Don’t be Afraid of Fireplace Doors

Our house was built in 1978. Many of the fixtures were original to the house. For instance, we have these lovely fireplace doors with a chain link curtain. Vertical Before Horizontal BeforeIt finally became time to replace it when it was increasingly difficult to open the glass doors, and the chain curtain was so bent that it wasn’t stopping sparks from hitting our hardwood floors. I started pricing new doors over a year ago. Sometimes I move really quickly on a project and others times it ferments in my brain for ages before I actually do anything about it. I figure I’ve solved every problem in my head in advance with this approach. Most of the time, that’s true. Not always. But in this case. Yup! No surprises. My biggest fear was mismeasuring the opening and then ordering the wrong size door. So I measured a bazillion times and wrote it down.  Then D— and I went shopping. I’d already looked online, so I felt I had a pretty good idea of what we were looking for. The three stores we went to all had about the same thing. The prices were about the same too. The big box hardware stores don’t stock doors, as it happens. But I didn’t love anything in the stores. Not enough to pay several hundred dollars more than I knew we needed to. So I went back to the internet. I took a closer look at Lowe’s and TA DA! found something that both of us could agree on. Let me just take this moment to say that D— frequently wants something very stripped down and modern looking while I prefer the more Colonial/traditional look. I’m a wainscoting girl. I love Colonial Williamsburg. He likes mid-century Danish modern. So it can be a challenge finding an item we both love. So for only a few hundred dollars (as opposed to a few more hundred dollars), I got our new doors in just 2 weeks. The first thing to do was get the old, gold, heat scarred, and did I say gold? doors off.

It was really a piece of cake to unscrew all the old bolts and remove the door. D— was napping in his favorite chair through the whole thing. That’s how much of a not-big-deal this was. The only other thing was a very old, dusty piece of silicone caulking that had been put across the bottom of the door. It peeled right off. Open Vertical Open Horizontal See how nice and clean? All ready for the new doors. Door in Box At this point, I had already removed all the packing  and attached the handles. One of the things that helped me, I think, was that I was in absolutely no hurry to do this. When D— takes a nap, it could last for 2 hours. I had Planet of the Apes (the Mark Walberg version) on TV for company, so I was all set. The door company provided insulation to put behind the metal, but I didn’t think it was enough. Neither of the local big box hardware stores carried a fireplace rated insulation, so I reused the stuff that was in the old door and put the new stuff on top of it. SUPER insulated. They say it’s only there to prevent the metal from getting scorched, but I wanted to make sure smoke or cold air didn’t seep out into the room after the doors had been closed. The hardest part was holding the top of the door in place while I screwed in the new upper brackets. I put a 9-volt flashlight on its butt inside the fireplace and screwed everything in. After Vertical

And then we tried it out. I think I’m in love! After w-Fire HorizontalI learned something else through this whole adventure too. Never ever close the glass doors while you are burning a fire. You don’t need the front vents the old doors used to have since we’ve all learned this valuable lesson. The only time we closed them completely was when we went to bed. Otherwise, we’d adjust the amount they were open so we could control the air flow and control the fire. And the nice, clean mesh doors make jot so much easier to actually see the fire. >sigh< I think I’m ready for a glass of wine now.

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