I installed a vented gas log set in an otherwise conventional masonry wood-burning fireplace. It works great. I'm now in the process of doing some room renovations, including tiling over the brick fireplace walls and refinishing the hardwood floors. In the process, I removed the raised brick hearth in front of fireplace, down to the underlying concrete slab. Consequently, the bottom of the fireplace opening is about 10 inches above floor level. Both a floor refinisher and a masonry contractor said that since the fireplace was now gas, there was no requirement for a hearth, and hardwood flooring could be laid over the concrete slab, right up to the fireplace wall. This will make the room look larger, and give the fireplace a very contemporary look (with the right doors). I contacted the local building inspector (I'm in New Jersey), and was told that because the fireplace was built for wood burning, that it must remain to Code for a masonry fireplace, even if converted to gas logs, and therefore a hearth made of noncombustible material must be present (it can be at floor level). The only exception is if the gas log manufacturer can provide data and proof that a hearth is not required. I contacted the manufacturer, and was told they do not provide any specifications regarding a hearth due to the wide range of variations in the fireplaces into which their log sets are installed. Their recommendation was that since the fireplace COULD be used to burn wood, then a hearth is required by code. But technically, since the gas logs do not emit sparks or embers, and they are raised well above floor level, a hearth serves no purpose. I would prefer the look of a uniform hardwood floor without a hearth area in front of fireplace. Does anyone have any experience with whether the building codes for a masonry wood fireplace still apply if its converted to vented gas logs? Has anyone completely eliminated their hearth after converting to gas?