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How to Choose a Fireplace Screen

Posted by Jeffrey Swerdan on Nov 9th 2023

How to Choose a Fireplace Screen

How to Choose a Fireplace Screen

If you are looking for a way to add protection and charm to your fireplace hearth area, then you should consider adding a fireplace screen. There is a wide variety of fireplace screens available and sometimes the amount of options can make it overwhelming to choose the right one for you and your project. We have put together this article to help make that decision easier for you.

If you're more of a visual person and would rather watch a video, then feel free to check out the Northline Express YouTube Page for this helpful video: Choosing the Right Fireplace Screen

Fireplace screens are constructed of a sturdy metal frame and a mesh spark-preventative

Fireplace screens feature a solid metal frame, often made of steel or wrought iron, providing durability and longevity. This frame is designed to withstand high temperatures and resist warping or bending over time. It is normally coated with heat-resistant paint to prevent rusting and maintain its appearance.

The mesh spark fire screen is usually made up of tightly woven metal wire and serves a critical role in catching and confining flying sparks and embers. Its fine construction ensures visibility, allowing you to enjoy the glow and warmth of the fire while also ensuring safety.

Some fireplace screens come with doors built into the screen. These offer easy access to the fire without needing to remove the entire screen. The doors can be single or double and are typically hinged for smooth operation. Along with this, they provide convenience when adding logs, stoking the fire, or cleaning ash.

  • Sturdy metal frame: Provides structure and heat resistance.
  • Mesh spark fire screen: Catches and confines sparks.
  • Doors: Offers easy access to the fireplace.

Fireplace Screens are one of the best options to be a hearth protector from flying embers

Fireplace screens serve as a vital barrier to the hearth area and your living room floor. They prevent flying embers from escaping the fireplace, thus providing the necessary safety and protection that your home needs. Without the protection of a fireplace screen, embers and sparks can "pop" out of your fire and land on the area around your fireplace opening. These embers and sparks can leave burn and scorch marks on the wall, floor, and decorative items near the fireplace opening. They even have the potential to start house fires if unattended. Please note even with a fireplace screen, a fire should never be left unattended.

Fireplace screens are typically constructed from a sturdy metal frame and a mesh spark fire screen and are available in two main designs - single-panel and multi-panel.

  • Single-Panel Screens: These are one-piece screens that stand upright, offering an unobstructed view of the fire. They are ideal for larger hearths and fireplaces.

  • Multi-Panel Screens: These typically have three or more panels, providing flexibility to fit various fireplace shapes and sizes. They offer more stability and are generally safer, especially around children and pets.

The choice between single-panel and multi-panel depends on your specific needs and preferences.

Fireplace screens come in a wide variety of decorative designs from small and simple to large and rustic or modern

Decorative designs of fireplace screens not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of your hearth but also reflect your personal style. They come in a vast range of sizes and styles. Smaller, simpler designs often complement a minimalist or contemporary decor. They typically feature clean lines, and geometric patterns with a sleek, metallic finish.

On the other hand, large and rustic designs lend a warm, traditional touch to your space. They usually incorporate ornate details, such as filigree work, sculpted trees, or even unique materials like brass or bronze.

For those who prefer a modern approach, options include screens with bold, abstract designs, or those featuring a mix of materials and finishes to create a striking visual impact.

Remember, the design should not only match your decor but also the size and style of your fireplace. Consider these aspects to ensure the screen complements your hearth perfectly.

When selecting a fireplace screen the size of the screen needs to overhang the fireplace opening on all sides to ensure the proper safety and protection

When choosing a fireplace screen, size is a paramount consideration for safety. The screen should completely cover the fireplace opening with an overhang on all sides.

  • You want the fireplace screen to be between 1 and 3 inches taller than the fireplace opening to ensure sparks don't fly over the screen.
  • If you are looking to add a single panel fireplace screen then you want it to overhang each side of your fireplace opening by 1 to 3 inches. So if you have a 30-inch wide opening, you will want your fireplace screen to be between 32 inches and 36 inches wide.
  • For multi-panel screens, you want to have approximately 5 inches on each side of the fireplace opening. So if you have a 30-inch wide fireplace opening you will want your multi-panel screen to be at least 40 inches.

These aren't strict rules, but they ensure that the screen is large enough to catch flying embers or sparks from any direction, providing the highest level of safety. Proper sizing also contributes to the overall aesthetics, preventing the screen from appearing too small or too large for the fireplace.

To determine the right size, measure the height and width of your fireplace opening. Always choose a screen slightly larger than these measurements to ensure it overlaps the fireplace opening. Remember, a well-fitted screen not only ensures safety but also enhances the overall appearance of your hearth.

  • Height: The screen's height should be tall enough to catch sparks but not so tall that it obstructs the mantel or looks awkward.
  • Width: It should be wide enough to cover the entire fireplace opening, with some overhang on both sides.

Remember, a fireplace screen that is too small may not provide adequate protection, and one that is too large may not fit properly or could look out of place. So, accurate measurement is key.

