Fireplace Screens: Safety and Beauty With Wood Burning or Gas Log Fireplaces, Vented and Ventless

Fireplace screens are beautiful accessories to enhance safety in wood burning and gas log fireplaces

Fireplace screens are some of the most useful and beautiful fireplace accessories available and can often include fire tools like a poker, tongs and clamps as a part of the fire-screen design. A fireplace is very often the focal point of any room it graces and the gentle warmth of the fireplace, flickering light and aromatic smoke are part of the attraction. However, gas log wood burning fireplaces also house an open flame and certain safety precautions are necessary to keep sparks contained within the fireplace and to keep young fingers and inquisitive pets safely away from heat.

Fireplace screens can serve as spark arrestors for the wood burning fireplace and as decorative items or they can help protect a hearth floor area from rolling logs moving around as flames burn off a wood stack in the case of sturdier types of screens. Most screens are made of metal such as brass or more commonly wrought iron or steel. Since fireplace screens are subjected to the full heat of the fireplace they must be made of durable materials.

Perhaps the most common type of fireplace screen is the mesh spark arrestor made of finely wrought interlinked chains, which are hung from a rod suspended from the lintel inside the fireplace opening. The screens can be drawn shut like a curtain when needed or opened when the fireplace is not in use. While these screens will not stop a rolling log they will protect areas outside the hearth from flying sparks from popping wood sap. One of the greatest advantages to mesh screens is that they require no extra space or braces and do not extend past the flush face of the fireplace.

Another very common type of fireplace screen is made of iron, brass or steel and mounts in front of or on the hearth free-standing in front of the firebox. These fireplace screens can be a simple flat screen, might be free standing on leg-brackets and could be the more common three-sided screen. Three-sided screens have a center section that spans the width of the fireplace. The two sides are hinged to turn at a thirty to forty-five degree angle thus holding the screen plum straight up. The fireplace screen can have fireplace tools, candles and all manner of artistic décor built into the design.

The flat screen fire-screen can be made of one, two, three or four panels. It might fold up neatly when not in use or may be so aesthetically pleasing that hiding it is undesirable. While a fire-screen serves a clearly defined use-value when used in conjunction with a wood-burning fireplace most homeowners who own gas log fireplaces also use fire-screens. The fire-screen serves as an obstruction to children and pets but is often purchased for its decorative qualities.

Fitting a fireplace screen such as the flat panel variety may be relatively easy, as they are not designed to fit flush to the fireplace and can easily over-lap the fireplace width and still look attractive and serve the function of containing sparks on one side and fingers on the other.

Not all older brick or cement fireplaces are of a consistent size because most of these fireplaces are built on site as custom designs. While newer fireplace designs are fitted around a standardized firebox, older fireplaces were built custom on site. Newer fireplaces that are customized inside the home use a steel firebox with insulation, heat shields and fire brick already installed. The fire box can be built into a mantle or into a wall of the home with little to no safety features necessary for full functionality. Even ventless gas fireplace fire boxes come with a spark arrestor curtain, chain-mail screen to add to the illusion of a wood burning fireplace with the convenience of a gas log installation and remote control use.

Custom fireplaces will have inconsistencies in width, height and fireplace depth. While fireplace screens are produced in standardized sizes, not all fireplaces will be that exact and the fire-screen may over-shoot the size. Spark arrestor curtains can be custom made for specific rods to fit inside any custom fireplace opening but free standing fireplace screens are available in standard finished and colors.

When selecting a fireplace screen most often the room décor, and style and fitting the size of the fireplace are primary considerations. A fireplace screen can be as ornate or as simple as the style of the room dictates. A fireplace screen can add to the beauty of a room while assuring that the unprotected floor or carpeting is safe from flying sparks and the fire itself kept apart from curious pets and small children.