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Fireplace Glass Door FAQs

About Fireplace Glass Doors

Why add glass doors to a fireplace? Do fireplace doors increase efficiency, save energy, reduce smoke? Get the answers to your burning questions about installing fireplace doors here.

How Do Fireplace Doors Improve the Efficiency of a Fireplace?

Fireplaces are notoriously inefficient, which is the main reason people add glass doors. The average fireplace creates a draft that draws about 1,500% more air up the chimney than is necessary to actually burn the wood. Basically, a fireplace gets rid of your hot air and sucks cold air in from outside your home to replace it. The radiant heat from the fire may make the room feel warmer, but the rest of your home will either get cold or your furnace will work much harder to keep it warm. Burning a fire with the doors closed will dramatically reduce this drafting cycle and improve the overall efficiency of your home. Not all glass doors can be burned closed, so be sure to ask which ones can if this is an issue you wish to resolve.

The most energy savings may be gained by simply closing your fireplace doors as the fire starts to die out. Not only is this the safest way to retire your fire and reduce smoke, it also helps trap the heat in your home and reduce those nasty cold drafts that come down the chimney. If you go to bed before your fire dies you end up leaving your damper open, which is like leaving a window wide open all night in the dead of winter. Just close the glass doors and you can retire comfortably knowing your fire is safe and your furnace will not have to keep running all night.

Can Fireplace Doors Reduce Smoke?

A fire smokes the most when it is just getting started or dying out. When starting a fire, you can close the doors and open the bottom vent to get the fire going and reduce smoke. When your fire is dying out, you can close the doors to reduce smoke and keep the heat in your home. With that said, some fireplaces smoke worse than others because they are poorly designed and just don't draft well. Reducing the size of the opening with a custom designed fireplace door is usually a good way to improve the draft. We can custom make the width of the door frame material to whatever size we want, which effectually alters the size of the opening, which can have a dramatic improvement in the draft. If your fireplace smokes, Email Us Pictures Of Your Fireplace along dimensions and we'll make some recommendations.

Rock Fireplaces:

If you have an irregular stone facing, you may not be able to overlap the opening of the fireplace in the same manner as you would if the fireplace was faced with brick or tile. In most cases, stone fireplaces require that the door frame be custom made to fit inside the opening. Once the frame is installed, the gaps between the stone and the frame must be filled with mortar. Read more here: Glass Doors for Rock Fireplaces.


Multi-Sided Fireplaces:

Multi-Sided Fireplace Doors

If your fireplace is shaped like an "L" or "U" you will certainly need custom made glass doors. Measuring for these will be difficult if you do not know what to look for. Each style of custom doors has it's own parameters that need to be taken into account when measuring, such as the depth of the sub-frame, the minimum and maximum amount of overlap the frame can accommodate, and the position of any post that may be supporting your fireplace at each corner. So if you have this type of fireplace, you can be sure our experts are going to require you to email us some pictures so that we can tell you exactly how to measure. Once we see your pictures, we will make it very clear and easy for you to know to do. Read more about: Emailing Us Your Fireplace Pictures.


Tile and Marble Fireplace Facings:

Fireplaces that are faced with tile or marble are usually the easiest to measure because they are usually quite square. But there are special considerations that must be taken into account for depending on how you want the doors installed. We recommend doors that have a narrow frame or "cutback" frame that will leave as much of your beautiful marble showing rather than covering it up. Such doors must be custom made to tight tolerances, but will look the best. If you want the doors to fit inside the opening, you must leave enough room for the door frame to expand from the heat of the fire. If the doors fit too tight, it is possible that heat expansion can cause the marble to crack or chip on the edges. Our experts will make some great recommendations if you email us some pictures of your fireplace.


Arched Fireplaces:

Any fireplace that has an arched opening will require a template from which to have your doors custom made. Fortunately, we have done so many of these for our Internet customers that we have the process down to a science. The first step is always to send us some pictures of your fireplace so that we can walk you through the process of making a template of your fireplace. Typically, (but not always) his is done by placing a piece of cardboard against the fireplace opening with a hole cut into it large enough for you to reach inside and trace the shape of the fireplace onto the back side of the cardboard. Once the line is drawn, you will need to check the measurements of the line compared to the actual measurements of the fireplace to see if you have drawn the line accurately. At this point, it is a good idea to actually cut out the pattern to see how it fits. Again, our experts will walk you through this process after having looked at your pictures.

Unusual Fireplaces:

If your fireplace is raised up in the wall, or the hearth inside is higher than the actual opening, or the side walls inside taper back at a dramatic angle...or say you have a lip of bricks that sticks out across the top of the opening, or rows of bricks on each side that project out further than the top...or...well, we could go on and on about the various ways a mason designs a fireplace. The bottom line is, every fireplace is different and should to be looked at by a fireplace door expert before you order anything. So...again, we recommend that you send us some pictures and let us take it from there. We've seen so many thousands of fireplaces that it only takes us a second or two to identify the limitations of your fireplace and make our recommendations to you.


