Hearths are a safety regulation mandatory for every fireplace. They’re made of non-combustible materials, but what if your entire floor is made of non-combustible material such as concrete? Do you still need a hearth then?
Concrete is a commonly used material for hearths, so if your floor is only concrete, there’s no need for a hearth. If you have wooden tiling (or any tiling for that matter) on your concrete floor, a hearth is still required. Wooden tiling is combustible and doesn’t uphold the safety regulations.
This article will cover the hearth requirements for all types of fireplaces that you can place on a concrete floor. The rules can differ per fireplace type, so make sure to keep on reading!
Do You Need A Hearth On A Concrete Floor?
Concrete is a commonly used material for hearths, so if a fireplace is situated on a concrete floor, there is no need for a hearth. If your concrete floor is just a base for (wooden) tiling, a hearth is still required, as the tiling could be made of combustible materials.
Hearths serve as a safety measure, preventing embers and ashes from setting fire to combustible materials in your home. In order to serve you properly, a hearth needs to be made out of non-combustible materials that can withstand heat without breaking or cracking.
Some of the most popular types of materials used for hearths are:
- Ceramic Tiles
As you can see, one of the commonly used materials for hearths is actually concrete.
Concrete can resist heat without cracking and is non-combustible. This makes it an excellent material for a hearth. But if your whole floor is made out of concrete and there is no combustible tiling on top of it, a hearth becomes kind of obsolete.
It wouldn’t really make sense to place a hearth made out of non-combustible material on a floor made out of non-combustible materials.
However, this only goes for floors made out of concrete that doesn’t have any combustible tiling laid on top. Wooden tiling is a popular choice amongst homeowners, but wood is, of course, flammable. Even though your foundation might be made out of concrete, the wood is laid on top of it. In this case, a hearth is mandatory.
What Types Of Fireplaces Can You Place Directly On A Concrete Floor?
There are several types of fireplaces on the market (wood-burning fireplaces, gas fireplaces, and electric fireplaces), and they all have differing hearth requirements.
Can You Place A Wood-Burning Fireplace Directly On A Concrete Floor?
Wood-burning fireplaces cannot be placed directly on the floor and always require a hearth. They burn solid fuels, so chunks of wood or coal can fall out of the fireplace, posing a fire hazard.
As a general rule, any fireplace that burns solid fuels requires a hearth. Solid fuels tend to spark and send embers flying. They can also just fall out of the fireplace.
Both of these things pose a fire risk. One flying ember hits the wooden floor the wrong way, and you could be in serious trouble. That’s why a hearth is always required for a wood-burning fireplace.
However, if your floor is made solely of non-combustible material, a heart is usually not needed. You could just place the fireplace directly on your floor.
Still, many states and countries still require you to install a hearth. It’s a general rule, and since it’s all about safety, there usually isn’t much room for exceptions.
Also, you could just place a concrete hearth that blends in perfectly with your floor. And if at any point in the future you want to set some tiling, your hearth is already there!
Can You Place A Gas Fireplace Directly On A Concrete Floor?
Gas fireplaces can be placed directly on the floor, as they’re classed as appliances; thus, they don’t require a hearth. Floors of all materials can be connected directly to the fireplace (unless stated otherwise by the manufacturer) without there being a fire hazard. Gas fireplaces are known as the safest fireplaces.
Most modern appliances nowadays use gas, and the same goes for gas fireplaces. In fact, a gas fireplace is seen as an appliance, and appliances don’t require a hearth.
Even though gas fireplaces have a real flame, gas burns so cleanly that there is no need for a hearth. This is especially true for fireproof floors such as concrete floors, but even regular (and even wooden!) tiling can be connected to the front of the fireplace.
Unless listed differently by the manufacturer, a modern gas fireplace does not need a hearth.
Can You Place An Electric Fireplace Directly On A Concrete Floor?
You can place an electric fireplace directly on the floor. Electric fireplaces don’t require a hearth, as they don’t have actual flames. Electric fireplaces have fake flames and provide heat through the use of a heater. This makes it so there isn’t any danger of things catching fire or overheating.
Electric fireplaces are very safe as they don’t contain actual flames. Inside the fireplace, there’s an intricate mechanism of mirrors that creates the illusion of flames. This is supplemented by a heater which provides the heat. However, unlike traditional fireplaces, most electric fireplaces only heat a small portion of the room.
But since there’s no danger of things catching fire, there’s no need for a hearth. Not on a concrete floor, but also not on any other floor. Unless listed differently by the manufacturer, an electric fireplace does not need a hearth!
Is Concrete A Good Hearth Material?
Concrete is an excellent hearth material, as it is durable, non-combustible, won’t crack, and can be painted to fit your interior. Concrete is also a cheap material, making it accessible for everyone.
For a hearth to function correctly, it has to uphold some standards.
- Fire resistant.
- Can withstand high temperatures
- Doesn’t crack
Concrete ticks all of these boxes.
Concrete is fire-resistant and non-combustible, and it’s also able to withstand up to 200 Fahrenheit. Since there will be no actual burning on the concrete hearth, this temperature limit is sufficient.
Furthermore, concrete doesn’t crack under 200 Fahrenheit and below, and it’s quite durable.
Aside from that, concrete is also easy to style to your liking. It’s easy to paint or mold into something that perfectly fits your interior!