Tips to Protect Your Hardwood Floor From Your Fireplace
Hardwood flooring has become a valuable commodity in many homes for its beautiful appearance and long lasting durability. Unfortunately, because it is wooden, it is susceptible to damage. A particular and sometimes not a though of concern are fireplaces that are near or in contact with hardwood flooring. This is a potential fire hazard, and sparks and bits of burning wood can scorch and damage the hardwood floors. However, this does not mean you’ll have to replace your hardwood flooring if it is near a fireplace. Here are a few tips that will help protect the portion of hardwood flooring that is near a fireplace.
- Purchase a Hearth Extension
Hearth extensions are placed outside of the fireplace and act as an extension of the hearth, with the specific purpose of protecting flooring from scorching and fire damage. These extensions are usually made of slate, brick or stone, but you can also use hearth extension pads made of other non-combustible materials. One option could be doing a raised section of the floor with a brick or stone surface, which can work for traditional fireplaces and/or wood stoves.
- Having a Working Grate or Cover
Another essential way to protect your floors from fire damage is to have a grate or a cover for all fireplaces. The type of grate/cover depends on the specifications of your hearth, but they should all be non-flammable. It must have openings to allow the smoke to filter through, but those openings should be small enough to prevent any sparks or burning wood from falling through which will risk damaging your wooden floors.
- Only Burn Wood
Whether you use traditional fireplaces or a wood stove, burning only wood is a way to protect your floors. Other flammable materials like paper can cause the fires to burn hotter and cause damage to your hearth over time because this will send out more sparks and other potentially hazardous scraps. Make sure to never start a fire using grease, oil, lighter fluid or any other combustible substances since this can pose a danger to both you and your floors.
- Don’t Overuse Fireplaces
The materials used to build fireplaces are designed to withstand heat, but overusing fireplaces can damage the structure, which could cause damage to your floors in the long run. Make sure not to keep a fire going for excessive periods of time, because extreme heat could melt even metal. Also, if you have a wooden stove, a primary concern is over feeding your fires because their enclosures are smaller.
If you take these precautions and follow the advice listed above, it is possible to maintain the integrity of your hardwood floors in the same room as the fireplace. By investing in a hearth mat and maintaining your fires responsibly, you can make sure to keep your hardwood floors safe from damage.