Last week I posted some tips on choosing fire grates and backs. This week I’m looking at fire guards. If you’re thinking of buying a fire guard this winter, I recommend that you bear the following in mind:
1. What’s the main purpose of the guard?
If it’s to stop crawling babies and toddlers from touching a fire, you’re safest using a proper nursery box grate that you can attach to the wall. However if it’s to protect the room from sparks and falling logs you have more choice. A guard with a mesh screen across it will provide more protection than a guard without a screen. Look for guards fitted with a fine but robust raised steel mesh, to protect against sparks but allow a good view of the fire.
2. How large should it be?
Aesthetically, a large fireplace calls for a large fire guard and a small fireplace calls for something smaller.
Practically, the deeper and wider the guard, the more protection it will give. Sparks do not always shoot obligingly forward, so allow some overlap either side of your fire, as well as plenty of height above the fire. (But make sure a portly middle aged gentleman with a large sack of presents can squeeze through!)
3. Should it be straight or hinged?
If your fire sits deeply within a recess you may prefer a straight fire guard across the fireplace opening.
If this isn’t practical, hinged fire guards provide very good side protection.
4. Where will it go when it’s not across the fire?
If you’re not planning to have the fire guard in place all the time, consider how easy it will be to store. A hinged guard with a concertina action will take up minimal space.
5. What style should I choose?
Few things make a house a home as effectively as a real fire. A stylish fire guard is one that doesn’t compete with the fire, but sits comfortably within the room. Your fire guard, like your grate, is one of the basic things to get right, so invest in a classic guard that will stand the test of time. Ring the changes in other ways – your mantelpiece display can reflect the seasons with candles, flowers and interesting objects, but your fire guard needs to work all year round.
6. I need help!
Give us a call on 01473 826680 or look at our fireside range, beautifully hand crafted in the UK to warm your home for many years to come.