Firebacks-What They Are, Why You Need One - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney Systems

A fireplace fireback with firedogs in Clos Lucé castle (Amboise, France).
Photo credit – Ceridwen, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Do you want to enhance your fireplace while also adding more heat efficiency, but don’t want to tear up or replace your whole fireplace? You can add a decorative fireback instead.

What Is A Fireback?

You know that striking polished iron plate at the back of your fireplace or that imposing piece of coated steel at the back of your neighbor’s hearth? That is a fireback and it does more than just decorate.

Firebacks are heavy iron or steel plates sized in proportion to fireplaces and are placed against the wall at the back of the fireplace. They are usually embossed with vibrant imaging that includes Victorian floral motifs, Roman gladiators, coats-of-arms or even historical scenes.

Benefits of a Fireback

Protection and Safety

Dating back to the times of our colonial forefathers, firebacks have been used as a protective material that prevents damage to the rear masonry of fireplaces.
Burning logs, huge fires and flames that raze for days on end emit a lot of heat which will keep your family warm for longer, but will also damage your rear hearth (). Wall materials such as daub, soft stone and brick tend to get heavily corroded by constant heat, necessitating a fireback to restore dignity to your fireplace.

The heavy iron plates are strategically leaned against the back of the fire, preventing its heat from reaching the rear wall. That way, no matter how bright the fire burns or for how long, the building fabric remains protected.

Heat reflection

Fireplace efficiency is a growing concern for a majority of homeowners. Bare fires are unable to channel all the heat produced into the room. About 70% of it escapes through the hearth fabric and the chimney. Homeowners may vainly plow in more logs into the furnace, endangering the rear wall, and still getting little tangible differences in radiated warmth; a fireplace’s version of diminishing returns.

Firebacks remedy this with both their heat absorption and radiation traits. The iron plates absorb a portion of the heat that may otherwise have been lost and reflects it back into the room, increasing efficiency by up to 50%!

Mountain View Fireback - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney Systems

Mountain View Fireback
from Fireside America

Aesthetic Beauty

A bonus that is often overlooked is that firebacks decorate your fireplace. Through their various shapes, sizes, images and even shades, a touch of aesthetic design and even historical charm is added to an otherwise yellow brick surface.

Choosing the Right Fireback

For gas fireplaces, iron firebacks are the best choice while for wood fireplaces, both steel and iron are available options. After figuring out the metal to use, the rest is all about style.
Style revolves around aesthetic appeal, space considerations and design preferences. The fireback should be wide enough to cover the hearth wall but leave just enough space, about 3 to 10 inches of rear wall visible. It should also not be high enough to reach the flue of the opening as it would hinder the drawing of the furnace.

You need a fireback that protects your back hearth wall, maximizes on efficiency and aesthetically complements your fireplace. At Owens Chimney Systems, we have just that. Give us a call and choose from a wide variety of available firebacks that will have your fireplace burning brighter and warmer than ever.