The fireplace screen is a protective device that prevents sparks and coals from burning wood from falling on the floor. For an apartment electric fireplace, a screen is required if there are small children in the house, and the fireplace is in heating mode. He will not let the child burn himself on the hot elements.
Fireplace screens are built-in and external. Built-in screens are installed in the fireplace during its laying out. Contrary to popular belief, the built-in screen is not installed once and for the whole life of the fireplace (this is how doors for stoves are installed). Only supports are built into the fireplace for fixing that part of the screen, which serves as protection from heat (the thermal protective collapsible screen is hung separately). If you did not take care of making a built-in screen during the ordering of the fireplace, then you can do it later, then the support will be laid out next to in front of the firebox. To do this, it is necessary to make insulation on the floor, in front of the firebox, lay out blocks of brick up to the middle of the firebox (this is somewhere from 30 to 50 cm in height). During the laying out, fire-resistant fasteners-angles are mounted on the curbstone, on which the screen itself is then hung.
There are built-in screens with a forged mesh frame, which have a decorative function. However, when the fireplace is heated, fire-resistant glass is inserted inside to protect the room from sparks.
External screens are usually made composite. The most popular three-piece composite screens. They are three high frames on a metal frame, hinged together. Fireproof glass is placed inside the frame. When the need for protection disappears, the frame "collapses" and is set aside.
If the fireplace is large, then use composite screens on separate frames. Screen frames are overlapped next to each other to partially overlap each other.
The mesh screen is used for open fireboxes. It is very convenient if there is not enough space in front of the fireplace, because the grid can stand very close to the fire. It has fine mesh and prevents coals from falling out of the fireplace.
Fireplace screens are made of metal, glass, mesh, superisol and even heat-resistant tiles.
The metal screen can be made of bronze, iron, copper. Forged screens can be of any shape and size: single canvas, composite, composite on hinges. Fine mesh also belongs to this type of screens. A forged or prefabricated metal screen can be used either on its own or as a frame for glass.
The glass screen has an undeniable advantage - it reliably protects against sparks and provides absolute visual access to the fire. Glass screens can be made of heat-resistant ceramics or tempered glass. Heat-resistant ceramics can withstand direct contact with a flame (safe temperature 760 degrees), but is not shock-resistant. Tempered glass is impact-resistant, but the maximum permissible heating temperature is 300 degrees, so it is installed at a distance from the firebox.
The glass screen may not have a frame at all, if the glass has a curved shape, then it stands by itself. Finger holes are usually made for easy portability.
Superisol or calcium silicate is an excellent material for a fireplace grate. It has low thermal conductivity and is often used in melting furnaces. When choosing a superisol screen, it is worth clarifying what material was used in the work: German, Belgian and Danish - good, Chinese - bad, its composition and properties have not yet been fully studied, and it can be hazardous to health and for the home.
Superizol is quite durable, it is easily painted with refractory paints (if you need to change the color), it is easy to make a screen from it yourself, no special tools are required, standard carpentry is enough. It is one of the best insulating materials available.
Decoration or necessity?
A screen for a fireplace is a rare element that simultaneously performs two functions: decorative and protective.
Even if the fireplace is made according to all the rules, if its base is insulated, it is located below the floor level, and a 30 cm high curb is laid around the firebox at a distance of 50 cm, it is still a potential threat to the safety of the owners. Especially if small children and pets live in the house. Animals like to sleep next to a heat source and often lie down directly next to an open firebox. If the fireplace is not wood-burning, then nothing terrible will happen, and if it is heated with wood, then sparks caught on the wool can lead to the death of the animal and a fire. And even an electric fireplace is dangerous for small children - a child can burn himself on the glass if the fireplace is heated. Therefore, the first function of the screen is to protect against flame and heat.
The second function of the screen is to increase the efficiency of the fireplace. Forged fireplace grates heat up from the flame and give off heat very well to the room; they are often used in winter to get additional heating with the same fuel consumption (biofuel, electricity or wood)
The third, important function is aesthetic. Fireplace screens can turn even the most ordinary hearth into a masterpiece of design art. The glass screen made in the form of a stained-glass window looks very nice. It allows you to bring a little medieval fairy tale to life, providing beautiful optical effects and a play of color
If you do not plan to start a fireplace in the summer, then it is best to choose an external screen for it. You can make such a screen yourself. For manufacturing, you will need tubes or a steel profile for the frame, accessories for fastening the protective screen itself, the material for making the protection - mesh or glass, hinges (if you want to make a folding screen).
A composite screen made of different frames that are not connected to each other is the easiest to manufacture. The hardest part is making the supports. It is necessary to make them weighted and stable so that an accidental touch does not knock the screen to the floor. Often a metal sheet or a sheet of superisol is used for this, about 30 cm wide and 15 cm longer than the screen frame. It acts as a stand to which supports are attached on both sides.
The simplest frame is made in the shape of an inverted "T" from two pieces of steel pipe. The height of the vertical support must be at least ¾ of the height of the firebox. This height is optimal for protection from sparks and makes it easy to put firewood in the fireplace without disassembling the hot structure. The horizontal pipe is the support. If you need to frequently clean up the structure, then instead of a solid screen, you can use a non-combustible cloth, attaching it from four ends to the stands. It is easy to twist such a screen and put it behind a cabinet or put it away on the mezzanine.