How to measure for fireplace doors:

In some cases we might ask you to fill out a Measuring Guide. However, in most cases, we will look a pictures of your fireplace and ask you for measurements that are tailored to your specific fireplace. Before we process any orders, we will ask for a final email confirmation of your measurements as we interpret them along with other specific details for your doors. Read more: How To Measure Your Fireplace For Glass Doors.


Getting Your Fireplace Doors Installed:

Installing fireplace doors for the most part is a simple do-it-yourself project. The typical installation requires a hammer, screwdriver, and power drill with a masonry drill bit and possibly a metal drill bit. Here is a link to some videos about: Installing Fireplace Doors.


Installing Masonry Fireplace Doors

In most cases, there are brackets that project into the fireplace opening that are positioned on the back side of the fireplace door frame. These brackets are held in place with screws that are screwed into expansion anchors that you insert into holes drilled into the firebrick on side walls and or bottom of the inside of the fireplace. In some cases these brackets are located in fixed positions at the top and bottom or sides of the door frame, in others, they can be positioned wherever you want. The brackets are designed to be bent to conform to the tapered shape of a masonry fireplace, or to get around the facing material if it is narrower than the actual inside. The actual hardware will vary between door brands and models, but the installation is pretty much the same concept. Regardless, the brackets will ultimately get attached to the firebrick inside the fireplace either on the sides or top and bottom. With some doors, there are brackets that are designed to attach to the steel lintel bar across the top of the opening. These may require holes to be drilled through the hardened steel, however, in some cases there are clamps supplied that eliminate the drilling.

Locating where to install the brackets: Before the brackets can be attached to the inside of the fireplace, anchors must be installed, so you need to determine where to install them. To do this, normally you would go ahead and attach the brackets to the back side of the door frame. The door frame is then pushed up to the fireplace opening so that you can determine how to bend the brackets if necessary, and mark the location where they hit the sidewall of the fireplace so that you can drill the holes for the anchors. You will find that the brackets have slots in them rather than holes, so you are not so limited as to where you must drill the holes. Anywhere along the slot is sufficient.

Once the holes have been drilled and the anchors put in place, the door frame is placed against the fireplace opening again and screws are inserted through the brackets and tightened down into the expanding anchors to hold the door frame firmly in place.


Installing Prefab ZC Fireplace Doors

Prefabricated fireplaces are normally easier to deal with because there are just 4 brackets that need to get screwed into the inside metal frame of the fireplace. In some cases, several sizes and shapes of brackets may be supplied from the manufacturer in order to make your job easier. In other cases, the brackets won't work at all and you might end up just driving some screws through the actual door frame into the metal face of your fireplace. Again, if you need help, we are here to make your life easier...but you can expect that we will ask you to send us a picture of your fireplace so we can see what the deal is.


Installing Doors on a Rock Fireplace

Rock fireplaces may require a bit more effort than other fireplaces because the installation typically requires that the frame be mortared into the fireplace opening. We are experts at this type of application and have several installers on staff who have done many of these installations. Since this type of installation is a bit more involved, we have devoted an entire page that goes in to great detail about: How to Measure and Install Glass Doors on Rock Fireplaces.

This is pretty much all there is to installing most glass doors. However, there are so many variables with fireplaces that you may need some advice from a us. So we have experts on staff who have performed thousands of installations who can always come up with ways to help you if you have something unusual.

Stock Size Fireplace Doors

Stock size fireplace glass doors are designed to overlap a rectangular fireplace opening that is a flat surface such as brick, marble or tile. If your fireplace has protrusions such as a ledge overhanging the opening or columns that project further on the sides than at the top, you most likely will not be able to use stock size doors the way they were intended, so you will need to have your fireplace doors custom made (which is our specialty).

Other Important Notes:

Our glass door pages are meant to give you a ballpark idea of what each fireplace door will cost. Because most doors are custom made, there are too many options and to include on our website, so if you have something unusual or want something other than what you see on our website, please give us a call. You must speak to one of our glass door experts to clarify that the glass doors you have selected are appropriate for your application and to get a final price quote.

We also recommend that you email us pictures of your fireplace along with your dimensions so that our experts can examine your fireplace to determine if there are any unusual circumstances that must be taken into consideration.

It is critical that you determine the correct dimensions and type of fireplace that you have before you order glass doors to cover the opening.

Because our fireplace doors are custom made, we cannot accept returns. So it is important to measure correctly. One of the main reasons we want to see your fireplace pictures is to help you measure correctly and avoid common mistakes.

If you cannot find what you like, please call us and one of our glass door experts will be happy to offer you more options and possibly email you pictures of items not shown on our web site.