Flammable Materials Around Your Fireplace — Some Dos and Don’ts
Your new fireplace will undoubtedly reinvigorate whatever space it inhabits. But that space must also be fit for a fireplace, filled with safe, noncombustible materials. What doesn’t fit anywhere near any kind of fire are flammable materials. Before you install the fire, be sure you follow these materials dos and don’ts.
DON’T Place Chemicals Nearby
Anything left near the fireplace is in danger of overheating or having flying embers on it. This is particularly dangerous when you leave or use gases, chemicals, compressed liquids, paint, or aerosols around the fireplace.
In a family home, common culprits are aerosol cans of hair products or sun protection as well as holiday decor featuring artificial chemicals. Businesses need to be particularly careful, though, because more people will pass by the fire element (possibly leaving combustible items haphazardly) and more combustible materials are often on a work site than in a home.
DO Use a Good Surround
The fireplace actually consists of two basic elements: the firebox (where the flames sit) and the surround which provides a frame. The hearth, or surround, separates the flames and heat from potentially flammable or combustible materials.
Most fireplace owners choose traditional, nonflammable stone or brick for their surround. However, you have many choices for a beautiful decor that matches the room’s style and your taste. Modern fireplaces can be finished off with chic steel, glamorous marble, industrial-looking concrete, or tiles.
The final appearance is up to you, but the important part is that you use nothing behind the surround that could be combustible at high temperatures.
DON’T Allow Fabrics Close
Look around the area where a fire element will be. What type of organic materials will sit near the unit? All fabrics are potentially flammable and need to be several inches away from the firebox.
If the fireplace is in your reception lounge or office, it could easily sit next to upholstered furniture, tablecloths, and curtains. If any of these is dangerously close to the heat, rearrange the furniture or opt for different window coverings.
DO Install Flame-Resistant Rugs
Many homeowners, as well as restaurants or cafes, like the coziness that carpet and rugs provide. But a standard rug next to close flames could be a problem due to heat and any crackling. The good news is that you can have it both ways with modern flame-resistant carpeting choices. These are of both natural and synthetic fibers designed to withstand high heat without melting.
For smaller areas, look for floor coverings specifically labeled as hearthrugs. You can find them in fibers ranging from nylon and wool to fiberglass. When choosing larger rugs and carpet, opt for flame-retardant choices.
DON’T Crowd the Fireplace
Permanent materials aren’t the only ones that can create a fire hazard. People and miscellaneous stuff around it can be a problem too. Place furniture at a comfortable distance from the fireplace to discourage people from staying too close. Create intentional traffic patterns that take guests and customers well away from the flames rather than requiring them to walk in front the fireplace.
Both in the office and at home, keep an eye out for objects left lying around the fireplace. In your waiting area, for example, if you notice children’s toys scattered around in front of the cozy fire, pick them up and return them to a designated children’s play area. The farther you direct normal activity away from the fire, the longer it will take for flammable objects to make their way back to it.
Want more tips on creating a safe way to enjoy a fire wherever you put one? At Alpine Fireplaces, we know the ins and outs of all sorts of fire elements. Call today to learn more about how to use the right and avoid the wrong materials before you light your first fire.