Why do you need a fireplace grate or andirons?
Andirons and fireplace grates elevate the fire off the ground, improving the fire's position and draft. This method, dating back to the Romans, enhances wood combustion and efficiency. Initially, andirons were the sole method for maintaining a fire, but open fire baskets later became popular in England and France for better wood management and safety.
Kitchen andirons evolved to include spit hooks for grilling, and some featured bowls for heating or keeping food warm. Beyond functionality, wood fireplace grates and andirons also serve as decorative elements, enhancing the fireplace's aesthetic appeal.
10 tips for choosing wood fireplace grates and andirons
1 | Choose the right height of fire basket and andirons for a good draft
A higher placement of the fire via a wood grate, basket or andirons improves draft. Experiment with bricks and a grid to find the optimal height. Remember, a poor draft might have other causes.
2 | Take note of the density of the bars in the steel fire grate
The spacing of the steel bars should suit the size of the logs to prevent them from falling through, while ensuring adequate ventilation.
3 | Choose the width of the fireplace grate in relation to the width of the fire and of the fireplace
Adjust the wood fireplace grate width based on the fireplace size and your preference for fire size.
Read also: What size of wood fireplace grate do I need?
4 | Make sure the open fire grate is not wider than the fireback
Ensure the fire grate's width is proportionate to the fireback that protects the back wall and enhances the efficiency of heat radiation. At the same time, the grate or open fire basket shouldn’t be much wider than the fireback. Andirons or fireplace grates that extend on either side of the andirons or firedogs can be slightly wider than the fire back.
5 | Decide if a fireplace grate is necessary when heating with logs
Traditionally, logs were placed on the andirons, and you didn't need an andiron grate on the andirons or a fireplace grate as such. In this way, the logs received sufficient ventilation. Choosing andirons with a higher elevation at the front is essential to ensure that the logs do not roll out of the wood burning fireplace. For the same purpose, the bars of many French andirons slope downward.
6 | You don't need an ashpan; get used to a layer of ash
An ashpan often closes off the fireplace grate at the bottom so that no ventilation can be provided to the fire from below. Therefore there is -often much- less draft in the fireplace.
Without an ashpan you will always have a layer of ash under the fire. This layer of ash insulates against the cold from the floor so that heat is generated more quickly in the chimney. This results in a better draft. Therefore, never remove the entire layer of ash when cleaning the wood burning fireplace. Instead, remove just enough ash to leave a small layer. An additional advantage is that you do not have to move the (heavy) andirons or the (heavy) basket grate. Get used to the idea that the fireplace is no longer free of ash.
Read also: Do I need an ash pan in my fireplace?
7 | Fireplace grate or andirons with a grate are ideal for concealing the burner bed in a gas fireplace
Antique fireplace accessories, like grates or andirons, add significant ambiance, making a gas fireplace resemble a wood-burning one. This involves integrating the burner bed within a grate or andirons with a grate setup, carefully considering the burner bed's specifications for a seamless look. Customization might be required, but specialists in this area can provide solutions. Of course, not all gas fireplace installation companies are keen on this because customization is required. However, experts for this can certainly be found.
A gas fireplace with a beautifully concealed burner bed in the fireplace grate
8 | Cooking in the fireplace with andirons or a fireplace grate
Cooking in your fireplace can be a delightful experience. Use andirons with spit hooks for grilling, or place a gridiron between them for direct grilling. Alternatively, a fireplace grate allows for a grill setup in front of it, or use hanging tools for a varied cooking approach.
9 | Pay attention to the style of the andirons
Choose fireplace grates and andirons that complement the style of your home and fireplace. Whether you opt for the ornate Louis XV style for a Baroque setting or simpler Gothic wrought iron for a farmhouse look, ensure your selection enhances the overall decor. It's about making a choice that feels right for your space.
Read also: How do I decorate my fireplace?
10 | Pay attention to the whole set of fireplace accessories when decorating the fireplace
Combining andirons or grates with a fireback and other accessories can create a cohesive and visually appealing setup. Choose a uniform style or mix and match for a balanced look. When decorating a non-functional fireplace, all guidelines regarding fire safety can be set aside, offering more creative freedom.
If you have any questions about the right fireplace grate or andirons, feel free to reach out to us by phone (+31.653493998) or email ([email protected]). Providing us with the dimensions of your fireplace or a picture can help us offer precise advice.
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