How is a fireplace fitted?

This guide is intended to give general information about installation of decorative fireplaces. Fireplaces Are Us accepts no responsibility for any issues arising from use of this guide. You should use a qualified engineer to install a working fireplace. Failure to do so may invalidate your warranty and violate building regulations.

You should use a HETAS qualified engineer to install a solid fuel fireplace.

You should use a Gas Safe Register qualified engineer to install a gas fireplace.


Fitting tiles into traditional inserts

  • Line the tiles up on the floor, making sure the patterns match up correctly

  • Turn the tiles over so they are face down

  • Use strips of wide masking tape to stick the rows of tiles together at the back

  • Place the insert face down on the floor

  • Run a bead of black heatproof silicon sealant or black fire cement around the outer edges of the tile frames

  • Place each set of 5 tiles firmly into the appropriate frame and press firmly into the sealant

  • Run beads of sealant along the tile bars

  • Position the tile bars so that the bolts line up

  • Gently tighten up the bolts – take care not to overtighten as this will cause the tiles to crack

  • Lift the insert up and check the tile pattern is lined up correctly

  • Put the insert to one side for the sealant to set


Fitting a fireplace hearth

  • Place the hearth onto a sand and cement bed, making sure that

    • The sides of the hearth are equal distances from the chimney edges

    • The hearth is central to the opening of the fire

    • The rear edge of the hearth is against the plaster line of the chimney

  • Use a spirit level to make sure the hearth is level from side to side and front to back

  • Please note that stone can absorb colour from the sand and cement mix – you may need to use washed white sand or place a plastic membrane between the hearth and the concrete, depending what the hearth is made of

  • Gas fireplaces require a channel behind the hearth for the gas supply pipe


Fitting a concrete fire back and preparing the fireplace opening

  • Cover the hearth with an old blanket

  • Place the insert on top of the hearth

  • Place the surround against the insert to that it lies flat against the chimney

  • Mark out on the wall the area which needs to be opened up

  • Open up the required space

  • Cement the base of the fireplace opening so that it is level with the hearth

  • Place the concrete back into the fireplace opening, making sure it is lined up to where the insert will sit

  • Back fill with sand and cement. Loose rubble can also be used to back fill

  • When you reach the top of the fire back, flaunch to 45 degree angle

  • Position the lintel, with the flat side facing forward, onto the top front edge of the fire back and fix in place with sand and cement

  • Brick up above the lintel with sand and cement, making sure you seal all around the front and top of the fire back

  • If there are any rough areas above the fire back within the chimney space, you should smooth them off to ensure air flows freely up the chimney


Fitting cast iron inserts with wooden surrounds

  • Place the insert on top of the hearth in front of the fire back

  • Place the surround against the insert

  • Use a pencil to mark the position of the surround on the wall

  • Remove the surround

  • Measure the thickness of the outer surround leg, then mark it on the wall inside the outline you drew previously

  • Use screws to attach 2” x 1” battens to the chimney breast, making sure they are within the inner outline

  • The battens should be the full height of the surround legs

  • Place the surround against the wall, making sure the battens are positioned within the legs

  • Use screws to attach the surround to the battens at the top and bottom of the legs

  • Now use either fire cement or fire rope (1”-2” thick) to seal the cast iron insert onto the fire back


Combination fireplaces
  • Measure the outside of the cast back and mark this in pencil onto the chimney breast (from the top of the hearth)

  • Remove bricks from the marked out area until the opening is large enough for the cast back to fit into

  • Install a lintel above the fire opening

  • Stand the fireplace on the hearth

  • Use a pencil to mark the outline of the fireplace onto your wall

  • Remove plaster from the area you have marked out

  • Once you have reached bare brick, drill holes at the sides of the fireplace to line up with the screw eyes

  • Firmly attach the fireplace to the wall using rawl plugs and screws

  • Back fill behind the cast back (access though the opening at the rear) using either vermiculite or rubble mixed with sand and cement

  • Flaunch at a 54 degree angle to the back of the chimney space

  • Plaster around the completed fireplace

  • Use a damp cloth to remove any cement or plaster deposits from the cast iron

  • Immediately dry the cast iron or it will rust


Repairing dents in wooden surrounds

If you accidentally dent your wooden surround, don't panic. Most dents can be repaired, so long as the wood hasn't split or splintered. Wood is a porous material. If it gets wet it will soak up the water like a sponge, causing it to expand. This characteristic can be used to invisibly repair dents.

What you will need
  • A cup of hot water

  • Toilet paper or kitchen roll

  • Wax for finishing


What to do
  • Make sure the damaged area is free of dust or debris

  • Take a couple of sheets of toilet paper or kitchen roll and screw them up

  • Dip the paper into the hot water, taking care not to scald yourself

  • Hold the wet paper against the dented area for 20-30 seconds, depending how deep the dent is

  • Remove the paper and immediately dry the area

  • The dented area should have raised

  • Repeat if necessary

  • Allow the surround to dry for at least 24 hours

  • Once the timber is dry, you can wax the repaired area using the instructions in our waxing section


Waxing a wooden surround

Waxing a wooden surround will revive old finishes and give protection at the same time. It protects the materials underneath the wax while adding a sheen to the surface. It is normal to wax a wooden surround every 1-2 years, but you can do so more often if you like. Wax polishes are available in both tinted and clear finishes.

What you will need
  • Wire wool (0000 grade)

  • Lint free duster

  • Gloves

  • Hand wax product such as Fiddies Supreme Wax


What to do
  • If the wood has been waxed before, you will need to remove the old wax so that you don't simply create a build up of wax on the surface

  • Wax can be cleaned off by applying turpentine to the wood with a soft rag, then lightly rubbing down the surface along the grain using 0000 grade wire wool (remember to wear gloves when using the wire wool)

  • Apply a small amount of wax to the surface of the wooden surround

  • Use the duster to rub the wax into the wood using light circular motions, going against the grain

  • Allow the wax to set (following the manufacturer's directions)

  • Use a soft, clean cloth to buff to a shine, using circular motions

  • You may need to use a furniture brush on carved areas

  • Repeat application of wax as necessary


Care of cast iron fireplaces

Cast iron is a beautiful material for fireplaces, but it needs a little TLC when first installed and from time to time to keep it looking its best. A protective coating is applied during manufacture which can give a dull appearance to the metal. Polishing a newly installed cast iron fireplace will bring the surface up to a shine ready to show it off to all your friends. The polished surfaces of your cast iron fireplace will become dull over time, so occasional polishing is necessary to restore the appearance

Cast iron will rust quickly if exposed to moisture. Direct contact with liquids, for example by spilling or by wiping with a damp cloth, will quickly cause formation of rust unless immediately dried. Cast iron can also be affected by moisture in the atmosphere. For this reason it is best not to install a cast iron fireplace in a room which gets damp, or in a freshly plastered room. If surface rust develops then polishing the fireplace will usually completely remove it, as well as protecting the surface.

What you will need
  • Gloves

  • Lint free duster

  • Vacuum cleaner

  • Wire wool (0000 grade)

  • Metal polish (you can also use WD40 or 3 in 1)


What to do
  • Make sure you wear gloves

  • Apply a small amount of metal polish to some wire wool

  • Use the wire wool to firmly rub the polish into the metal

  • Repeat until all the polished areas are covered (you may need to rub hard to remove rust or other marks)

  • Use a clean piece of wire wool to rub down the surface of the polished area

  • Continue until you are satisfied with the level of shine.

  • Apply a small amount of polish to a new piece of wire wool

  • Work the polish in to build a protective coating