There are a variety of different style options for fireplace screens to choose from

Choosing the right style of fireplace screen can completely transform the look and feel of your hearth. Here are some popular styles:

  • Flat or Single Panel Fireplace Screens: These screens provide a clean, unobstructed view of the fire and are perfect for a minimalist aesthetic. They are usually rectangular and may come with or without doors.

  • Multi-panel folding screens: These have two or more panels hinged together. They can conform to the shape of the fireplace and offer better stability.

  • Curved or bowed screens: These screens curve outward and add a touch of elegance to your fireplace. They are great for modern and contemporary home designs.

  • Decorative or Ornate Fireplace Screens: These screens come with intricate designs and patterns, adding a unique element to your hearth. They are a great choice if you want to make a style statement.

  • Fireplace Screen with Doors: These screens have doors built into the screen. This provides easier access to the fire when needing to add wood, or tend to the fire. Other screens have to be lifted out of the way each time you want to access the fire.
  • Hanging Screens: Some people do not have a hearth or want to go with a simpler design but still want the protection of a fireplace screen, that is where the hanging screens come in. They mount to the inside wall of the fireplace and are a great way to add protection without needing a freestanding screen.
  • Spark Guard Screens: These screens are usually one piece and cover the entire fireplace opening. They provide great protection as embers cannot leave the spark guard area.
  • Custom Fireplace Screens: For an unusual or oversized fireplace, custom screens are the best option. They are designed according to your specific requirements and can fit any fireplace perfectly.

Choose a style that complements your home decor and meets your specific needs. Whether you prefer a traditional or modern look, there’s a fireplace screen style to match.

If you need assistance ordering a custom fireplace screen, or if you have further questions, our customer service team is available toll-free by calling us at 1-866-667-8454

FAQ - Choosing a Fireplace Screen

Is a screen necessary for a fireplace?

In most areas, it is not required to have a fireplace screen but it is highly recommended to utilize a fireplace screen. A fireplace screen provides a safety barrier for your home. It helps prevent sparks and embers from escaping the fireplace and potentially causing a fire. Screens also add an extra layer of protection for children and pets, preventing them from coming into direct contact with the fire.

Different types of fireplaces might require different types of screens. For example, a gas fireplace may not produce sparks, but a screen can still be beneficial for keeping children and pets at a safe distance. On the other hand, wood-burning fireplaces often produce flying embers, making a screen a crucial safety feature.

Remember, safety should always be the primary concern when using a fireplace. A screen can provide peace of mind, knowing that you've taken a step to prevent potential hazards.

How to clean my fireplace screen?

To clean your fireplace screen effectively, you'll need a few basic supplies such as a soft bristle brush or a nylon brush, a spray bottle, warm water, and a cleaning agent. For metal mesh screens, consider using a solution of equal parts white vinegar and warm water or a commercial fireplace cleaner.

  • Step 1: Remove the screen from the fireplace. Lay it on a large tarp or drop cloth to avoid a mess.
  • Step 2: Spray the solution on the screen. If using vinegar and water, fill a spray bottle with the mixture.
  • Step 3: Use the brush to scrub away soot and grime. Be gentle to avoid damaging the mesh.
  • Step 4: Rinse the screen with clean water to remove the solution and dislodged dirt.
  • Step 5: Allow the screen to dry fully before reattaching it to the fireplace.

For glass screens, use a glass cleaner or a similar vinegar solution. Wipe off residue with a dry cloth, then use a razor blade for stubborn spots if necessary. Always remember to handle glass screens with care to prevent scratches or breakage.

What is a fireplace screen called? Are there other names?

A fireplace screen can sometimes be referred to as a spark guard or an ember barrier. In most cases, they are simply referred to as a fireplace screen, but they sometimes are referred to by their style: A tri-fold screen, a flat panel screen, a hanging mesh screen, a fireplace screen with doors, etc.

Why are fireplace screens so expensive?

Fireplace screens vary greatly in price. The size, style, construction materials, shape, and decorative accents all play a role in determining the price of a fireplace screen. In most cases, fireplace screens are built with high-quality steel and wire mesh. These screens need to be able to withstand the high temperatures that a fireplace can produce. They need to be able to withstand the flying embers and sparks from the fire and are usually built to last. The larger your fireplace opening is the bigger the screen needs to be, which means that more materials are needed to construct the screen.

What are fireplace screens used for?

Fireplace screens serve several important functions. First and foremost, they act as a safety barrier, reducing the risk of sparks and embers causing a fire in the room. This is especially important with wood-burning fireplaces, which can produce flying embers. They also prevent children and pets from coming into direct contact with the fire, further enhancing safety.

In addition to safety, fireplace screens can contribute to the aesthetic appeal of your hearth. They come in a variety of styles and designs, allowing you to choose a screen that complements your home decor. Whether you prefer a traditional or modern look, there's likely a fireplace screen to match your style.

Finally, fireplace screens can also provide some functional benefits. For example, they can help to reduce the discomfort of excessive heat from a log fire. This can make the area around the fireplace more comfortable to be in, especially during the colder months.


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