Tips for Choosing Custom Fireplace Doors

Custom fireplace doors & screens are the finishing touch for any wood-burning and gas fireplace, and even for some electric fireplaces. While necessary for safe burning, they can also be a decorative element that enhances the fireplace design. We sell custom fireplace doors from Stoll Industries, and we have learned a few tips that might help you sort through all the options that are available.

Cabinet vs Bifold glass

Stoll Builder-Plus fireplace door
Stoll Builder-Plus custom fireplace door with bifold glass

One of the first decisions you need to make is whether to have your custom fireplace doors made with bifold or cabinet glass. Bifold glass is like some closet doors; each panel is hinged in the center to fold back on itself. This means that the doors take up less space when opened, and will project less if they don’t swing all the way back to the face of the fireplace. Bifold glass will have more gap lines than cabinet glass, but may look neater when opened.

Stoll Inset fireplace door
Stoll Inset custom fireplace door with decorative arch window pane design on cabinet doors

Cabinet glass is like a door on a kitchen cabinet; it swings outward in a single piece. Unlike a kitchen cabinet door, cabinet glass on a fireplace door usually swings all the way back, in a 180-degree arc, so that the doors sit flat against the fireplace when opened. Cabinet doors minimize the number of gap lines that you will see in the glass, and may be a requirement for features like airseal or ceramic glass. However, they do require more clearance to open wide.

Cabinet mesh vs. Hanging mesh

Everyone is familiar with hanging mesh, that ‘curtain’ of chainmail that hangs inside a wood-burning opening to keep sparks from leaving the opening during a burn. While hanging mesh is still available on custom fireplace doors, there are also more streamlined cabinet-style mesh options. Cabinet mesh can open from the center, or from one side. Ours comes with a safety catch at the bottom, to keep the doors from being pushed open by stray logs that might escape from the grate. Cabinet mesh has a neater appearance than curtain mesh, but has fine rails where the doors meet in the center. You can avoid these center rails by opting for a single mesh door, but that will make the door more awkward to open when adding logs to the fire. Curtain mesh can be pushed completely to the sides when unobstructed access is desired.

Can I burn with the glass doors closed?

Wood needs oxygen to burn, so we generally keep the glass doors open, and the mesh closed, during a burn. It’s also important to remember that the glass will get extremely hot if the doors are closed during burning, and the regular tempered glass doors will explode if overheated. For those people who want to burn with the doors closed, ceramic Pyro glass is available on some custom fireplace doors. This glass can withstand the high heat of a wood-burning or gas fire, and can remain closed during burning. If you are going to close glass doors on a wood-burning fire, you will need a damper to ensure air flow into the fire. Deciding whether or not you want to burn with the glass opened or closed will ultimately determine whether you choose cabinet or bifold glass.

What’s are Flanges and do I need them?

Flanges are pieces of steel that are welded to the back of the custom fireplace door frame, extending into the opening, parallel to the fire brick. They help to cover light gaps on inside-mount doors, and prevent flames from getting through those gaps. They are also useful to cover gaps between refacing materials and the original fireplace brick, to hide the gap and transition; this also prevents flames from getting into any gaps between surfaces. If you have refaced your fireplace, or prefer an inside-mount door, you should consider adding flanges to the door frame.

Inside mount vs. Overlap mount

On an overlap mount, the fireplace door frame extends beyond the fireplace opening, and onto the surrounding brick or stone. The glass doors and mesh sit within the opening. This is ideal when you want to maximize the view of the opening, because at least some of the frame is over the surround and not over your opening. An overlap mount is also best for uneven openings and surfaces, like fieldstone, where we need to cover multiple gaps.

An inside mount has the entire door and frame within the opening. It is best used on perfectly true openings with 90-degree corners, for a good fit. As mentioned above, flanges are recommended on inside mounts, to cover light gaps and prevent flames from getting through around the perimeter of the door frame.

Zero-clearance fireplace options

Zero-clearance wood-burning fireplace
BEFORE: zero-clearance fireplace in its original black

Zero-clearance wood-burning fireplace reface

AFTER: Rendering of a zero-clearance reface

 

A zero-clearance wood-burning fireplace is one that is prefabricated out of metal, with an integrated screen or glass doors. These were used by builders for many years, as an easier, less expensive way to have a wood-burning fireplace in tract homes or condos. There are custom fireplace doors and reface options specifically made for these fireplaces. You can replace just the glass and mesh, or recover the entire metal surface, to hide all the black metal above and below the opening. Custom fireplace doors that are made as a zero-clearance reface are attached to the original metal with super-strong magnets.

Airseal options

If your masonry fireplace is used for wood-burning or gas logs, you may find that there’s a constant flow of cold air down the chimney, when the fire isn’t burning. Some wood-burning fireplaces can also be smelly. To help stop cold air and odors from entering your room, some custom fireplace doors may be fitted with airseal gaskets. These are applied to the back of the door frame and between panes of glass, to minimize air flow through these breaches. In order to apply the gaskets, there must be metal around the glass, so airseal is not an option on all-glass Totalview doors. It is possible to have Clearview glass, which eliminates the metal dividers in the center of the glass, and just apply airseal to the perimeter of the frame.

Decorative options

There are many decorative options available for custom fireplace doors, including different styles and sizes of frames, dozens of different finishes, different handles, and even custom patterns laid over the glass. Stoll is even capable of translating a favourite image into a metal cutout that may be applied to the glass doors for a truly custom fireplace door.

Matching add-ons

If you’re going to the trouble of having custom fireplace doors made, why not get matching fireplace tools and log holders? These are available in many styles and all the same finishes as the fireplace doors, to extend the style of your fireplace doors to the entire suite of functional and decorative items.

 

Stylish Fireplaces knows that updating a fireplace can be challenging. With their NFI Certified Hearth Design Specialists, it’s easy to create a space you’ll love to share with family and friends. Check out all the options and connect with their experts for help to find the perfect custom fireplace doors for you. You’ll live stylishly ever after. 

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