Fireplaces are fantastic additions to a home. They’re generally built into a wall, but they do stick out at least a little bit in most cases. If you’re trying to furnish your new living room with a new fireplace, it’s good to know how far they actually stick out!
Traditional EPA zero-clearance fireplaces tend to be around 26 to 28 inches deep. How much it protrudes into the room will depend on the space in which you fit it, the unit you choose, and whether it is an insert (below a chimney) or freestanding in the room.
A fireplace usually consists of multiple parts; the firebox, a hearth, and a mantel. These will all stick out a certain amount, so we’ll cover precisely how much in this article. There’s also the safety concern as well, which we’ll also cover!
How Far Does A Fireplace Stick Out?
The typical fireplace is 26-28 inches deep, and they generally stick out with at least 10-15 inches. But how much it sticks out fully depends on how deep you place it inside your wall. There are also fireplaces that don’t stick out at all; these are built within your wall.
How far the fireplace will stick out really depends on your home and your fireplace. Some fireplaces are built into a wall so as not to stick out at all, while others can stick out multiple inches. It really all depends on your model and where you place it.
Beyond this, your fireplace itself does not necessarily have to stick out a certain amount. The safety regulations apply to the hearth, which surrounds your fireplace, not the fireplace itself.
How Far Does A Hearth Stick Out?
According to InterNACHI (International Association of Home Inspectors), a freestanding fireplace must have a hearth measuring at minimum 33x 33 inches; furthermore, at each side of the fireplace, the hearth must extend 8 inches, and the front should extend 16 inches.
The primary function of the hearth is to prevent any nearby surfaces or materials from catching fire – either from the heat of the stove or from fuel falling out when the doors are open. To best understand why and by how much your hearth will stick out, it’ll be easier to understand what makes up the hearth to begin with:
- The safety layer is the bottom layer and is usually made of concrete (anything inflammable will work). This acts to prevent damage to the flooring.
- The decorative hearth/ layer acts as a visual warning to keep the area clear. It is usually made of tiles and sits on top of the safety layer.
Together – concrete and tiles – they form the hearth and a ‘Visual Warning Area’ (VWA). They must also have a combined thickness of 5 inches, although some modern, certified fireplaces can have this reduced. The height difference to the floor serves to further mark out the VWA.
Fire safety regulations differ between regions, so the easiest way to know how much your fireplace will stick out is to check specific rules for where you live and for your fireplace itself. Therefore the following dimensions should be used as a guideline first and foremost, with actual measurements confirmed by your fireplace manual or state regulations.
Hearth dimensions for a freestanding fireplace:
- 33x 33 inches minimum dimensions for the hearth.
- Must be wider than the fireplace by 8 inches each side (for InterNACHI).
- Must have at least 9 inches of VWA in front of the fireplace, measured from the stove door, however many manuals ask for 16 inches (including InterNACHI) to be safe.
Hearth dimensions for when you will use your fireplace with the stove/ glass doors open:
- Must be at least 12 inches of VWA in front of the fireplace, but again this can be overridden by manuals asking for 16 inches.
Lastly, not a strict requirement but usually recommended by insurance companies is to keep furniture more than an arm’s length away from fireplaces, while fireplace manufacturers recommend this be a minimum of 3 feet away from a fire burning fireplace. This applies even if you use a fireplace screen, chain-link curtains, or glass doors.
How Far Does A Mantel Stick Out?
The mantel should stick out at least 6 inches from the wall as this allow it to effectively deflect heat from your fireplace (protecting the decorations atop your mantel). Depending on what you are placing on top of it, you may extend it further, but try not to dip below it protruding 6 inches from the wall.
In terms of its placement, homeowner agencies tend to require it to be at least 12 inches above the uppermost part of your firebox to keep the mantel safe from the flames and heat. These should be considered as a minimum, and bear in mind if you plan to hang stockings at Christmas, you may wish to extend this further.