Fireplaces have been in existence for centuries. While they started from a necessity to keep homes warm during the chill of winter, they also served as cooking stations where Dutch ovens would be used for making delicious broths and beverage brews such as teas. With the coming of electricity, electric and gas cookers as well as central heating, over time, fireplaces have ceased to be a cooking spot and primary source of heating.
That said, fireplaces still hold a special place in the home. Today, they are more of décor fixtures that infuse the tradition of days gone by. In essence, they are more decorative than they are a necessity. That is not to say that they are no longer practical or useful. They still hold great aesthetic value and do an excellent job of creating ambiance in homes.
Fireplaces are also practical in that they now serve as a supplemental source of zone heating in homes which helps reduce the cost of heating. As such fireplaces raise the value of a home even in this present age. Open fireplaces can be hazardous to animals and kids. As such accessories such as fire screens have become common placed as they act as a barrier to the flames and heat.
A more effective solution that is aesthetically pleasing and practical is incorporating glass doors to your fireplace set up. Glass not only acts as an effective screen but also looks amazing and does not take away from the beauty of a burning fire as the flames, logs and burning embers can be seen clearly through the glass.
The Best Type of Glass to be Used for Fireplace Doors
When it comes to fireplace doors, a frequently asked question is whether one can use normal ordinary glass to fashion glass doors for the fireplace. The answer is a resounding NO!
Why is that? It is because the temperatures in a hearth can rise quite high, enough to shatter a normal glass panel in minutes.
Ordinary glass breaks at about 6,000 pounds per square inch (PSI) and therefore will no doubt shatter when exposed to the mounting heat of a burning fireplace.
A glass type that fares far much better than ordinary glass and can withstand high temperatures is tempered glass. Tempered glass can withstand up to 24,000 PSI. This means that tempered glass can stand up to four times the amount of heat intensity compared to normal glass.
The tempering process for glass is very much similar to that used in tempering materials such as cast iron and steel. Ordinary glass is heated at high temperatures of above 600 degrees and then quenched. Quenching is the rapid cooling of glass using specialized nozzles aimed at a hot glass panel from different angles. The resulting glass from the process is a reinforced glass panel that is way stronger and can withstand high pressure or heat.
While tempered glass is better than ordinary glass panels in terms of tolerating heat, it may work for fireplace doors in fireplaces that do not generate a lot of heat. Wood burning fireplaces as well as some gas fireplaces can produce intense heat that even-tempered glass may fail to stand up to.
A type of glass that has excellent heat-resisting features and is superior to tempered glass is known as Ceramic glass.
Ceramic glass is the best option for making fireplace glass doors because it can withstand temperatures of up to 1400 degrees.
The chances of ceramic glass doors shattering due to exposure to heat in your fireplace are close to zero.
In truth, ceramic is not real glass; however transparent ceramic does look like glass and has come to be referred to as ceramic glass. The reason why Ceramic glass looks so much like glass is that is because it is made from the same raw materials like glass.
However, ceramic glass is stronger because the manufacturing process slightly differs from the way glass is made. The two-step process introduces a special nucleating agent that promotes crystallization in the raw glass-making material and the resulting ceramic panel is a material that has glass-like properties such as transparency but with a higher heat-resistant threshold capability of ceramic.
How to Choose the Right Glass for Your Fireplace Glass Door
Normal glass should never be an option for fireplace doors. That material is hazardous in the face of intense heat and therefore should be avoided.
Tempered glass on the other hand will often suffice for making fireplace glass doors for fireplaces that do not produce overly intense heat.
Tempered glass is also relatively affordable and a good choice when working with a tight budget. That said, you should keep safety as the paramount objective of your purchase. However, when you feel that you need superior temperature resistance and safety from fireplace glass door shattering or exploding, ceramic glass is your best bet.
In terms of safety and superior performance for fireplace glass doors, it’s hard to go wrong with Ceramic glass.
What to consider when choosing between tempered glass and ceramic glass for your fireplace glass doors.
- The intensity of heat produced by your fireplace
Heat appliances in the home are rated using SI unit BTU also known as British Thermal Unit. If your fireplace produces heat upwards of 18,000 BTU, then the fireplace doors to install will need to be made from ceramic glass.
- Fireplace type and design
Other than the heat output of your fireplace, the fireplace type such as whether you have a zero clearance fireplace or other design and shape will help guide you toward the best option of fireplace glass doors to install. The size of your fireplace may also play a role in whether to go with tempered or ceramic glass doors.
Irrespective of which fireplace you have in your home, normal glass is NOT an option for fireplace doors. Tempered glass is a better option but only to a degree contingent on the fire rating of your fireplace. Ceramic glass is a sure bet any time and presents the best safety standard when it comes to glass fireplace doors.