Did you know that installing fireplace mantel shelves or surrounds without adequate clearance from the fireplace opening can be a dangerous fire hazard? It can lead to damage and injury, or worse. Most applications (wood-burning, gas fueled, or electric) radiate heat from the front of the firebox, along the sides, up above the fireplace opening, and even down toward the hearth and floor area. Because of this, your mantel surround or shelf must be placed a safe distance away from the firebox. A non-combustible material (tile, marble, stone, concrete, etc.) is also required to be installed between the fireplace opening and your mantel.
Many fireplace mantel shelves and surrounds are built from wood. As you can imagine, this material is combustible, so it is very important that the appropriate clearance is enforced and maintained. Since fire and building codes vary from state to state and town to town, it is the homeowner's responsibility to check on these ordinances prior to installation. These regulations are in place to protect life and property, and to avoid creating unsafe situations that result in a fire. In the absence of codes, the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) highly recommends following the guidelines set by the National Fire Code and/or the National/Standard Building Codes.
Fireplace Doors Online puts the safety of our customers first, and we're here to give you a heads up on the fireplace mantel clearance to combustibles issue so that you can enjoy your fireplace risk-free!
Improper installation of a mantel surround or shelf can lead to personal injury or property damage. Play it safe by reading and adhering to all safety and fire clearance codes and/or manufacturer's instructions.