limestone fire surround


C

Chris Styles

Dear All,

I recently bought a limestone fire surround (which I am yet to install), and
when I asked if it was suitable for use with a real open fire, I was told by
the vendor it was.

Recently I have heard that the way you can tell if a fireplace is suitable
for real fires is if the herth is in three parts, with the joins aligned to
the aperature of the fire - I assume this is for expansion? The fireplace we
have bought (as suitable for real fire) has a single solid slab of limestone
for the herth.

Basically, am I screwed? Can I use the solid slab as a herth, or have i been
sold a dud? It is a fab fireplace though, so I'll bet the missus would use
it is an excuse to stop me having fires :-(

Any advice appreciated
 
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A

Andy

Chris Styles said:
Dear All,

I recently bought a limestone fire surround (which I am yet to install),
and when I asked if it was suitable for use with a real open fire, I was
told by the vendor it was.

Recently I have heard that the way you can tell if a fireplace is suitable
for real fires is if the herth is in three parts, with the joins aligned
to the aperature of the fire - I assume this is for expansion? The
fireplace we have bought (as suitable for real fire) has a single solid
slab of limestone for the herth.

Basically, am I screwed? Can I use the solid slab as a herth, or have i
been sold a dud? It is a fab fireplace though, so I'll bet the missus
would use it is an excuse to stop me having fires :-(

Any advice appreciated
The technical term is 'slabbed and jointed', and yes, your hearth should
come in
three pieces all joined together, and the surround should be slabbed and
jointed
in three pieces similarly ( if you have a stone surround ).

What sort of fire have you got? Is it an open fire basket shedding ash onto
the
back hearth just behind the superimposed ( limestone ) hearth? I think that
would
be the worst situation, as the heat from the basket will be very near the
hearth.

If you have an arrangement where the fire can't 'see' the hearth so well
that might
let you get away with it. Do you have a fireplate? A fireplate is a strip of
metal
(usually brass ) embedded in the hearth directly in front of the grate. It
will be
the width of the fire aperture and maybe 5" deep. A fireplate keeps hot
ashes
and cinders off the superimposed hearth. Having one of these too might help.

The problem with open fires is that the heat output can exceed the 3kW that
a
standard gas fire can put out, so the hearth may be apt to get rather hot,
though
I have a Jetmaster woodburner inset firebox and haven't found the hearth to
get
terribly warm. You might also have less chance of it cracking if you have a
log fire,
especially of the inset firebox type. On average I would say log fires put
out less heat
than a coal fire, but that's just my opinion.

The short answer is, noone can tell you whether it'll crack, you'll just
have to decide
if you want to take a chance.

Andy.
 

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