Firebacks - Decorative feature with important functions
Whats available? Fireback ideas
Firebacks are a decorative feature with two very useful functions; to protect the firebox masonry and to radiate heat. Exposure to open flames causes brick to crumble and unsightly stains to form on masonry. By using a fireback, made from thick cast iron, the potential for expensive repairs to damaged masonry later can be virtually eliminated.
Thick plates of cast iron can endure years of abuse from hot flames while also absorbing heat that would ordinarily escape up the chimney. This heat can then be radiated back out into the room. Using firebacks and chimney dampers are two effective ways to make wood burning fireplaces and vented gas fireplaces more heat efficient.
Firebacks are positioned at the back of the firebox and usually stand on the floor of the hearth, however, devices known as 'boots' can be used to elevate a fireback up off the floor and position it at almost any angle in relation to the fire. 'Boots' can help make a fireback more visible behind the fire by raising it up a few inches.
The decorative aspect comes from the rich variety of designs that are cast into the front face of the fireback. These can range from antique reproductions, including coats-of-arms and historical scenes, to custom-made personal designs. The possibilities are endless. The play of light from the flames on these molded patterns, from either fire or candlelight, is simply beautiful. Firebacks would make wonderful housewarming gifts with personal motifs inscribed on them.