Now that you have decided getting a fireplace grate is a good idea that will not only accentuate your fireplace décor, it will also make managing your fire so much easier. However, you must be sure to choose the correct size to suit your hearth.
What is the right size of fireplace grate? Well, when it comes to fireplace cavities, size is relative.
You may have an old-fashioned fireplace that has a massive recess or one that is tapered and shallow. In such cases, it’s best to measure the firebox of your fireplace to determine what grate size will be the best fit.
If your fireplace hearth is small to medium, then you will need smaller sizes that will look good and fit into the firebox without making the area neither look crowded nor impair air circulation. For large fireboxes, you will need a large sized fireplace grate that covers the firebox well.
How to Determine the Right Size of Fireplace Grate for Your Firebox
As a rule of thumb, you want a fireplace grate that is compatible with your fireplace. You want to choose a grate that will conform to the design of your fireplace for the best fit and performance.
When it comes to the size of the fireplace grate, a good rule of thumb to go by is choosing a grate that leaves a minimum of 3” on either side of your firebox. This is imperative because it ensures adequate circulation of air when starting a fire and keeps it going while delivering a quality fire experience.
Whether you are buying a tapered or non-tapered fireplace grate, the general rule on spacing applies. Another consideration that affects the size in terms of your grate’s elevation from the floor is whether you intend to use a gas starter pipe to start your fire. If so, the height of your grate needs to be slightly higher from the floor to accommodate a gas pipe.
For the most part, if you have a standard-sized fireplace whether small, medium, or large, you will be able to find a fireplace grate that fits your firebox and delivers the earlier mentioned rule of thumb on spacing. If your fireplace is unusually large, or unusually small, you always have the choice to have a fireplace grate custom made to suit your unique firebox size.
Whether you are going for a custom-made grate or a ready-made one, you will need to take measurements of your fireplace cavity to settle for the best fitting option.Taking measurements of your hearths recess is always a good idea when shopping for a fireplace grate. Having measurements of your firebox helps you accurately determine whether the grate you are about to buy will fit well into your hearth and ensure good performance.
How to Measure Your Firebox
To determine the right fireplace grate size for your fireplace, you’ll need to take the following measurements:
Measure the front width of the fireplace
Measure the rear width of the fireplace
Measure the depth from the front to the back of the fireplace
If you have a gas pipe, measure the height of the installed gas starter pipe
When you have finished measuring your fireplace, you will subtract 6″ from the front width, rear width, and depth. This ensures that all sides have an allowance of 3” from the walls. The height can be determined to be higher or lower based on whether you have a gas starter pipe installed or simply preference.
These new dimensions will determine your maximum grate size. You should be able to get a ready made fireplace grate size of the measurements that you have come up with. If not, you have the option to have one custom-made for you based on your measurements.
Types of Fireplace Grates
While getting a properly sized fireplace grate is important for top performance and a good fire experience, other factors work in conjunction with the size to offer the best value for money as well as top-notch performance. Given that fireplace grates come in several types, you will want to choose a type that best suits your needs. Fireplace grate types to choose from include the following:
1. Custom made
As we pointed out earlier, having your fireplace grate custom-made is an excellent option that allows you to accommodate unusual fireplace sizes by choosing a depth, width, and height that is most suitable for your firebox. In this option, you can also go ahead to specify the material you want such as cast iron, steel, or stainless steel alongside your preferred shape and bar thickness.
Getting the right sized fireplace grate does not guarantee durability. That’s why, beyond working out the right size you want, the grate should also be able to serve you for a long time to come. For consumers who are tired of getting grates that warp and have a short lifespan, getting a grate rated as lifetime will solve that problem for you once and for all. These are made of heavy duty material and will last you a lifetime if not generations.
3. Ember bed
For consumers who want to experience a longer burn, you will want to get a fireplace grate with an ember retainer. The added steel mesh ensures that the embers are retained and only the ashes fall below offering a hotter burn that lasts the longest. In essence, it ensures that the logs you burn are used efficiently to give you the hottest fire and one that lasts way much longer.
4. Extra tall
An extra tall fireplace grate design works well for a firebox with a gas starter pipe. It offers adequate clearance from the hearth to the logs and also allows for plenty of airflow which in turn facilitates a good burn.
This type of grate is designed with steeper sidebars that allow logs on the periphery to self-feed into the center once those in the center have been spent. This is a great feature because it allows you more time before you need to add logs more logs to the fire.
Choosing the correct size of fireplace grate will mean that your fireplace will have a good look with great symmetry. Beyond the good looks though, a well-sized grate offers high functionality in terms of performance.
Starting your fire is much easier and the unit delivers a good burn and efficient use of logs. The numerous fireplace grate types to choose from, offer a wide range of choices to suit all firebox sizes as well as design and material preferences. Before buying a fireplace grate, be sure to take measurements of your hearth and consider all the other above mention factors that make an excellent grate.