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Fireplace Safety and Codes

Fireplace Safety

When you've been in the fireplace business as long as we have, you can easily spot fireplace safety hazards. Safety hazards can range from the wrong type of pipe used to vent the fireplace, to the wrong type of facing around it.  And the causes for fireplace hazards could be one of many things. Perhaps the builder installing the fireplace cut some corners, or the homeowner before you decided to renovate it himself, or it could be the house is old and time has taken it's toll.  Whatever the cause may be, it is imperative that you spot these hazards and fix them for the safety of your home and your family.

We highly recommend you have a certified professional come out and check your fireplace and chimney if you've never had it done. A professional from your area would know all of the local codes that you are required to meet, as well as the national ones. The codes are a set of safety standards that everyone with a fireplace needs to follow in order to have a fireplace. Codes can change over time, and there may need to be some changes you need to make to your fireplace to keep your home up to code.

Click on the photos below to see some big "no-no's" for fireplace renovations.

Customer removed louvers and made fireplace unsafe

Never Remove the Louvers

This homeowner wanted to update the look of his pre-fab fireplace, so he removed the front metal facing with the louvers.  Unfortunately, by doing this you ruin the integrity of the fireplace.  Many times the front metal piece of a zero clearance fireplace is what holds the weight of the fireplace, keeping the firebox in place.  The louvers are also there to protect you from over heating and from flammable items getting into areas of the fireplace where they could combust. 
The homeowner had already disposed of the front piece that he took off, so he was required to replace the entire fireplace before using it. 

Updating fireplace with 2x4's too close to the flames - safety hazard.

Stick With Metal Studs

This homeowner gave his fireplace a beautiful new surround.  The ledgestone looks amazing, unfortunately, he framed around the front of his fireplace with 2x4's.  Being as they are wood, they are highly combustible and cannot be within 6-12 inches of the front of the fireplace.  All of this hard work in creating a very beautiful looking fireplace surround ended up with the homeowner either having to take it down and reframe it with metal studs, or not using the fireplace anymore.

Homeowner put drywall up around the front of his fireplace

Drywall + Fireplace = House Fire

This homeowner renovated his fireplace and put sheetrock or drywall up around the front of his fireplace.  Unfortunately, this is highly flammable, and is not an appropriate or safe fireplace surround.  The sheetrock had to be removed and replaced with any type of non-combustible surround - stone, tile, marble, or metal.  



Last updated on July 1st 2019.