Is a hearth necessary?


Old 01-21-07, 10:01 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Virginia
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Is a hearth necessary?

Our fireplace has a 1 inch thick slate hearth.

I plan on redoing our laminate hardwood floor, and would like to remove the hearth entirely for a more streamlined, contemporay look.

My question: Is the hearth functional, or is it just decorative? For instance, by removing it and not having a hearth at all, does that leave the flooring in front of the fireplace vulnerable to heat damage? Sparks? etc. If so, I assume we could buy a decorative "hearth" mat to put down in those rare instances when we do make a fire. (We rarely use the fireplace; in fact, we've never used it since we moved in 3 years ago.)

Thanks for any advice.

Old 01-21-07, 10:05 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Is a hearth necessary?

I believe there requirements for noncombustible materials in the front of the fire box (sparks, logs rolling, etc.). I think it depends on the height of the hearth above the floor.

Requirements like that are usually NOT satisfied by a temperary ot moveable item that may not be in place.

Perhaps someone can give you details.

Old 01-21-07, 01:29 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
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Check with your local building codes office. Fireplaces must be constructed according to code. Building codes tend to vary from area to area.

2114.36 Fireplace hearth extensions shall be of approved noncombustible materials for all fireplaces. Where the fireplace opening is less than 6 sq.ft. (0.56mē), the hearth extension shall extend at least 16 inches (406mm) in front of the facing material and at least 8 inches (203mm) beyond each side of fireplace opening. Where fireplace opening is 6 sq.ft. (0.56mē) or larger, the hearth extension shall extend at least 20 inches (508mm) in front of the facing materials and at least 12 inches (305mm) beyond each side of the fireplace opening. Where a fireplace is elevated above or overhangs a floor, the hearth extension shall also extend over the area under the fireplace.

For laminate installation, the hearth can be undercut to accommodate the laminate. This will give it a more professional looking installation. Slate is a contemporary look in decor.

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