What Size Should My Fireplace Grate Be?

Deep down each of us wants to return to a more rustic way of living. But we don’t want to give up our modern conveniences either. One way to solve this conundrum is by installing a fireplace in your home and buying a grate for it.

Fireplace grates make it easier to light fires. The quality of the fire also improves when you use a grate.

But choosing a grate for your fireplace takes some analysis. Most importantly, you must factor in the size of your new fireplace grate before making the purchase. Let’s investigate this issue further.

Why The Size of Your Fireplace Grate Matters

Fireplaces come in different sizes. And that’s why it’s important to measure your fireplace before you buy a new grate for it. The grate needs to fit in the fireplace perfectly – not too big, and not too small.

You see, when the grate is much smaller than the fireplace, the vast space surrounding it on all sides will cause your logs to burn too rapidly. That’s because of all the air coming in to fan the flame. Oxygen aids combustion, which is why fire can’t burn in a vacuum. The more air the blaze receives, the faster it will combust.

Secondly, the extra space will interfere with the movement of smoke. Instead of the smoke flowing upwards through the chimney, it will disperse in the direction of the room, causing significant discomfort for you and your family.

Conversely, a fireplace grate that is too big won’t fit. You are advised to leave a three-inch allowance on all sides between the grate and the walls of the fireplace. The main reason for this precaution is to provide protection for the tile, brick, concrete, stone, or whatever material was used to construct fireplace.

Measuring Your Fireplace

You will need a tape measure, a pen, a piece of paper, and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. The tape measure for measurement; pen and paper for jotting down the dimensions; and the clothes because you might get soot and dirt on them.

Follow these steps:

>Step One: Measure the front and back widths of the fireplace

Use the tape measure to get the measurements of front and back width. For some fireplaces, the two widths will be the same, but most fireplaces have a tapering shape. Consequently, the back width is smaller than the front width.

>Step Two: Measure the depth of the fireplace

The depth is the length from the back of the fireplace to the front. Jot down these dimensions on a piece of paper.

Though not as important, you should also measure the height of the fireplace.

>Step Three: Subtract six inches from the dimensions

As I mentioned earlier, you should leave a three-inch clearance on all sides of the fireplace grate to protect the walls of the fireplace from the heat of the fire.

So, subtract six inches from the smaller of the two widths and jot down the answer. Repeat the same with the depth.

>Step Four: Choose the grate most suitable for your fireplace

Your new fireplace grate should not exceed the dimensions you have arrived at from measuring your fireplace. With three-inch allowance on all sides, your grate will enable air to circulate properly. So the heat of the fire will easily flow back into the room, the smoke will go up the chimney, and your tiles will be protected from the extreme heat.

Pro tip: The best fireplace grates also have a three-inch allowance underneath. So look for a fireplace grate whose legs are at least 3 inches high.

Additional options

If you have a large fireplace, and the grates available seem too small for it, you can get one of those grates that allow you to adjust the size. They are also helpful when you want to make a bigger or smaller fire.

You could also choose one of those models that hold the embers against the fireplace’s back wall rather than the middle. With these fireplace grates, height is one of the most critical dimensions. So when you measure the fireplace, ensure you include the height.

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