This blog article is around fireplace hearth extension rules, but first, a rapid story to describe why I\"m blogging about such a boring topic.

You are watching: If a firebox is elevated, the hearth should be

I\"ve stated it before and I\"ll to speak it again; one learns native teaching. We\"ve constantly to be adding brand-new home assessors to our company since 2009, which method that I\"ve not only had actually the satisfied of cultivate a the majority of fine individuals, however I\"ve had actually the opportunity to find out a lot of of new information. Maintain others forces one to research topics and to look at up recommendations to prove the information being taught. In part cases, it makes me take a closer look at something the I\"ve constantly gotten wrong.

While doing a residence inspection with one of the newest examiners on our team, Matt, us came across a hardwood burning fireplace through a tiled hearth extension. Matt instantly well-known this as a defect, note the fact that the hearth extension should be a minimum the 2\" thick, and presumably covers concrete. In this case, the hearth extension contained tile on optimal of wood. The tiles were loose and the wood listed below was badly charred, as you can plainly see in the picture below.


Bad news, right? This would have actually been an agree installation if the material below the tile was concrete, but that obviously wasn\"t the case. So whereby does the need for a full 2\" hearth expansion actually come from?

I turned to the really Minnesota structure Code demands for fireplace hearth extensions, and that\"s wherein I found my answer. Section R1001.9.2 of the 2015 Minnesota Residential Code states the following:

R1001.9.2 Hearth expansion thickness. The minimum thickness the hearth extensions shall it is in 2 inch (51 mm).

Exception: When the bottom of the firebox opened is raised at the very least 8 inches (203 mm) over the height of the hearth extension, a hearth extension of not less than 3/8-inch-thick (10 mm) brick, concrete, stone, tile or otherapproved noncombustible material is permitted.

According come the exception, this fireplace would have been well if the firebox opening was at the very least 8\" over the floor. At the point, it\"s acceptable to have actually a an easy tiled hearth extension. The whole purpose of the hearth extension is to make sure that embers or logs that fall out the the fireplace don\"t start the floor top top fire.

Also, the hearth expansion must extend at least 16\" native the former of the fireplace and 8\" ~ above the political parties for smaller sized fireplaces. When the opened of the fireplace is at the very least 6 square feet, the hearth extension needs to prolong at the very least 20\" from the front of the fireplace, and 12\" on the sides. This is shown in the diagram below, courtesy of the fine folks at Code Check.


Also, simply a small bit of background on the matter: my earliest code book is a 1967 version of the UBC, which required a hearth expansion of 18\" in front and 8\" on the sides, regardless of the dimension of the fireplace opening.

That requirement readjusted in the 1976 edition of the UBC to the numbers that we have actually today.

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Does any kind of of this history matter from a residence inspection perspective? for sure not. We\"re not code enforcement officials. It\"s just trivia. Included listed below are a couple of photos showing different fireplace hearths, in addition to my commentary on what renders them agree or not.