Sunday, December 4

How To Choose The Perfect Solid Fuel Fire

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There’s nothing quite like coming home to the inviting glow of a real fire but before you rush out and buy a new fireplace, it’s worth checking a few things first to make sure you can have one.

Firstly, you need a proper Class 1 chimney. It’s pretty easy to tell as you’ll have a brick chimney stack and a chimney pot on the top. If you do have a Class 1 chimney, consider getting it checked out and cleaned by a chimney sweep. They will come and sweep the chimney, do a smoke test and check it is in good working order and suitable for a solid fuel fire.

There are a couple of options when it comes to solid fuel or open fires and below we have explained these in more detail.

Fire Baskets and Grates

With these people tend to have an inglenook opening and put an open fire basket in similar to the picture below. These can be a very simple option if you already have the opening made. See our full range of solid fire baskets and grates for more information.

Cast Iron Inserts

These types of fires were common in the Victorian period and are once again becoming more popular. They come complete with a cast iron back and are quite a simple solution for fitting a solid fuel fire. We stock a full range of arched or tiled cast iron inserts. It is worth noting that you’ll probably need to buy hearths and fireplace back panels to go with any inserts if you don’t have one already.

Decorative Hearth

The hearth needs to be ‘slabbed’ to make it suitable for solid fuel. “Slabbing” is when the hearth is cut into three then jointed back together and filled with a cement and vermiculite mixture. Decorative hearths (pictured) are hollow and if the air in the void expands under heat there is a danger that it could crack. A filled and jointed slabbed hearth is much better at dealing with temperature changes and will expand or contract without cracking.

When choosing a surround to match your cast, you will need a surround made from natural materials. Solid wood, natural marble or Agean limestone are very popular choices to pair with cast iron inserts.

Cast Iron Combinations

These are similar to cast iron inserts but are complete units so there’s no need to buy a surround to go with them however you will still need a hearth. These are also commonly known as bedroom fireplace and were very common in the Victorian era. We sell a wide range of cast iron fireplace combinations that are suitable for use with solid fuel.

Fireplace With A Clay Cast Back

Maybe you want something a bit different to a cast fire insert, or you’re renovating a cottage and want a stone fireplace. If this is the look you’re after, and you want a solid fuel fire, then you need to buy a couple of components.

Ceramic Fireback

First you need to choose a fireplace that is suitable for solid fuel. As a rule, this will need to be one made from natural materials. Please feel free to call us for more information on this. You’ll need a clay cast back (pictured), we don’t list these for sale online, but we can supply them if you call us, or your fitter may well have them in stock.

Along with a clay back you’ll need a solid fuel kit (pictured left) this consists of a grate for the coal to sit on, ash pan and a retaining bar to stop the fuel from falling. Then to finish off the look, you’ll need a trim and fret.

For any further help or advice, please use our expert team and contact us.

Can’t Have A Real Fire?

We also stock a large range of electric fires.

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