How to Measure and Install Glass Doors on a Rock Fireplace
Step 1 - Before Picture
We suggest that you take a picture of your fireplace and send it to us once you have placed your order so that we can see what you are up against and offer you the best advise.
Step 2 - Preliminary Planning
Take a close look at your fireplace. Normally you will find that the stones are somewhat even. However, in our example, there are 2 stones that are dramatically different than the rest. These stones will need to be broken down a bit with a hammer and chisel so that our frame will fit more naturally into the opening.
Step 3 - Make a template and Measuring
The best way to determine the overall size that you want to make your doors to is to measure the narrowest dimensions between the stones and then cut a piece of cardboard in a rectangle slightly smaller than those dimensions.
Don't try to cut the cardboard the shape of the stones. What we need to know is the actual "rectangular" dimension that the door frame needs to be made to.
This cardboard should fit loosely leaving about 1/4" to 1/2" between the narrowest points. Notice above that we ignored the 2 unusual stones when we made the template because we will be chiseling these stones down a bit.
We do not need you to send us the template if it is a rectangular fireplace opening. We just suggest that you go through this exercise in order to determine the overall finished size that you need the frame made to...
For arched openings, we will need the template and your template should reflect the overall outside size and shape that you want the frame made to. This is important, because these doors must be custom made and we can't take them back if they don't fit based on your measurements.
Custom doors like these take up to 10 weeks to order...so the next step is to sit back and wait a couple months or so.
Step 4 - Chisel large protruding stones
The picture above shows the opening after the 2 larger stones have been chiseled away. Most applications don't need chiseling, but these ones obviously were in the way and had to go. It's best to wait for your doors to arrive before you do any chiseling since you can use the frame to test and see what really needs to be done...although your cardboard template can suffice as well.
Step 5 - Installing door frame
Center the door frame as good as possible. Install it using the hardware that comes with it. Make sure that the frame is plumb and square. The best way to do this is with a level on the face of the frame.
It is also very important to test the action of the doors themselves as they may need adjustments that cannot be done once you have mortared in the frame.
Notice that the gaps between the frame and the rocks appear to be large and at first will not look good to the eye. Don't worry, once you fill in the gaps with mortar, it will look just like the stone was built around your frame.
Notice the size of the mortar joints between the stones on the fireplace itself and you will see that the gaps between the door and the rock are not much wider, and in most cases are just like the rest of the fireplace.
Step 6 - Mortaring in the frame
Your almost done...now, simply mask everything off and then mix up some mortar and hand pack it into the empty spaces. You may need to reinforce the mortar with a wire mesh backing in cases where gaps are really large. A quick setting mortar with a little sand in it is excellent for this application.
Matching the mortar of your existing fireplace is usually pretty easy to do since most mortar is gray in color. However, if your fireplace has a lot of soot around the opening, you will either want to clean what's there or simply smudge soot on your new mortar joints after it's dry.
The picture above is computer generated and we made the mortar joint a different color and texture so that you could see it better.
Step 7 - Send us a picture of your installation
Once you are finished, send us a picture of your installation so that we can post it on our website as an example. The example that we presented here was all done by computer imaging...we would like to have real before and after photos from our customers...
Sit back and enjoy your new fireplace doors!
When treating a rock or stone fireplace with a glass enclosure, don't let your local hardware store talk you into purchasing one that is mass produced to fit on the outside of your fireplace. It won't fit flush and will look like an afterthought when it is installed. On top of that It will detract from the natural beauty of the stone.
The customer who purchased the glass doors pictured in the above picture had a very custom "Medieval" look in his homes architecture and decor. He did not want to have glass doors for the fireplace, but unfortunately local codes required it.
After shopping around he was upset and frustrated because everywhere he went, all that was offered were glass doors that would destroy the look that he was trying to create...that is, until he found found us.
We designed a very rustic looking glass door that not only fit the shape of his fireplace, but added to the overall decorative appeal he was trying to acheive. As you go back and look at the many custom options that we have for glass doors, you will find that we can do this for any style for fireplace.
We custom make doors that fit inside the opening and can tell you how to install it with mortar so that it looks like you built the rock around the door. If you cannot do the installation, you can certainly find a local mason who will know what to do.
Knowing what size to make the door is a simple matter of cutting a "rectangular" piece of cardboard that will fit inside the opening leaving about a 1/4" to 1/2" gap between the narrowest points. Make sure that the cardboard does not drop below the hearth, otherwise the doors will not open.
If there are any stones that protrude much further than the rest of the stones, you will want to chisel these ones down with a sledge hammer and chisel to a point to where the mortar joint between the door frame and the stone appears natural.
The computer generated example to the left will visually take you through the major points of the process.
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