So you’re on the lookout for a new fireplace. The options are endless. We should know, we’ve got a huge range of fireplaces here at Direct Fireplaces… But there’s an important thing to consider before you make your final decision – how to properly measure fireplace dimensions.
As you can imagine, getting the dimensions of your fireplace wrong can cause considerable problems further down the line. Learning how to properly measure the dimensions of your fireplace will save you time and money in the long run.
Read on to find out how to accurately and easily measure fireplace dimensions.
Establish what you’re measuring
First of all, it’s important to establish which parts of the fireplace you need to measure. You might assume all you need to measure is the outer height and width of the fireplace. Wrong! It’s important that you measure your fireplace cavity at different points to ensure there aren’t some parts of the cavity that are an unusual size or shape.
Measuring the height of your fireplace
The next step is to measure the height of your fireplace. You will want to begin by measuring the height of the opening. Take three measurements across the opening (left, centre and right). Once you’ve done this, make a note of the smallest of these three measurements. When you’re doing this it’s important to note that if you have a lintel in your fireplace that is a different height than the rest of the fireplace opening, measure that too.
Before we go on, we’ll explain what a lintel is. Some brick fireplaces have a lintel. A lintel is an iron rod that runs from the front to the back of the ceiling of your fireplace. The reason it’s there is to provide structural support for your fireplace. It’s usually embedded in the brick, or slightly protruding – hence the importance of measuring it.
Some fireplaces have arched openings. If that’s the case with your fireplace, don’t forget to record the highest point of the arch.
Once you’ve established your measurements for the opening of the fireplace, you’ll next want to measure the height of your fireplace at the back of the cavity. In doing so, you’ll establish if there is any variation in size between the front and back of your fireplace cavity.
Measuring the width of your fireplace
Just as you measured the height of your fireplace from the front to the back of the cavity, you’ll also want to measure the width of your fireplace from the front to the back of the cavity. Doing this will ensure you pick up on any variations in measurements (this will save you any annoying installation headaches at a later date!).
When you’re measuring the width of your fireplace, you’ll want to measure the opening first. Just like when you were measuring the height of your fireplace, take three measurements across the outer width (top, middle and bottom). Make a note of the smallest of these three measurements.
You’ll then want to measure the width of your fireplace at the back of the cavity. This will allow you to establish if there is any variation in width from the front to the back of your fireplace cavity.
Measuring the depth of your fireplace
Establishing the depth of your fireplace is another part of properly measuring your fireplace dimensions. When doing so, make sure you take this measurement in the centre of your fireplace cavity. Measure from the opening of your fireplace cavity to the back wall.
At this point you should have the following set of measurements:
- 1 – the height of your fireplace opening.
- 2 – the height of the back wall of your fireplace cavity.
- 3 – the width of your fireplace opening.
- 4- the width of the back wall of your fireplace cavity.
- 5- the depth of your fireplace cavity.
Do you have any electrical sockets located on the fireplace wall? Measure their location on the wall and ensure they won’t interfere with the installation of the fireplace
This is particularly important if you are buying an electric fire. An electric fire should always be plugged directly into a socket. An extension cable should never be used! It’s also a good idea to isolate the socket you are plugging the fire into. This helps prevent your circuit from becoming overloaded and tripping out should a problem occur.
You can find out more about the installation of electric fireplaces here.
It’s important to consider the immediate vicinity of the fire. Measure the distance from the top and each side of the fireplace to ensure that potentially combustible materials are not too close (for example mantelpieces).
With all this in mind, you’re now ready to properly measure the dimensions of your fireplace. However, if you’re in any doubt, get a professional to help.
You’re ready to shop for your fireplace!
More from the Direct Fireplaces blog…