How Rules of Fireplace Surrounds Affect Design Plans

fireplace surround makeoverFireplaces create a fantastic ambiance, and it’s exciting to make plans for a new fireplace installation. However, certain aspects of fireplace surrounds are dictated by local, state, and national laws. Understanding these laws can be helpful. It’s not unusual for homeowners to find out that their fireplace surround design plans won’t work because they don’t adhere to safety requirements.

 Fireplace Surround?

The fireplace surround is the decorative element of a fireplace that surrounds the fireplace opening.



The area immediately around the opening must be constructed with noncombustible material.The surround, if made with combustible materials, must meet legal guidelines.

Which Rules to Follow

Fire safety and surround material rules vary and are determined by each state and local government. Local codes, if any, are the most important because they take precedence over the National Fire Code and the National Standard Building Code. When there are no local codes, national fireplace regulations should be followed.

Examples of National Fire Codes for Surrounds

The two national codes for fireplace surrounds have slightly different safety requirements.

National Standard Building Code

If decorative surround materials are combustible, all elements of the surround must be a distance of at least 6 inches from the firebox opening. If those decorative elements project outward more than 1 ½ inches from the fireplace face, additional clearance is required. As combustible elements project out further and further, more clearance is needed.

Fireplace Surround Installation in Westport, CTNational Fire Code

The same 6-inch distance requirement for combustibles applies to the National Fire Code. Other than that, for every extra inch of protruding decorative elements, an additional inch of clearance is required.

 Surround Design

When you are choosing a fireplace at a hearth store, experts can help you by effortlessly recognizing potential issues with placement and design. Save the frustration of having to scrap unworkable plans for your fireplace. Consult with an expert!

For instance, let’s say you want a large flat-screen television above your fireplace. That can work unless you also want a huge firebox. You’ll need to make a choice because a large firebox means your television would be situated too high on the wall to be practical for viewing. Several things need to be considered to create needed balance. If there’s a mantel, the TV should be a few inches above it. You can have a TV over the fireplace even if you have a raised hearth, but the firebox will need to be smaller.

Visit the Yankee Doodle Showroom

The best place to go for a great selection of fireplaces plus expert help is Yankee Doodle Stove & Fireplace Center. The destination showroom at Yankee Doodle is in Wilton CT on scenic Rt 7. It’s a great place to view many heating appliances in full operation. It’s easier to imagine how different fireplace styles might look in your home when it has a fire going inside. You can discuss your design and fireplace surround ideas with the knowledgeable staff and find out how the products fit with your plans. Visit at 848 Danbury Road or call today at 203-544-8111 for more information about fireplaces, custom fireplace surrounds, and safety requirements.