double sided outdoor fireplace questions

jpcjguy

Member
Jul 1, 2015
58
richmond, va
Hi all,

So I am planning on expanding our outdoor patio area and looking to do a freestanding outdoor fireplace that is two sided - and wood burning. The idea is to have sitting areas on both sides - with the long term option of having one side get a hot tub one day.
So someone school me on the challenges/pitfalls/etc. of a double sided fireplace. I read posts of people wanting double sided for indoor/outdoor and the sealing challenges - but I won't have that since I am all outdoors. I guess my issues would be around drafting, flue size, etc.
Any advice, suggestions welcome!

Thanks
Joe
Richmond, VA
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
85,996
South Puget Sound, WA

Designsbydaniel

New Member
Sep 28, 2018
3
Myrtle Beach, SC
Hi all,

So I am planning on expanding our outdoor patio area and looking to do a freestanding outdoor fireplace that is two sided - and wood burning. The idea is to have sitting areas on both sides - with the long term option of having one side get a hot tub one day.
So someone school me on the challenges/pitfalls/etc. of a double sided fireplace. I read posts of people wanting double sided for indoor/outdoor and the sealing challenges - but I won't have that since I am all outdoors. I guess my issues would be around drafting, flue size, etc.
Any advice, suggestions welcome!

Thanks
Joe
Richmond, VA
Hi,
I am designing a house for a client and am including pretty much the exact same setup you've described. Completely outdoor, 2 sided wood burning fireplace. I am having concerns, as were you, about functionality in breezy conditions, drafting, flue size/height. I was wondering if you wouldn't mind sharing some details about how your project turned out and any insight you may be able to provide. Hope to here back.

Thank You
Dan
Myrtle Beach, SC
 

barnaclebob

Feeling the Heat
Nov 29, 2017
265
Puget Sound
I think there was a recent thread on here were a mason inexperienced in designing fireplaces made someone a beautiful outdoor brick fireplace that was poorly designed. Smoke poured out the front of it because something about the smoke chamber, smoke shelf, and chimney sizing was off. Make sure you've got someone experienced with actually building fireplaces and that they are using an established design. It would probably be a good idea to post the design on here once you have it so the experts can chime in.
 

Designsbydaniel

New Member
Sep 28, 2018
3
Myrtle Beach, SC
I think there was a recent thread on here were a mason inexperienced in designing fireplaces made someone a beautiful outdoor brick fireplace that was poorly designed. Smoke poured out the front of it because something about the smoke chamber, smoke shelf, and chimney sizing was off. Make sure you've got someone experienced with actually building fireplaces and that they are using an established design. It would probably be a good idea to post the design on here once you have it so the experts can chime in.
Thank you for your reply. We will be using an ISOkern or firerok system. All components are prefab and are assembled by a local installer approved by the manufacturer. The brickwork is just a single course over a wood framed wall. So the mason really won't be doing anything but siding the fireplace. That being said, this is an approved design by the manufacturer, however, there is a disclaimer regarding windy conditions. Of course the question is, How windy does it have to be to hurt functionality. I was hoping to talk to someone who actually has this type of design installed to get their take and to see if they had any problems.I am consulting the manufacturer regarding flue size and height but don't want to rely completely on the manufacturer or supplier to tell me everything will be ok as they have their disclaimer in place and have a motivation to sell.
 

firefirefire

Member
Feb 10, 2008
38
Minnesota
I did one of these many years ago and you stirred up some memories of the wind challenges. One thing we did not realize when putting this in is the potential for the wind to rip straight through the fireplace and make an ashy mess all over the patio. I would pay close attention to the orientation of the fireplace in relation to the direction that the wind generally comes in from, avoiding a direct straight line through the unit. I believe we ended up putting a set of doors on at least one side to alleviate the wind issues .
 

Designsbydaniel

New Member
Sep 28, 2018
3
Myrtle Beach, SC
I did one of these many years ago and you stirred up some memories of the wind challenges. One thing we did not realize when putting this in is the potential for the wind to rip straight through the fireplace and make an ashy mess all over the patio. I would pay close attention to the orientation of the fireplace in relation to the direction that the wind generally comes in from, avoiding a direct straight line through the unit. I believe we ended up putting a set of doors on at least one side to alleviate the wind issues .
Thanks Fire. The scenario you described is one that I was imagining. We are looking at dual flues and mechanical exhaust systems but I don't think we will be able to avoid a set of doors on one side. At least I don't see how right now. The prevailing winds are lined up at about a 45deg angle to the thru line. There is some obstruction from this direction but not a whole lot. Doors work for me. Use them when you need them. Open them up when you don't. Not sure if my client will agree. I'm wondering if it still needs a fan. Wondering how breezy it has to be before drafting gets affected. .....
 

firefirefire

Member
Feb 10, 2008
38
Minnesota
I would keep the chimney as tall as you can get away with. You could always run conduit before the facing is on and prepare for a fan if you need one. The fan will make the area much more pleasant to sit around and could potentially reduce your chimney size. There is always the noise factor when the fan is running though.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
23,118
central pa
I would keep the chimney as tall as you can get away with. You could always run conduit before the facing is on and prepare for a fan if you need one. The fan will make the area much more pleasant to sit around and could potentially reduce your chimney size. There is always the noise factor when the fan is running though.
Much more pleasant other that the annoying fan. They are pretty loud and are a pain to maintain.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,715
Philadelphia
I have had two outdoor fireplaces, including one on the patio at my current house. We’ve also had three houses in the family with two-sided fireplaces, one being straight thru, and the other being adjacent faces in the corners of two adjacent rooms, all were open from one side to the other, no fireback between the rooms.

Now, what I wonder, esp. in your case of an outdoor fireplace, is why not just put a fireback between the two sides? Seems it would solve all draft concerns, as well as actually give the thing some chance of throwing some heat out. Most straight-thru fireplaces send darn near 100% of their heat up the flue, with no fireback to reflect it out into the room.