Sunday, December 4

What Is a Fireplace Back Panel?

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If you want to create a stunning fireplace in your home, then there are several items that you’ll need to do the job; one of which is a back panel. But, what exactly is a fireplace back panel? Keep reading and Direct Fireplaces will tell you everything you need to know!

Fireplace back panel definition

A fireplace back panel is basically a panel which fills the space between the fireplace opening and the fireplace surround. Whilst it doesn’t necessarily ‘do’ anything, it’s an integral part in the overall look and feel of a fire. 

Without a fireplace back panel in place, you’d simply see the bare wall between the fireplace opening and the fireplace surround – not exactly a sophisticated look. 

To help you understand exactly what a fireplace back panel is, we’ve indicated it in the image below.

Fireplace back panel illustration

Fireplace back panels are generally available either as part of a complete fireplace package; being packaged alongside a surround, mantel, hearth and insert. They can also be bought independently – this is particularly useful if you are renovating a current fireplace, for example.

What types of fireplace back panels are there? 

Just as there are many different types of fireplace surround and hearth, there are many different types of fireplace back panel. 

Because of their proximity to the fireplace opening and insert, back panels will usually be made from a similar, heat-resistant material to the hearth. As such, it’s possible to buy fireplace back panels made from materials such as granite, marble and slate.

As well as these heat-resistant materials, it’s also possible to buy fireplace back panels made from wood – however, wood back panels should only be used with electric fireplaces. They are not suitable for use with gas or solid fuel fireplaces. 

Customisable fireplace back panels

37in x 37in Solid Black Granite Back Panel No Cut Out

37in x 37in Solid Black Granite Back Panel No Cut Out

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It’s also possible to buy fireplace back panels which do not have the fire surround already cut out. These are perfect for instances where you are installing a new insert and aren’t entirely sure how big it is. Alternatively, no-cut out back panels are also good for occasions where your existing fireplace opening is of an unusual size, where standard pre-cut back panels won’t fit.

Why should you use a fireplace back panel? 

As we have mentioned above, the primary function of most fireplace back panels is aesthetic. If you simply install a fireplace insert and a fireplace surround, you’ll be left with exposed brick or plaster around the fireplace opening.

Anglia Limestone Fireplace Package with Electric Fire

Anglia Limestone Fireplace Package with Electric Fire

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Installing a back panel is a simple and cost effective way of covering up that exposed wall space and giving your fireplace a nice, uniform, consistent look.

Fireplace back panels can also add to the overall strength and rigidity of your fireplace. Think of it this way – a back panel helps to connect and ‘bridge’ the gap between the surround, opening and hearth.

How are fireplace back panels fitted? 

Fireplace back panels are generally fitted at the same time as a fireplace surround (as well as the insert if you’re installing something like a gas fire). 

Because of this, adding, removing or simply changing a fireplace back panel can be a big job as it involves removing other parts of the fireplace at the same time.

In general a back panel is installed after the hearth has been put in place. Once the hearth is installed, the back panel is then lined up against the fireplace opening and screwed directly into the wall. 

Tip – if you are replacing a back panel, remember that you may need to drill new holes in the wall (depending on where the holes are in the new panel).

Kingsford Limestone Fireplace Package with Annabelle Electric Fire

Kingsford Limestone Fireplace Package with Annabelle Electric Fire

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Following this, the fireplace surround is put in place. This sits in front of the back panel and will be held in a number of different ways depending on what type of surround it is:

  • Cast iron fire surrounds are usually affixed to the wall using brackets.
  • Wooden fire surrounds will typically be screwed directly to the wall.

With the surround back in place, your fireplace will be once again complete. 

Note – some fireplace surrounds will come with an integrated back panel. In such instances, you won’t need to install the back panel separately from the surround.

Gallery Carlton Limestone Fireplace Complete with Gas Fire

Gallery Carlton Limestone Fireplace complete with Gas Fire

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How much does a fireplace back panel cost? 

The price you should expect to pay for a fireplace back panel will largely depend on what material is used in its construction. 

Below we’ve set out some approximate prices for each type of back panel:

  • Wooden fireplace back panel – from £179.
  • Granite fireplace back panel – from £240.
  • Marble fireplace back panel – from £245.
  • Slate fireplace back panel – from £345.

As you can see, the prices of fireplace back panels vary considerably based on your choice of material. 

Note – prices are correct at the time of writing (November 2021). They are, however, subject to change.

Gallery Hutton Arctic White Fireplace Package with Electric Fire

Gallery Hutton Arctic White Fireplace Package with Electric Fire

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The best fireplace back panels for your home

Whether you’re renovating an existing fireplace or installing a new one in your home, it’s a good idea to include a fireplace back panel as part of your build. 

As we mentioned earlier, a back panel provides a beautifully cohesive look to your fireplace, and is often far more preferable to leaving bare exposed brickwork or plaster around your fireplace opening. 

So, if you want to buy a fireplace back panel for your fireplace, what are your options? Well we’ve set out some of our most popular options below.

37 Inch x 37 Inch Black Granite Back Panel with Standard Cut Out

37in x 37in Black Granite Back Panel with Standard Cut Out

37in x 37in Black Granite Back Panel with Standard Cut Out

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A black granite back panel will add a sense of solidity and elegance to any fireplace. This particular back panel is suitable for use with either gas or electric fires and features a standard cut-out opening, meaning all you have to do is fix it to the wall around your fireplace opening. 

The black granite used in this back panel is smooth to the touch and is easy to maintain, whilst also having a slight ‘fleck’ in it to provide added definition.

Arctic White Micro Marble Back Panel

Arctic White Micro Marble Back Panel

Arctic White Micro Marble Back Panel

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Suitable for use with gas or electric fires, this Arctic White Micro Marble Back Panel will add the perfect finishing touch to any white fireplace build. 

Made from a man-made, resin-based marble, this back panel is available in two width sizes; 33 inches or 37 inches. Simply select the correct size for your fireplace when placing your order.

37 Inch x 37 Inch Slate Back Panel with Standard Cut Out

37 Inch x 37 Inch Slate Back Panel with Standard Cut Out

37 Inch x 37 Inch Slate Back Panel with Standard Cut Out

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If you want to create a truly imposing, impressive fireplace, then a slate back panel is the way to go. Slate is both smooth to the touch and easy to maintain.

Should you really want to make the back panel the centre of attention, then you can also make it jet black by adding a little slate oil to it. 

It’s also easy to fit. Why? Because it features a standard cut out which is able to accommodate a standard size gas or electric inset fire ( 420 x 572mm or 16.5 x 22 inches).

Find everything for your next fireplace project at Direct Fireplaces

We hope you’ve found our guide to fireplace back panels useful. If you’re looking to renovate a fireplace, or perhaps install a new one in your home, then you’ll find everything you need to get the job done here at Direct Fireplaces. From individual back panels through to complete fireplaces with inserts, explore our site to see our complete range.

Shop fireplace back panels at Direct Fireplaces now

For more fireplace buying guides, advice and information read the Direct Fireplaces blog

Fire Baskets Buying Guide | What Qualifications Should a Fireplace Installer Have? | How to Remove an Old Fire Surround and Fit a New One

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