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How to Replace a Fireplace Cover

Mason Mark McCullough helps a homeowner replace an old set of fireplace doors for a fresh new look and improved safety.

Mason Mark McCullough helps a homeowner solve a burning problem: replacing a fireplace cover. With the homeowners’ enjoying a wood-burning fire every now and then, they’re concerned about their old fireplace doors and stubborn flue, and Mark knows just what to do.

How to Replace a Fireplace Cover

Note: It’s important that the fireplace be absolutely cool, with no embers or coals, so it’s best to wait several days after the last fire before attempting this job.

  1. Lay a drop cloth on the hearth, butted up against the doors. With the fireplace doors open, scoop the ash from the fireplace and place it in the garbage bag. Also, use the shop vacuum to clean the soot and ash in the fireplace.
  2. Remove the old doors by locating the mounting bolts and loosening them. These bolts are often rusty or covered in soot, making them difficult to remove. If pliers aren’t doing the job, it may be necessary to cut them off with a reciprocating saw, or bend them open with a pry bar.
  3. Inspect the fireplace to ensure that the firebricks inside the firebox are in good shape, and that the flue works properly. If there is significant creosote build-up, it’s a good idea to call a chimney sweep service.
  4. Measure the fireplace opening for the new doors. Measure the width at the top and bottom, as well as the height at the left and right sides. Record the smaller of each measurement and order a new set of doors using those dimensions.
  5. With the new doors on-hand, place a drop cloth on the hearth and carefully lay the new doors face down. Use a utility knife to cut and install fireplace insulation around the inside of the fireplace doors according to the manufacturer. This insulation helps the doors regulate airflow and retain heat.
  6. Locate the fireplace training bolts and clip them into position in the back of the surround. If there are several mounting locations, this might take a bit of trial and error to get a perfect fit. Be sure to install clips at all four corners.
  7. Fit the doors in the opening and then open the door to gain access from the inside. Use the pliers to tighten the top bolts in place. Ensure that the bolts wrap over the top of the lintel (the metal bar that stretches across the top of the fireplace). With the top bolts snug, move to the bottom bolts and repeat the tightening process. Check to ensure that the fireplace doors are even and level, and adjust as necessary.