What are Fireplace Doors?

Josie Myers

Fireplace doors are heat-resistant doors that are an alternative to fireplace screens. They are commonly made of a refractory, or heat-resistant, metal and tempered glass. They can be placed on masonry or zero-clearance fireplaces.

Fireplace doors offer more draft control than screens.
Fireplace doors offer more draft control than screens.

The two main types of fireplaces are masonry and metal prefabricated, also known as zero-clearance. A masonry fireplace is distinguished by a brick and mortar interior and chimney. A metal box and a metal chimney means that it is a zero-clearance type. The doors of one kind are not interchangeable with the other.

Fire place doors are often made of metal and may be tracked.
Fire place doors are often made of metal and may be tracked.

Fireplace doors are available in both single and double options. They can be tracked or trackless, depending on usage. Those with a small fireplace may prefer the extra space that the trackless option gives. The glass may be clear, shaded, beveled, or mirrored. The metal portion is available in a variety of finishes from polished brass, antiqued, pewter, chrome, and stainless steel among others.

The primary optional feature available in fireplace doors is draft control. This option allows air to enter the fireplace even when the doors are closed. Draft control gives the user greater control over the size of the flame.

If attempting do-it-yourself installation, owners should be aware that some fireplace doors require additional framing materials that do not come with the doors themselves. Always check manufacturers' instructions to be sure. The positive part of separate framing is that it allows for some level of customization not available with a complete package.

Since a zero-clearance fire place is prefabricated, each manufacturer makes specific doors to fit their model. There is usually a metal tag located inside the fire place that lists the manufacturer and model number that owners can use to purchase the correct doors.

There are two types of fits for masonry fireplace doors. An inside fit is when the door fits inside the fireplace opening and is even with the brick. An overlap fit is when the doors are larger than the fireplace opening and overlap the brick. It is easier to find doors to accommodate an overlap fit, since masonry can often be custom sized.

The decision to purchase fireplace doors is largely based on an individual's sense of style. Some people simply prefer the look of the doors as opposed to a standard screen. With numerous options for look and usability, there is a fireplace door available to fit almost anyone's tastes and decor.

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Discussion Comments


Keep in mind, too, that those doors may be heat resistant but it is a good idea to keep them open when a fire is burning. Typically, the frame contain those doors will also contain a steel mesh curtain that can be closed to keep sparks from shooting out of the fireplace.

The problem with heat resistant doors is that years of intense heat wear them out (so to speak) and they are liable to explode at some point. That is not a pretty picture.

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