How you dress up your fireplace ultimately affects the general aesthetics of the room which therefore means that what you put in the bottom of your gas fireplace deserves some bit of consideration.
Gas fireplaces are some of the best options if you’re in the process of choosing the most suitable fireplace for your home.
Because of the many advantages that this kind of fireplace have to offer, their popularity has been increasing, with many home owners looking into gas fireplace insert solutions to enhance the efficiency of their fireplace or entirely updating and switching from wood-burning to a gas-powered fireplace .
Some of the more prominent advantages of a gas fireplace include;
- Gas options are more energy efficient compared to traditional wood-burning fireplaces. Whereas traditional fireplaces burn at 10% – 30% efficiency, gas options depending on type burn at 50%-90% efficiency.
- The convenience of being able to start or put out a fire instantly at the push of button or switch.
- The fact that there’s no need for constant clean-up of ashes or frequent chimney build up, hence easier to maintain.
- Ability to customize; with different fire media as you’ll see below, incorporating blowers for better heat circulation, installing fireplace glass doors and decorative fireplace screens.
- Gas fireplaces can be controlled using handheld remotes for convenience.
- Ideal for complementing central heating for reduced heating costs
Other than practical advantages, gas fireplaces have stylistic advantages too. They can take the style and feel of your home to another level;
Despite being great sources of heat along with these many advantages, there is one aspect where people still hesitate when it comes this style of fireplace.
Some people feel that they cannot achieve the same look and feel as the classic wood-burning fireplace. And they are probably right. Wood burning fireplaces’ charm and ambiance is hard to beat for some.
However, in this modern age, there are multiple producers of competitive gas fireplaces and matching accessories that allow for better utility and close to the same look for that fire ambiance.
What to Put in a Gas Fireplace
For instance, fireplace media are fireplace accessories that can effectively help with enhancing the overall look and feel of your gas fireplace to that of a traditional fireplace.
Silica sand, glowing embers, fire glass, lava rocks, vermiculite granules, and ceramic pebbles are some of the fie media you can use to give your fireplace a more realistic appearance.
1. Silica Sand
Silica sand is used as a bottom filler in the burner pan of a gas fireplace along with artificial logs or other fire media such as lava rocks or pebbles for decorative toppings.
Silica sand burns cleanly and is able to withstand high temperatures without needing to replace for 2-5 years.
- Ideal for increasing base filler depth
- Low maintenance
- Relatively inexpensive
- Not very realistic-looking in a fireplace
2. Artificial Logs for Gas Fireplace
One of the most popular accessories for fireplaces that give your gas fireplace an authentic realism are fake gas logs .
Superior quality log sets have a high definition look as they are made of refractory ceramic fiber complete with the flickering effect of red and orange colors just like real burning wood.
Log sets used in conjunction with glowing embers create the ultimate realistic-looking fireplace.
One thing to note about the gas logs is that there are two types of them; vented and ventless. Vented gas logs require a chimney for ventilation in essence to push gases outside the house. On the other hand, ventless gas logs can be installed anywhere without predetermined chimneys or places for fumes.
Premium quality refractory ceramic can last up to 5 years.
- Resembles the natural firewood
- Creates an authentic look
- Requires minimum involvement in maintenance
- Heats up quickly
- Retains heat for a long time
- May be expensive depending on brand and quality
3. Fireplace Embers
Safe and non toxic glowing fireplace embers are made from materials such as ceramic wool fibers and vermiculite granules and are used at the base of the fireplace, propane or natural gas.
You cannot go by adding glowing embers at the bottom of your gas fireplace because they effectively help your fireplace to achieve a natural look by mimicking the appearance of a real smoldering fireplace ember bed when the fireplace is lit.
If you think that your fireplace looks a bit flat, adding glowing embers may be a game-changer. This is probably one of the most effective ways to make your gas fireplace look more realistic
At the top, add your log set and your fireplace will look so real, non will be the wiser.
- Realistic and natural look of flickering embers
- Effective in creating natural looking fires
- Lasts really long
- Loss of sparkle intensity over time
4. Fire Glass
Fire glass are phenomenal accessories of choice for people looking to add that stylish, glamorous look to their fireplaces.
