Glass Vs. Metal, Which is Better for Fireplace Screens?

Can You Use Normal Glass in a Fireplace

Thousands of homeowners suffer from unexpected property damage and injuries as a result of fires every year. Such fires have many sources ranging from electrical faults, gas leaks to errant smoldering embers and sparks that accidentally leap from crackling logs and land on a rug, carpet, or wooden floor.

A fireplace does conjure an enchanting ambiance while keeping your house warm. However, an open fireplace can also be a fire hazard. To increase fireplace safety, a fireplace screen is a good idea. Fire screens today are decorative and stylish. Not only do they act as an effective barrier in arresting sparks and ash, but they also serve to complement the existing décor.

Two common types of fire screens you will come across are glass screens and metal screens.

Is one better than the other? Which one should settle for?

These are all pertinent questions for anyone considering getting a protective screen for the fireplace. So let get started and see if one screen type can outperform the other in the following categories.


Glass screens are commonly used in log, natural gas, and propane-fueled fireplaces. These screens are highly efficient in keeping your space warm when the fire is blazing and dying down.

Depending on the design of your fireplace, a glass screen can be installed on hinges so that it covers the fireplace tightly and neatly. Such designs will sometimes tend to have an access door with a knob. When the fire is on, the access door needs to be slightly open to allow enough air necessary for the fire to keep going.

Such a design is fairly effective in limiting the amount of smoke that makes its way into your space. A glass screen is also very effective in preventing ash and flying embers from getting away from the fireplace area. Such a design is also more effective in retaining heat when the fire is slowly dying down and helps keep the room warmer for longer even as the fire wanes. Glass is also a material that has good heat dispersing ability.

Some glass screen designs are free-standing with a sturdy base often made from metal or aluminum and therefore do not need to be hung. Such designs have enough space on the sides to allow adequate movement of air necessary to keep a fire going, and the entire unit can be moved with fair ease if needed.

Metal fireplace screens are often in the form of a mesh. The framing of such designs is metal, and they are therefore very sturdy. The mesh curtain on the screen is usually painted over for rust-proofing. Paint is sufficient for rust-proofing a metal screen to be used in indoor fireplaces. For outdoor fireplaces, a powder-coated finish is most recommended as it’s hardier for the harsher outdoor environment.

Metal screens can also come in a design that can be hung on the fireplace hearth and function as a door, the design can also be free-standing. They make excellent screens for a wood fireplace because they are tough and do an excellent job of keeping errant burning embers and ash within the fireplace. They allow heat from the fireplace to freely pour into your space and facilitate the room getting warmer quicker while acting as a protective screen for kids and pets.

Both glass and metal screens can be used with wood-fueled fireplaces as well as those fueled by gas.

Ease of maintenance

When a glass screen is being used on a gas-powered fireplace, maintenance is easy because there is no smoke and ash. A thorough wipe keeps your glass clean and the flames visible. The same is true for metal screens being used on a gas fireplace.

Glass Vs. Metal, Which is Better for Fireplace Screens

However, in the case of wood-fueled fireplaces, glass screens will have a fair amount of maintenance such as frequent cleaning. Glass screens are easier to clean than a metal screen when used on wood-fueled fireplaces. Mesh screens, when dirty with ash and smoke, can be more challenging to keep clean and tidy.

There is zero chance of rust with a glass screen. The likelihood of metal getting rust is high. But that is fixable by painting the unit after some time. To prevent the chances of rust in the long term, getting a metal screen with a powder-coated finish is the best way to mitigate the rust problem.

No matter how tough tempered glass is, there is always a chance of breakage. The toughness and longevity of metal screens is unparalleled.


Installing a glass screen offers a smooth, fluid, and clean aesthetic that will have your fireplace looking great. While tempered glass is tough, it can be crafted in numerous colors for a gorgeous look.

For the home looking to add some contemporary elegant flair to the décor, then a glass screen for the fireplace is a good choice.

A home looking for a more rustic approach, a metal fireplace screen is perfect.

Metal screens can be made from wrought iron with exquisite designs and patterns that capture a delightful traditional charm. They can also be painted in many choice colors to suit and complement most decors.


When it comes to choosing between glass or metal screens, it never really is a case of one against the other.

It is more a question of what kind of fireplace you have, your protective needs, and the sort of aesthetic you want to go with for your décor.

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