How to install a cast-iron fireplace
June 12, 2007 4:39 AM   Subscribe

How do I install a cast-iron fireplace?

Please forgive my DIY newbie-ness. I've recently purchased a cast-iron fireplace--it's the same kind of deal as these, though it's an original not a reproduction--and I'm looking for tips on how to install it. I don't yet have the surround/mantelpiece, but I'm thinking I'll need to attach the fireplace to the wall somehow first, right?

Herein lies the problem: there aren't any holes for screws. Neither are there any pegs or hooks on the back to attach a wire to. Should I use some kind of strong glue to attach a wire to the back, hook a screw onto the other end and screw that into the wall? Should I use cement? Is it sufficient, even, to let the surround (which will be screwed to the chimney breast) hold it in place? Any other suggestions?

If anybody has any experience/tips on this I'd be very, ahem, grateful...
posted by Life at Boulton Wynfevers to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I could be completely wrong about this, but I think the mantel holds them in place? Either that or the weight of the thing?
posted by Solomon at 5:25 AM on June 12, 2007

Mantels are usually completely decorative. The surround should attach to the insert, I believe you will need to insert the surround before the fireplace (there should be a lip that sits behind the fireplace. My parents have a cast iron stove (which doesn't appear to be the same thing you have) that was bolted to the floor through a rather thick piece of slate (~1.5"). If you are going to be using the fireplace for heat, not just decorative, glue won't work - most glue would quickly deteriorate under the heat.

Do you have a liner in your fireplace? Sometimes there are "attachment" locations on the liner for the fireplace.

Doing a google search for "fireplace insert" installation brings up some helpful sites (with graphics).
posted by blackkar at 5:40 AM on June 12, 2007

We bought a cast-iron fireplace about a year ago. I considered installing it myself, but then decided to get the pros to come in and do it. I don't know if I've ever made a wiser decision in my home-owning life.

If you do it yourself, I hope it works well for you. But I would encourage you to do a ton of research, and to visit fireplace forums, like at, or this helpful page at
posted by Alt F4 at 6:21 AM on June 12, 2007

Response by poster: Thank you for the replies. I did wonder if the mantel would hold it in place.

Good point about the glue, blackkar. I am going to use it for heat, yes. Think I'll drop that idea.

I'm not sure that these fireplace inserts are quite what I have. What I've got is more like a large plate that sits at the base of the chimney covering the opening. It has a built in grate for the wood or the coal or whatever, and a hole above that through which the smoke--if everything works as it should--is drawn. These inserts seem to have more to them than that, including chimney attachments that go up the chimney proper. (Could be that these are more a US design, I'm in the UK). Also, there is no liner--just a hole in the wall.

Thanks again, guys. And any other suggestions based on this would be most welcome...
posted by Life at Boulton Wynfevers at 6:24 AM on June 12, 2007

It may be a good idea to have a liner in your chimney. If they aren't a requirement in your region, you still may want someone to come out and do a thorough cleaning of the chimney before you start installing anything - it will be easier to get to and create less of a mess while you are fumbling around in there later.
posted by blackkar at 6:52 AM on June 12, 2007

im in the same process as you. ive just bought a new house, am in the process of removing the back boiler. and ive inherited a nice marble mantel, i need to find a cast iron grate thingy though. where did you get yours from?
posted by dnc at 9:20 AM on June 12, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks again, blackkar. I don't think liners are a requirement in the UK, but I'll check. Otherwise, you're right, I'll be getting a sweep to come and give the chimney a good clean before I put it to use.

dnc: my question's slipped off the front page now, so not sure if you'll see this, but I got mine from a reclamation yard. They had both original and reproduction fireplaces. Cost was about 200 quid.
posted by Life at Boulton Wynfevers at 2:24 AM on June 13, 2007

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