Not to be confused with normal, regular glass, these are accessories that have gone through a unique tempering and filtration process. This is to ensure the by-product is premium quality and 100% heat-proof.
Tempered fire glass often features a reflective high luster gloss. For this reason when installed in a fireplace, their beautiful sparkly surface shines through the fire such that it appears as if glittering gems have been placed in there making them ideal for accentuating the look of a fireplace.
Their are options that are non-reflective and not as sparkly but just as decorative.
Fire glass also does not melt, fade or discolor over time and neither does it emit any smoke or odors.
They are very safe and easy to install and can be used both indoors or outdoors, and in electric, propane and natural gas fireplaces.
Their usage does not stop there however because they can be applied in a myriad of other places including, as a fire pit filler, decorating vases and jars, outdoor landscaping and fish tanks.
Maintenance is easy, just the occasional water and maybe some vinegar or liquid soap if they start to lose their luster or darken, and you’ll have sparkling like new once again. Leave them out to air and dry for a bit before returning them into the fireplace.
- Gives a modern attractive look to your fireplace;
- Great for decorative purposes
- Tend to be a available in a wide range of colors for every style and decor
- Great for retaining heat
- Easy to maintain
- A good investment as they last nearly infinitely and do not degrade
- Multiple uses
- May be a little more expensive, particularly for large fireplaces as they will need more to fill the fire pan.
- Tend to darken if the fireplace is not well ventilated
- May lose luster over time
- May not look very realistic in a fireplace
5. Ceramic Pebbles
Not the most popular of fireplace fillers, clean burning ceramic pebbles are made from high temperature ceramic fiber material and can be used as a base filler or atop a filler such as fire glass or lava granules or entirely by themselves.
In addition to gas fireplaces, electric and gel fireplaces, they can also be used outdoors for landscaping.
- Gives your fireplace a minimalistic look
- The fireplace looks good even if the fire is off
- Withstands up to 800-1000 degrees Celsius depending with brand
- Multiple uses
- Cost more per bag
- Not realistic looking in a fireplace
6. Lava Rocks
Not to be confused with river rocks, lava rocks are 100% naturally occurring rocks that result when volcanic magma rises to the surface and cools down. These volcanic rocks feature a coarse porous surface that naturally allows them to withstand high temperatures without crumbling.
They come in various sizes, from small granules to medium and big stones and are safe for both indoor and outdoor applications, gas and electric fireplaces
They are perfectly capable of being used on their own, incorporating different rock sizes or same size all through. Many people however, like to lava rocks as base fillers, then toping up with artificial log set or fire glass.
Using with fire glass could result in cost saving because remember how we said fire glass could be pricier if you need to fill a large fireplace base? Mixing fire glass with lava rocks such that you have half of the required depth filled by a layer of lava rocks then the other half topped by fire glass will reduce the fire glass needed thus saving you some money.
In addition to fireplace usage, they are also fantastic rocks for use in a fire pit, fish tanks, landscaping and gardening.
- Natural heat retainer
- Said to be a good disperser of heat
- Gives a earthy unique look to your fireplace even when it’s off
- Multiple uses
- Available red and black colors
- Available in different sizes
- Affordable filler option
- These rocks may not look so natural in a fire pit
- Could pop or crack when wet and exposed to heat
Designers will tell you that the beauty and style that your fireplace evokes is just as important as the heat it produces. From design to furniture and decor placement, lots of things can affect the overall aesthetics of a fireplace.
There are multiple ways you can dress up your gas fireplace. The outcome will depend on the budget and the style you want to achieve.
If you want to achieve the natural glow and authentic look of wood fireplace look then gas logs combined with the glowing embers will accomplish this effortlessly.
On the other hand, if you’re trying to achieve a more modern look, you might want to look into fire glass, ceramic pebbles, and silica sand. If you’re more inclined towards beauty and adding sparkle, no other filler will do it better than fire glass.
Playing around with a mix of these different fillers in your fireplace will result in a unique look that adds to the aesthetics and ambiance of the room.