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Opinions requested: Hearth and fireplace height??

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Woodrow, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. Woodrow

    Woodrow New Member

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    Thanks to the fine advice and info I've received here as a member, I've decided on an FPX36 Elite ZC Fireplace for my home. However, I'm at an important crossroads with regard to deciding my hearth and overall FP height. I was planning on a 1 foot high hearth with the firebox mounted not much above that. So I told the installer to make the hearth "seat" for the fireplace 1 foot high. Unfortunately, I didn't realize the fireplace itself (the part where the logs sit inside the FP) sits a good 10 inches or so above the base for the hearth. This results in the firebox being higher than I had anticipated or visualized in my mind prior to the install.

    The unit has not been fully connected or wired in yet, it's only sitting in the chase and secured with a few drywall screws. If I wanted to, I could still remove it and cut the support structure down to a lower height. But that's a lot of work and I'm not even sure I should do it. I'm unsure of myself, because on some level I think it looks ok as is. Ergonomically, the height of the firebox is easier to reach and load as well. Plus it sits at a height that is easy to view putting the flames in a more prominent position. But I dunno...does it look too high? I grew up in a house with an old fashioned fireplace that had a hearth maybe 8 inches high with the firebox sitting level on the hearth. So seeing this unit sit nearly 2 ft off the ground just looks a bit odd to me. But I have seen more modern fireplaces sit this high, and they are easier to sit on and enjoy their warmth.

    What do you guys and gals think? Does it look weird or do you think it's ok? All opinions welcome. Also, pics of similar setups would be appreciated. If I need to change it, it has to happen this weekend or I'm stuck with it for good. Thanks in advance for any insight!

    [​IMG]

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  2. madison

    madison Minister of Fire

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    If I understand it correctly that the hearth is going to be 3/4" high (or is it 12"??) , then I would raise the hearth in front of the stove 12 - 20", using the same stone as on the wall for the perimeter of the hearth and lay a slab of stone on top of that perimeter, and make it > than the minimum required extension ie ~ 20+"

    OR lower the FPX if a hearth is 3/4" off the current floor.

    Pictures of raised hearth in signature below. (Not with an FPX)
  3. Woodrow

    Woodrow New Member

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    Madison, the planned hearth height is 12 inches high. The wood 2x12 shown in the pic with "hearth" written on it is the profile of how high the hearth is. I've included a few pics below of the same image colored in (using MS paint software) so you can visualize what it would look like as is. I'm trying to decide if the fireplace "hovering" above the hearth looks ok or if I should go through the trouble of lowering it.

    [​IMG]
  4. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I'm not a fan of the hovering look. My last insert hovered and I didn't like it. The new insert sets on a step, which would be your hearth. I would lower it.
  5. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Why didn't you like it? What were the problems? Did the stove not function properly?
  6. Woodrow

    Woodrow New Member

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    Thanks for the opinions so far, keep em coming. I will say that I like the height of where it is right now from a wood handling perspective. Easier to load and clean the stove from that elevation. Plus the 6" lift between the bottom of the arch plate (i.e. the "D" part) and the top of the hearth makes it easier to have wood sitting on the hearth and still be able to open the fireplace door without it hitting the wood.
  7. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Aesthetics
  8. Dakotas Dad

    Dakotas Dad Minister of Fire

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    I will say this.. the people who bought our Homestead have it about 20" up from the floor to the feet.. firebox center is about 32" high... I like it. NO bending. I should get a picture..
  9. JJL1

    JJL1 New Member

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    I put two Quad 7100's in my house this past fall and both are raised. I think they look great that way, nice to look into the fire as opposed to down at it and easier to clean for sure. Also, looks like you have a cathedral ceiling like I have in my family room. I highly recommend adding a ceiling fan if you don't already have one.

    DSCN3859.jpg DSCN3896.jpg
    Heatsource and Blue2ndaries like this.
  10. EJL923

    EJL923 Feeling the Heat

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    My hearth is about 8" high and the insert sits right on that. I wish it was floor height like many fireplaces so it could grab some cooler air off the floor. My intake is all along the bottom of the insert, as you see in my avi.
  11. Blue2ndaries

    Blue2ndaries Minister of Fire

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    Hi Woodrow,
    I went thru this process a few years ago when we built our home. After reading several threads in the forum re: the pros of a raised hearth [e.g. easier to load/no bending, fire at eye-level, a place to sit...] we ended decided to go w/a raised hearth at 20". My wife and guests really enjoying being able to sit near the fire, well they can't sit by it too long when it really is going...;)

    Here are a few pics.

    FP1.jpg FP2.jpg Christmas 2011.jpg

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  12. Blue2ndaries

    Blue2ndaries Minister of Fire

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    JJL those are simply incredible installs. Looks like a Pottery Barn mag...Awesome work!
  13. Hiram Maxim

    Hiram Maxim Minister of Fire

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    Are You guys Photographers........Tell the truth?;)

    Wow those pictures are Beautiful!
  14. madison

    madison Minister of Fire

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    Wow great pictures ! And if the new forum interface has anything to do with the picture sizes and fidelity -- Thanks.

    I would agree with blue2ndaries that the added seating around the fire created by the raised hearth at a comfy seating height is a real plus - if you can get away with it, i would seriously give thought to raising the hearth and stove if your room allows...

    Maybe some added pictures of the room may help.

    Thanks go to both posters -- jj & blue for the great pictures.

