How not to burn down the house?
May 24, 2010 6:24 AM   Subscribe

How do I stop my hearthless fireplace burning down the house?

I've got a great fireplace but not only is there no hearth, there's carpet all around it. Last year I got around this by having a cheap rubber rug/mat with tinfoil underneath to catch burning embers and stop them making holes in the carpet but it was fiddly deal and I can't help but think there's a better solution out there.

It's a rental property so I can't do any permanent changes like putting in a proper hearth or pulling up the carpet. Also, I got a chimney sweep in last year to make sure it really is a functional fireplace and not just decor!
posted by Silentgoldfish to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
A fire guard? (this kind of thing)
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:38 AM on May 24, 2010

How about putting big terracotta tiles on the carpet around the fireplace?
posted by gregr at 6:51 AM on May 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

I work for a company that sells fireplace accessories online. Can you say a bit about what made you unhappy with the cheap rubber rug/mat? It seems like a purpose built version of that might be the best solution, given that it is a rental property. 'Hearth rug' or 'hearth pad' are the search terms that you want; or send me a MeMail and I can link you to our site. A fireplace screen or guard like EndsOfInvention suggests will be safer and perhaps more attractive, but will be more expensive.
posted by Kwine at 7:07 AM on May 24, 2010

If you go to a fireplace supply store, you'll find that most places will custom make a piece to go on the floor which is made of wood and topped with heavy tile or slate. They're pretty common.
posted by nevercalm at 9:41 AM on May 24, 2010

Response by poster: Maybe in North America but I can't find any fireplace supply store that's not geared towards the wealthy here; given that I may not be in this house next year I'm not looking to spend too much money!

My problem with the cheap rubber mat is that embers burn through it to the carpet underneath, sort of negating it's purpose entirely. I'd not heard of hearth rugs before you sail them but some cursory research has reviews complaining that they've got the same problem of not really protecting carpet from embers - or is that just the really cheap ones?

I'm thinking terracotta tiles may be the way to go for me!
posted by Silentgoldfish at 10:20 AM on May 25, 2010

The problem with hearth rugs is that they aren't regulated; anyone can call any rug a 'hearth rug' and sell it to you even if it isn't fire-resistant at all. You want a fiberglass hearth rug, or a wool hearth rug. Don't get anything else; especially anything synthetic. False security is worse than no security!

(Your terracotta tile idea is good also, if you can get them cheaply--my comment is more for future viewers of this thread than for you)
posted by Kwine at 10:52 AM on May 25, 2010

OK, now that I have some more time...the piece is called a hearth pad.

If buying isn't your thing, and you're feeling a little crafty, it's basically a shaped piece of plywood with some sort of fireproof flooring on it, like you'd floor a room in your house: grout and tile, with a nice finished moulding edge.
posted by nevercalm at 5:01 PM on May 25, 2010

(The materials for which can be found at any hardware store, btw....fireplace supply joints tend to skew towards the pretty expensive end (sorry Kwine).)
posted by nevercalm at 5:03 PM on May 25, 2010

No need to apologize! Like many things, you can save money on a hearth pad if you do it yourself, at the cost of your time and having to have a certain amount of skill. Some people build their own PCs and some people go to Dell. I don't think that it's feasible for most people to DYI a safe hearth rug, however.
posted by Kwine at 7:13 AM on May 26, 2010

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