The Fireplace Grate
When the cold snap hits, wood burning fireplace owners often keep the fire on daily. That extra dose of warmth and comfort, really takes a bite out of the cold. But as you place those logs in your fireplace; are you aware of how important the grate is to that fire? The fireplace grate, also known as a cradle, is an essential part of the wood burning fireplace system, and often overlooked when it comes to the maintenance of your fireplace. There are a few things you should consider when outfitting your fireplace with a grate, so that you can really maximize the heat your fireplace gives off and improve the efficiency of your fire.
A typical fireplace grate raises the logs off the floor just a few inches. This allows for air to flow beneath the logs, feeding oxygen to the fire. It also creates air flow that will direct the smoke up your chimney. A fire that burns efficiently means less smolder which results in less creosote build-up on the fireplace walls and chimney.
Since fireplaces vary dramatically in sizes, it’s important to take a rough measurement of your opening so you can find a cradle that will fit properly. A typical cradle will sit about 3-4” away from the back wall and 3-5” away from the sides. As many fireplaces taper towards the back, so do the cradles. The bars of the grate are usually just an inch or so apart, allowing for plenty of air to get through to the wood, and space for ashes to settle.
The durability of the grate you require really depends on how much burning you do. If you occasionally burn on the weekends, or at the cottage a standard grate will work. Our standard cradles are made with 3/8“ solid steel bar and are approximately 14” deep. We offer a heavy duty cradle, made with ¾” round bar, that we recommend to anyone who is burning daily. It is also 14” deep, but the thickness of the bars can withstand more heat. These are designed to burn 3 or 4 logs at a time.
We also carry an extremely heavy grade grate, we call the industrial. This is designed for very large fireplaces, like a Rumford, where there is room to add quite a few logs, or where you may be burning for extended periods of time. They are made with 1” x 1” solid steel bar. Depending on the length, it can way about 75lbs. You might want to have an extra person on hand when you are bringing this one home.
You will want to make sure that the cradle fits completely in your fireplace and doesn’t interfere with a glass door or fireplace screen. You should remember to start every fire with a clean base, sweep out all cool ashes so that air can travel to the kindling. If you are burning for extended periods of time, and you notice the ashes build up to the grate, take some time to push them aside with your iron tools. This will keep the main logs nice and hot, and preserve the life of your grate.
We would love to hear from you, feel free to contact us if you have any questions about your grate or if you think you require a custom size.
We make all our products with pride, right here in Canada.
Written By Vitania Liscio