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If you are looking for a great way to protect the back wall of your fireplace while also adding a touch of style, then you should check out the assortment of Fire Backs available on Northline Express. From simple and traditional styles all the way to those with decorative scenes, adding a fire back to your home hearth is an easy way to add some style.
Check out our full line of Fireplace Fire Backs on Northline Express.
Firebacks are reflective plates that sit near the back wall of the fireplace
Firebacks are typically made of cast iron and they serve both decorative and practical functions. They range in styles from simple and plain to those that feature intricate designs. Some designs feature scenery whereas others can have Victorian floral motifs and there are also some that have historical scenes. No matter which style you choose it is sure to add a unique charm to your hearth.
Their primary function is to shield the wall at the back of the fireplace from the severe heat generated by the fire. This protects the masonry, which can be vulnerable to intense temperatures.
In addition to this, firebacks have a unique characteristic - they reflect heat back into the room, thereby increasing energy efficiency. Acting like a radiator, a fireback can enhance the efficiency of your fire by as much as 50%.
Firebacks are also versatile. They can also be used as a backsplash in the kitchen or placed against the sides of the fireplace.
Here are the key points to remember about firebacks:
- Made from durable cast iron.
- Designed to fit the size of your fireplace.
- Serve to protect the back wall of the fireplace from heat.
- Reflect heat back into the room, improving energy efficiency.
- Can be used in other areas of the home, such as the kitchen.
- Come in a range of designs for aesthetic appeal.
Firebacks work as a back panel to your fireplace and should be sized according to the size of your fireplace
Firebacks do come in a range of sizes. So when you are trying to determine the size you need, it is important to consider the width and height of your fireplace’s back wall. These two measurements are crucial for ensuring that the fireback fits properly and will work effectively. You want the fireback to be large enough to protect the area behind your fireplace grate. This is the area of the wall that is most affected by the heat of a wood-burning fire. This is the area where the Fire back needs to sit in order to provide the most protection.
There are a few other factors to take into account when trying to determine the size you should go with. Here are a few of those factors:
- Heat efficiency: A larger fireback will enhance heat efficiency by reflecting more heat back into the room.
- Aesthetics: The size of the fireback should complement the overall look of your fireplace. A fireback that is too large or too small might not achieve the desired aesthetic effect and might not provide the proper protection either.
- Safety: A correctly sized fireback helps protect the masonry of the back wall from the heat of the fire.
Remember to use a measuring tape or ruler to accurately measure the width of your fireplace’s back wall. This will help you pick the right size for your fireback. Choosing a fireback does not necessarily mean it should cover the entire back wall, but it should ideally cover the area directly behind the fire or grate. The height of the fire back should not exceed the front height of the fireplace.
The majority of firebacks for your wood-burning fireplace are made of either cast iron or stainless steel
For many years cast iron was the only material used to make firebacks, but in recent years Stainless steel firebacks have been growing in popularity. The Stainless Steel firebacks are more lightweight than their cast iron counterparts but are still great at radiating heat back into the room. Being lightweight makes them easier to install and usually also comes at a cost savings.
The Stainless Steel Fire backs fit with hearths and fireplaces that have a more modern aesthetic. For this reason, most Stainless Steel Fire backs will feature a fairly plain and simple design. The only other drawback to a Stainless Steel Fire Back is that it will become discolored over time and will also require more frequent cleaning. The black soot that is caused by a fire tends to build up quicker on a stainless steel fireback whereas with cast iron it is much harder to distinguish the soot from the cast iron finish.
Cast Iron firebacks are still the most popular option. They can fit with either traditional or modern styles and often feature intricate scenes and designs. It is true that Cast Iron Firebacks will be a bit heavier, but this also helps them withstand the intense heat that is generated by your fireplace.
Firebacks can also serve as a decorative solution if you have a fireplace that you don't use often. The Fireback can sit in place of the fireplace grate and give your fireplace and hearth area a whole new look and feel.
FAQ - Fire Back - Firebacks
How does a fireback really work?
Using a fireback is a fairly simple and straightforward process. A fireback can either lean against the back wall of a fireback, or some firebacks come with a pair of feet that hold them upright. You just want to make sure that there is a couple of inches between the fireback and the fireplace grate to allow enough air to circulate around the fire. Then once the fire is roaring, the fireback performs two main tasks. It acts as a barrier between the fire and the back wall of the fireplace, thus protecting and prolonging the life of your fireplace wall. Secondly, it radiates heat back into the living space.
Can you use a fireback in a gas fireplace?
Yes. Firebacks can be used in gas fireplaces as well as wood-burning fireplaces. For gas fireplaces, especially it is better to use cast iron firebacks instead of stainless steel firebacks. Stainless steel firebacks will become discolored and will also need more cleaning because soot tends to build up on them quickly.
The Fire backs will collect and radiate heat back into the room in the same manner for both wood-burning and gas-burning fireplaces.
Can you use a fireback in a wood stove or wood stove fireplace insert?
No. Firebacks can not be used in wood stoves or wood stove fireplace inserts. Wood Stoves are sealed systems, which means the door is intended to be closed while a fire is burning. Thus, you would not be able to radiate any heat back into the room. Also, wood stove fireboxes are much smaller than traditional fireplaces. Their viewing windows are also much smaller as well, so you also lose the ability to see the design of the fire back as well.
What do you put behind a fireback?
If you are placing the fire back within the firebox of your fireplace, then nothing is needed behind the fireback. Some people choose to add heat shields or fire bricks, but in most cases, the fireback should provide enough protection and radiant heat without the need for other products.
Is steel or cast iron better for a fireback?
The choice between steel and cast iron for a fireback largely depends on your specific needs and preferences. Cast iron firebacks are known for their ability to retain heat for a longer period of time, even after the fire has died down. This makes them a great choice for those looking to maximize the heat output from their fireplace. They are also more durable and less likely to warp under high temperatures, but they are heavier, making installation and movement more challenging.
On the other hand, stainless steel firebacks are lighter and easier to handle. They heat up quickly and reflect more light, enhancing the brightness of your fire. However, they don't retain heat as long as their cast iron counterparts and can warp over time. They may also require more frequent cleaning, as soot tends to build up quickly on their surfaces.
In terms of cost, stainless steel firebacks are generally more affordable than those made of cast iron. But if durability and heat retention are your top priorities, investing in a cast iron fireback might be worth the extra cost.
Where can I go to learn more about Fire Safety and the basics of Fire management?
Northline Express has created a Resource Center that is full of helpful articles on a variety of fire-related projects and also includes how-to articles to help navigate the installation and product selection processes. Here are a few of our articles related to fire safety and fire management: