A fireplace is a charming addition to any home, creating a cozy ambiance and providing warmth on chilly days. However, as much as we love our fireplaces, they also present significant safety hazards, especially if you have young children or pets. Without proper protection, a simple moment of carelessness can quickly become a disaster. As such, if you have a fireplace in your home, investing in a fireplace gate is essential to keep your home safe.
A fireplace gate is a protective barrier that encloses your fireplace, preventing children and pets from accessing the flames and hot surfaces. They come in various materials, including metal, wood, and glass, and can be customized to fit any size or shape of the fireplace. Besides, some fireplace gates feature an easy-to-open latch mechanism that allows for easy access for adults while keeping the little ones out.
In this blog post, we will discuss why you should invest in a fireplace gate, the different types of gates available, and how to choose the best one for your fireplace. By the time you are done reading, you will know everything there is to know about fireplace gates and how they can benefit your home.
Why You Need a Fireplace Gate?
Investing in a fireplace gate is an excellent way to protect yourself, your family, and your home from the dangers of a fireplace.
Traditional or Gas Fireplace: A conventional or gas-powered fireplace provides heat primarily through convection currents produced by the warmth of burning wood or gas fuel. Such uneven heat can cause the fireplace screen to become red-hot, posing severe burn hazards.
Pet Safety: Pets are curious about nature and love to explore your home. If they have access to the fireplace, they can get burned by touching or licking the hot metal edges of the screen or by being too close to the fire itself. A pet may also accidentally knock over burning logs and embers, starting a fire that could burn down your home and everything in it.
Child Safety: Young children are curious like pets and enjoy exploring new places in your home that you did not specifically allow them to play in. If they have access to the fireplace, they could fall into the fire, touching or licking its hot metal edges, and their clothing can catch fire while they are playing with the fireplace. It can result in severe burns.
Old-Generation Fireplaces: While newer-generation fireplaces contain safety features such as glass doors and automatic shut-off devices that prevent children from accessing the fireplace's heat source, some older-generation fireplaces still do not have these safety features. For example, cast iron fireplaces delivered before 1950 without an automatic means of shutting off the gas or electricity to the unit were dangerous for young children or pets because of their intense heat that could cause burns that were difficult to treat.
Types of Fireplace Gates
There are several types of fireplace gates available on the market, including:
1. Freestanding gates
Freestanding fireplace gates are designed to stand on the floor, not mounted on the fireplace. They can either be hinged or wall-mounted, with the latter designed to go up against the wall of your home when not in use. Because they are freestanding, freestanding gates are usually lighter than other types of gates, which makes them more accessible for adults to handle. Still, they may pose a problem if you have a large or heavy fireplace without a solid backing.
2. Permanent gate
A permanent gate is installed around your fireplace opening; however, it can be easily removed if you decide to withdraw your fireplace or replace it with a different type of wood-burning mechanisms, such as a gas log set. If you have an existing fireplace with a glass door or screen, you can install a permanent gate on top of the glass, trapping heat within and keeping any curious children and pets away from the fireplace.
3. Decorative gate
A decorative fireplace gate is a temporary solution when you need to close your fireplace off from pets and little ones but do not want to cover up an ornate or decorative mantle completely. An ornamental gate may offer partial enclosure across the entire opening; however, it looks attractive and provides adequate protection against the tossing of burning embers or lit ash. It is also easy to install on top of your existing screen or doors without damaging them. You can try our this product.
4. Wall-mounted gates
Wall-mounted gates are usually wall mounted and secured to the wall by screws or nails; therefore, they can also be attached to a fireplace using an extension cord. They are usually made of aluminum, lighter than steel but more heavy-duty than wood. Therefore, if you have a heavy fireplace that does not have solid backing, do not place the wall-mounted gate next to your fireplace; instead, mount it on the outside of your home.
5. Custom-built gates
Custom-built gates are designed to fit your specific fireplace and can be made of various materials, including wood, metal, and glass. Like freestanding gates, they come in hinged or wall-mounted models.
When you choose to install a custom gate for your fireplace, it is vital to ensure that the door or screen completely closes off the fireplace opening to keep any curious children and pets away from the fireplace. A child can get seriously burned by touching or licking the hot surfaces of your fireplace or by knocking over burning logs and embers on top of the fireplace grate. Besides, a smoldering log can cause fires in attics and other parts of your home if they are dealt with after some time.
How to Installing Your Fireplace Gate?
Fireplace gates are easy to install with the help of a power drill. Four simple steps are all you need to do this properly:
1. Cut off the existing fireplace screen using a power drill and make sure that it is cut straight since this will be the frame of the new fireplace gate. It should also fit snugly around your fireplace opening with about one inch extra.
2. Next, place a sheet of plywood cut to size on top of the opening and ensure it fits tightly into place by sliding it from both sides of your fireplace opening.
3. Next, notice that the plywood you have cut to size is now attached to the opening of your fireplace. You can now proceed with drilling holes at the edges of the plywood and screw it into place using 2" screws or nails. These screws should be placed on both sides of your fireplace opening.
4. Lastly, place a durable mesh over the fireplace gate opening, preventing embers from falling on your furniture or pets.
In conclusion, a fireplace gate is a simple and effective solution for ensuring the safety of your home. By installing a gate, you can prevent children and pets from accessing the fireplace, which can potentially cause injury or damage. Choosing a gate that fits your fireplace and meets safety standards is essential. With a fireplace gate in place, you can enjoy the warmth and ambiance of your fireplace without worrying about any safety hazards.