    JJ -- 2 stoves? Wow
  15. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

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    I love the way those quads look. Those pictures are really beautiful.

    woodrow, if it were me I would leave it. I think its going to look great. I have an insert on the floor. I love the unit but if I could raise it up to that height that would be awesome.
  16. Heatsource

    Heatsource Minister of Fire

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    Nice fireplace porn in this thread :)
  17. Woodrow

    Woodrow New Member

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    Wow, thank you for the responses and especially the awesome pictures! After seeing what you guys have going on, I'm thinking I'll keep it at the height it's at. I really do like the increased accessibility to the firebox for cleaning and loading. I also tried sitting on various surfaces at various heights, and a 1 ft hearth seems too short. Something more like 15-20 inches seems much more comfortable. At that hearth height, the "hovering" effect goes away. And even then, the hover look isn't bad at all, I've seen it several times now and as long as the stone/brick work is done thoughtfully, it looks fine too. It actually reminds me of a stone or brick oven and doesn't look unnatural at all.

    Blue2daries I had seen your pics before and I actually tried to find them but couldn't earlier. THANK YOU for posting them, your fireplace looks fantastic, a truly well executed install. Makes me very comfortable in keeping mine right where it is. JJL1 thanks for your pics too! I really like the raised hearth with the compartments under it. Never seen one like that, but it makes sense to utilize all that volumetric space under the hearth. I might borrow that idea for my own.

    Thanks again everyone, really appreciate the input. Feeling better about which direction to go now.
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I'm glad to see some pictures. I was going to suggest making the hearth even higher so that it would be comfortable to sit on. I really like the idea of using the space underneath for wood storage. Hadn't seen that before.
  19. Woodrow

    Woodrow New Member

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    JJL1 - One more thing I forgot to ask: I plan on putting down hardwood floors in my living room. I notice that's how you have your rooms configured too. How did you handle the margin or seam between the fireplace stone and the flooring? I was thinking of using a molding, but from what I can see, you do not appear to have a molding. Your transition looks real clean and flat.Can you post close up pics and a description of how you handled the margin? Thanks...

    Begreen I do plan on raising the hearth from 12" to about 17" so that it looks basically like the ones Blue2daries and JJL1 have displayed.
  20. JJL1

    JJL1 New Member

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    Woodrow,

    I am glad to liked the pics. You are correct that there is no molding on either hearth. In the living room, there is a 6 inch high wood frame for the bottom of the hearth compartment that the stones are attached too. They sit about an 1/8" of the ground so they look real clean up close. The big slabs of stone on the ends that are used for supports for the hearthstone also have cement underneath them as well as behind. My preference would have been to have the wood storage compartment go all the way to the floor, but when I ripped the old hearth out, I discovered the builder snuck exhaust pipes for the hot water heater and furnaces in there. In the family room, I had the brownstone hearth bull-nosed and I had planned to place it directly on the wood floor and place a small quarter round around the edges. However, the 1" of Micore, a not so flat subfloor, and the cement underneath the stone placed the hearth about an inch off the wood floor. I was able to find a reddish thin set to fill the gap and when combined with the bull-nose, it gives the hearth a floating effect.

    As for hearth height, the living room hearth is 18" from the floor and 20" deep. I am 5' 8" and it is perfect for me. I would think anyone under 6' would find it comfortable. I am going through the planning process for a new patio with a sitting wall around the perimeter and 18" - 20" seems to be the favored height for sitting walls too. The hearth stone is 90" long which makes for quite a few extra seats when the bucket and tools are placed on the floor. The center compartment heats up to the mid-90's when I have a good fire going, so it is a good place to store wood to be burned the next day. The end compartments don't heat up beyond the room temp.

    The biggest potential issue I found with the raised hearth is the mantle height. I am not sure about your unit's requirements, but the Quad requires 60" from base of fireplace to bottom of hearth. That was a bit tight in the living room and I debated about putting a mantle in that room at all. In the end I am glad that I did. I also wired both for electrical, cable and ethernet (behind the pictures). I would not even think of putting a tv up there, but in case I ever sell the house people will be looking for it.

    I have found the ceiling fans to be a must have. I bought DC powered fans that are virtually silent and they use less than 18 watts on high speed. In the family room with the fan off the heat will rise to the top of the cathedral ceiling and stay there. When I turn the fan on, the temp on the furnace control will increase by 3 degrees within minutes. It also helps in moving the heat out of the room and up the stairs into the bedrooms.

    Also, thanks to the others for the compliments. I started the process about 2 years ago and I am glad I agonized over this for as long as I did and did not install the first thing that was proposed. I looked though a lot of magazines and catalogs (including Pottery Barn) to come up with the final designs. I found visiting the stone yards to be very helpful. I did not know what Tennessee Crab Orchard was before I started this. Now I am planning on using it in other projects. The idea for the wood compartment came from the website of the stone quarry that cut the stone for the living room (Champlain Stone). They have hundreds of cool stone fireplace and chimney pictures. The mantels are reclaimed pine timbers and a breeze to stain compared with the young pine used in the new windows in the family room.

    And yes I agree 2 Quads may sound like a bit much, but the issue was the old builder special fireplaces that were great as windows, but terrible as fireplaces. I had no choice but to replace both - I was tired of the freezing draft coming in. I was hoping to put a Quad in the living room and a stove in the family room, but there is a LVL beam in the family room chase and it would have had to be moved in order to meet the stove requirements. More work on my part and more money, so I went with 2 Quads.

    Unfortunately I still have a lot of work to do in the family room - millwork, painting, staining. Should be done by this time next year!

    Regards,

    Jon

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