls for a pricier custom door.
A larger fireplace needs a larger fireplace door, and larger doors are more expensive than smaller ones.
Fireplace doors are better than fireplace screens because they enclose your fireplace completely. This ensures that stray sparks and ash don’t escape into your home. It also protects curious children from the flames.
While you can have mesh inserted into your doors in place of glass, we recommended you choose tempered glass fireplace doors because they are more energy efficient. The glass keeps cold air from rushing into your home on winter nights when you’ve left the damper open to vent a dying fire. It also ensures that heated and air-conditioned spaces are efficiently climate-controlled because it prevents both hot and cold air from escaping.
Fireplace glass doors are also an additional safety measure and can protect you from flares and fires in your chimney.
If you’re opting for a glass fireplace door, you have a few options to choose from. Picking black, reflective or ceramic glass will increase your bottom line.
We have a huge range of options, from standard doors to rolling barn doors on sliders, scrollwork to window panes. All these design additions can make a huge difference in how your fireplace door fits into your room, but you’ll pay more for them, too.
Type of fireplace
In general, the type of fireplace does not have much impact on the cost of your doors except that aluminum doors for zero clearance fireplaces are a bit less expensive than those for masonry fireplaces and stock aluminum doors for masonry fireplaces are less expensive than custom made doors.
PICK A FIREPLACE DOOR STYLE THAT COMPLEMENTS YOUR HOME
You put a lot of thought into decorating your home. Your fireplace door should fit seamlessly into your style, not stick out like a sore thumb. Whether you’re looking for a door that’s almost invisible or one that’s a piece of art, you can find numerous options to suit your existing decor.
Given the variety of doors we offer and the custom design features you can add, there are thousands of options for you to peruse in our online fireplace door store. We guarantee you’ll find something to suit your home.
Now, it’s time for the fun part! Here are some trendy fireplace door styles to consider:
Sleek and low-profile
This fireplace door is the least noticeable of all our designs. Its nearly flush fit disappears into the background, letting you focus on the flames.
Though classic in its detailing, this fireplace door is hearty and eye-catching. It balances a heavy mantle or a large room beautifully.
Gleaming mirrored glass gives this fireplace door a surprising, futuristic feel. Hidden hinges and a minimal frame finish the look.
Give your living room the look and feel of a chic mountain lodge in the French alps with this modern take on the sliding barn door.
This gorgeously forged iron door design looks straight out of fantasy in all the best ways. This style is the ideal way to add personality to any room.
Go with an arch
If rustic met rock, this is what it would look like. This arched door for masonry fireplaces is perfect for people seeking to add an unexpected edge to their interior. Can be made to fit both arched and rectangular fireplaces.
Nothing rings craftsman more than our craftsman style door.
(Craftsman Fireplace Door)
Want to make a statement? This steel fireplace door features a grape vine with forged iron detailing designed to draw the eye and impress.
CHECK IN WITH A FIREPLACE DOOR EXPERT
If you choose the right fireplace door the first time, it’ll last for years. With due diligence, a high-quality door that perfectly fits your fireplace and suits your home can be a one-time investment. Trust us, you want to get it right.
That’s what we’re here for!
The fireplace door experts at Hansen Wholesale have been helping homeowners select hearth accessories for decades. And since we’ve been online since 1994, we’ve perfected getting just the right fit without needing to interrupt your busy schedule.
Our experts are happy to help you figure out what kind of fireplace you have and how to measure it. Looking for design advice or input on which fireplace door suits your needs and style best? We can help you with that, too. Hansen Wholesale offers a FREE fireplace door design service that will allow you to see how the doors will look on your fireplace before you buy them. Simply email us a picture of your fireplace and our experts will create mockups of the fireplace doors we think will look best.