Nothing has quite the same impact in a room as a real fire. Choosing the right grate is important both practically and aesthetically.

1. Size


Forged Fire Grate

The starting point is the size of the fireplace opening. Measure this and make sure that your grate will have good clearance at the back (a minimum of 10cm, ideally more) and at least 5 to 10cm at the sides (again ideally more). You don’t want the grate to look undersized in the fireplace, but air flow is important and it’s better to allow plenty of space around the grate. Allowing the air to circulate will encourage warm air into the room where you want it. A grate should suit its surroundings both in style and proportions

Fires are messy things; logs and sparks can and do fall forward. It’s not a good idea to position the grate too close to anything damagable or combustible such as a rug or carpet.

2. Style

At the most basic level, the grate needs to be deep enough to hold the logs you’re planning to use in place. The grate should be raised from the ground, to allow air to circulate underneath the fire. Unless the grate is more decorative than practical, avoid anything too lightweight as this may not withstand many years of use.

A heavy firegrate designed to last from generation to generation

forged iron fire grate

Forged iron fire grate

Style is a subjective issue, but as a rule of thumb choose a grate that is sympathetic in style and proportions to your fireplace and room. An elegant fireplace calls for a different style of grate than an inglenook.

Whichever grate you choose, it will be quite a dominant feature in your room and it is worth taking time to get the best grate that you can.

Firebacks protect brickwork and can finish a fireplace beautifully

3. Fireback

Not every fireplace needs a fireback. However they have a number of advantages:

  • they protect vulnerable masonry from the damage inflicted by the intense heat of a fire, especially if you’re planning to burn fires regularly;
  • they reflect heat back into the room;
  • they can look very attractive.

If you do decide to have a fireback, make sure that it is at least as big as your firegrate. Whilst a tall fireback maximises the protection to the wall, it shouldn’t be so high that it extends into the flue opening and interferes with the drawing of the fire.

We manufacture a range of fire grates and accessories which can be viewed here and are very happy to give advice on request.

Next week I’ll be posting some advice on choosing the right fire guard, so please watch this space.


Forged Iron Firegrate741MB-1 Fire back cast iron

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