Installing a Fireback in a Wood Fireplace Installing a Fireback in a Wood Fireplace

A fireback is an excellent method of increasing the heat output and efficiency if a wood fireplace. Firebacks serve both as decoration and as a practical way to increase the heat from a fireplace so that the fireplace not only heats the area in front of the fireplace, but also the entire room. They are relatively easy to install, although some assistance may be needed to place it in the fireplace.

What Is a Fireback?

Firebacks were originally decorative pieces of cast iron that were placed at the back of a wood fireplace to improve the heat output of a fireplace. In the past, this was highly necessary as a fireplace was often the primary source of heat in most homes. Without a fireback, the heat from the fire would be absorbed into the brick masonry at the back of the fireplace, making it very inefficient. The fireback takes the heat of the fire and reflects it back into the entire room.

Installing a Fireback

When you install a fireback in your fireplace, you will need to make sure that everything has been removed from the fireplace and that it is entirely clean.  This means taking out the grate and using not only a small broom to sweep the firebox clean of ashes and debris, but also taking a shop vac or vacuum and thoroughly emptying the fireplace.

Once you have the firebox clean, then you can place the fireback into the firebox.  It should be centered and placed so that it is approximately one inch from the back of the fireplace.  Also, it should be centered in the firebox.

Tips for Placement


Remember that a fireback is made of heavy cast iron, so you will need assistance getting it in place.  Once it is in the firebox, then you can shift it and make adjustments.

If the fireback is sitting too low, place a few bricks underneath it to raise it.  It has to be high enough to radiate heat out into the room.  You do not want it sitting so low that the heat simply stays trapped in the fireplace box.

Use Saf-T-Boots to secure the fireback in place at any desired angle and for safety. Saf-T-Boots are designed to support firebacks of any size and weight.

A fireback is an excellent way to not only add a decorative element to your fireplace, but also to increase the energy efficiency of your fireplace for  heat distribution.  Using a fireback can increase the heat input of a fireplace to the point where it is possible to heat an entire living room or even a larger open living area or floor of a small home.

Got a New Project You're Proud of?

Post it on Your Projects!