Fireplace Construction & the need for non-combustibles

gas non combustable fireplaces

Adding a gas fireplace to your home can be an exciting time. Especially at this time of year, the warmth is welcomed and visual appeal leaves a lasting, comforting, impression. To ensure everyone can enjoy this addition for years to come, safety must be a priority – beginning with installation. Building codes, as well as the manufacturers recommendations, outline the clearances required for combustible materials. This means selecting non-combustible materials when you’re building out your fireplace. Generally, this won’t make your project any more or less challenging. But it will help ensure the longevity of the materials and ensure the safe operation and enjoyment of your unit.

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A little bit about clearances

The clearance requirements do vary depending on your fireplace model, so you should definitely consult the manufacturers owner’s manual prior to any construction.

Non-combustible materials for fireplace construction.

When construction begins, the first decision on materials you need to make is for your framing. Most manufacturers’ manuals, in accordance with the building code, will require you to use metal studs. While a gas fireplace keeps the flames contained, the heat generated can be tremendous. Metal framing adjacent to the firebox unit ensures safety and the longevity of frame. Your fireplace-construction will also require cement board (or concrete board) rather than typical drywall. Cement board is heavier and a little more cumbersome to deal with, but shouldn’t impact the process significantly. Your owner’s manual will show you how much distance is required before you can shift back to wood framing and regular drywall.

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The finishing – and non-combustible – touches.

Where your fireplace really comes to life is in the finishing touches you use to surround the unit. The decorative choices are almost limitless. From sleek, stylish and clean to the more traditional stones and masonry, the images coming to mind will be (and should be) varieties of non-combustible materials. Just like the framing and cement board, the exterior finish of your fireplace will be subjected to intense heat for long durations. Materials like concrete, natural stone, brick, and tile provide you with a beautiful finish that can stand up to that heat. Remember, you can accent your unit with a material like wood – a great choice for a mantel, as an example – but you must adhere to the clearances required for your unit.

Are you working on a fireplace-installation project and have questions about non-combustible materials to use? Feel free to contact us and we can help you out.

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