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Will Solid Fuel Fireplace Hearth Without Joints Crack?

December 14, 2011

Answer: Solid fuel fireplace hearths need to be cut and rejoined & slabbed We often get approached by customers asking if it would be ok to have a solid fuel fireplace without cutting the hearth into sections. Essentially no one likes joints, however this is a necessary part of the manufacturing and specification process of solid fuel fireplaces to avoid the hearth (base section of fireplace) cracking

What is classified as solid fuel?

A solid fuel fireplace is any fire that burns real fuel. Hence a wood or coal burning fire would be classified as a solid fuel fireplace. Wood burning stoves or inglenook baskets are as also in this classification 

Why does the hearth need to be cut and rejoined?

1. Essentially the hearth needs to be cut and rejoined to create expansion joints. The joints allow the heat to disperse without the risk of cracking the hearth. If the hearth is not made in sections then the heat will not be able to disperse and would eventually form a crack

2. The hearth should also be bedded on sand and cement. This process is often referred to as slabbing. Essentially bedding the hearth creates a heat soak and absorbs some of the high temperature. This process again avoids the risk of cracking the hearth, and hollow fireplace hearths are not suitable for solid fuel fires

Do gas fireplaces need this?

Answer: NO 1. Gas fireplaces do not emit as much heat as solid fuel alternatives. For this reason gas or electric fireplaces do not need to be cut into sections or rejoined

2. Marble is the most common material used for gas/electric fireplace hearths and back panels as it is cheaper than stone, granite or slate. Marble is non combustible and suitable for gas fires/electric fires, however it is not suitable for solid fuel applications