Long before electricity and gas came along, houses were primarily heated through a hearth. In the old days, a fireplace would serve as a cooking area for meals and the fire would also warm the homes. The old charm of a fireplace has found its way into modern homes for both aesthetic and practical reasons.
With the many materials available today, fireplaces are made in exquisite design and materials that help add beauty and character to modern homes. A marked difference in modern fireplaces in comparison to the old ones lies in the numerous fuel options suitable to all types of homes including apartments.
Today a fireplace can be powered by propane gas, natural gas, gel, or wood. Nowadays, you also have synthetic electric fireplaces powered by electricity
Traditionally, a fireplace used wood as fuel. As such, it is only natural that you would have sparks, smoke, and burning embers breaking off from burning wood and occasionally jumping out.
For modern homes that have kids and pets, an open fireplace can pose a danger. Besides, since fireplaces in the home are no longer used for cooking, they can be covered with screens that keep sparks and ash well contained within the fire area.
Here is a simple definition of a fireplace screen.
A fireplace screen is a well-designed structure crafted to fit in front or within the fireplace. The primary purpose of a fireplace screen is to prevent ashes and sparks from flying outside the fire area. It provides a safety barrier between the room and the fireplace.
But beyond the apparent practical need of screens, they are also crafted for beauty that adds an aesthetic element to your fireplace.
Wood-burning fireplaces look amazing when the fire is ablaze. But when the fire is out, the fireplace can have a sooty look ridden with ash. This is a sight that you may not want to be exposed.
For that reason, a fireplace screen helps keep that out of view by offering a decorative look and concealing the unsightly remnants of a fire.
It’s important to note that the design of most fire screens will have a base that allows the unit to stand freely on the hearth of the fireplace without being tied to anything.
Numerous high quality materials are used in the making of fire screens today. We shall examine those below.
The rule of thumb when shopping for a fireplace screen is to pay close attention to the material used in the construction of the screen.
The materials used must have the ability to withstand high temperatures as they will be placed quite close to the fire. This means that the use of plastic and wood or any other combustible material that will melt or burn in the face of heat should not be considered.
A high quality fire screen will often come in a metallic frame that holds firm. Other than heating up, metal is a material that does burn or contort when exposed to high levels of heat.
Over and above a metal frame, some fire screens will have further decoration of metallic patterns and designs such as scrolling. These only serve to reinforce the strength and sturdiness of a screen that is predominantly made of iron.
That said, a good metal screen will need some additional materials such as mesh wire.
While metal is strong and mostly unaffected by heat, it is best used for the frames of a screen. The metal can then be linked with a material such as mesh. Meshed screens work amazingly well because the material is comfortable in the face of heat and comes with little openings that allow you to see and take in the beauty of a fire as you can be able to see the flames. Also, the mesh does not impede the warmth of the fire from passing through and warming the room.
Splintering embers, flying sparks of fire as well as any floating ash remains well contained within the fireplace with the help of the mesh. If you are using wood as fuel and the fire has burned out, you can expect the fireplace to still maintain a neat look as the remnants of the fire such as ash and burnt wood are not visible from the outside.
The alternative to metal+mesh is glass.
Transparent tempered glass is used in making fireplace screens because of its see-through nature and ability to resist high-temperature levels. Glass will often be attached to a metal frame to provide sturdiness to the entire screen. Glass is also easy to clean and allows you to take in the beauty of fire while remaining protective of children and pets from venturing too close to the fire.
Tempered glass can be used in wood-burning fireplaces owing to its strength. However, the downside is that that they can get stained by the smoke over time. If your fireplace uses propane or natural gas, a glass screen will work perfectly as these fire sources do not emit smoke.
Why do you need a fireplace screen?
Fireplace screens offer protection for combustible materials located in the room. Such materials can range from carpets, wood flooring, and furniture. A mesh prevents sparks, embers, and ash in the fire area from coming into contact with items.
- Adds to the safety of the home by keeping children or pets out of a fireplace whether the fire is on or off
- A well-chosen screen will complement the existing decor
- Helps maintain a clean look by concealing ash and charcoal when the fire is extinguished
The design of a fireplace screen you opt to settle for is dependent on the shape of your fireplace. Screens can come in many shapes such as rectangle, square, dome, semi-circle, and even triangle. The size of a screen is also dependent on the size of your fireplace.
The materials used in a fire screen are often a mix of metal and glass, or metal and mesh. Other than providing strength, the metal can be powder coated or painted over to prevent rust and add to the decorative look of your fireplace.