elevating flush mount insert to deal with gap?

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New Member
Nov 1, 2022
new england
We have a masonry (brick) fireplace and are looking to put in an insert. (I just posted a separate thread looking for input on which inserts to consider). Our firebox however is slightly taller than it is wide...so when looking at one of the units which will fit (VC Montpelier II) even with the surround there would be a ~3" gap between the top of the surround and the opening.
The salesman said we could get a piece of steel, paint it to match and just put it there (somehow) to fill the gap...but this probably wont look super awesome since the surround my wife prefers (MEAD II) has some detail to it...so having a flat piece of steep above that might look weird (unless anyone has a photo of this setup).
One idea I had was to elevate the whole insert. if I put some bricks in the bottom of the fireplace and put the insert on the bricks, it would be elevated enough for the surround to cover the gap, and I could put a plain piece of painted steel across the bottom where I think it would be less noticeable.

Is this an option? unsafe? commonly done? is there a better way to do it than laying some bricks down and putting the insert on top of them?
Yes, it could be done that way as long as there is room. A sheet of metal on top of the bricks will make for a smoother install.
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Yes, it could be done that way as long as there is room. A sheet of metal on top of the bricks will make for a smoother install.
I am assuming this is just (esp if its a cast iron VC) a ~400lb cast iron thing that rests with gravity on whatever it is put on and stays in place because its a 400lb piece of cast iron. Is there anything more complex/nuanced than that? Like is it fastened to the floor/wall/masonry at all?
Yes, they stay in place. The stove itself is a steel stove. It's just the fancy surround that may be cast. There's only a few inserts that have cast iron bodies.
if I wanted to elevate the insert on my brick fireplace (so I dont need a piece of sheet metal painted black to fill the gap at the top, and so its a little easier to fill and work with)....could I put a piece of bluestone or granite or something on my brick hearth across the face of the firebox, with another piece in the firebox?
I guess I am asking because I know if you're burning fires outside on a piece of natural stone...it is likely to crack from the intense heat (or people will say it will explode but I have never seen that myself)....but in this application, as I understand it, the insert I am looking at (Regency Ci2700) isnt going to be radiating insane amounts of heat...it relies on the blower to circulate warm air...so I assume there would be no temp issues putting the entire insert on a piece of stone which could lead to cracking or worse.
The Regency is a good insert. Did you locate one in stock? Use brick or cement half-block without worry. The metal on top is just to make it easier to slide in the insert.
The Regency is a good insert. Did you locate one in stock? Use brick or cement half-block without worry. The metal on top is just to make it easier to slide in the insert.
Sorry I never responded, yes I found a regency Hampton HI 500 in stock near me. Install just got moved up to Tuesday so I'm scrambling trying to figure out how I plan on elevating the fireplace... Which is what brought me back to this thread.

I had come here to ask if using concrete pavers under the insert itself in the firebox to create a flat level elevated surface would be good. I was concerned because I know people say that if you use concrete near intense fire and heat it can crack... But I assume that's not an issue underneath the insert because the insert is probably well enough insulated that there won't be intense heat on these pavers.

The other question I was going to ask, and I'm asking here because my chimney sweep is closed for the weekend... If I use pavers, I'm comfortable using them inside the firebox under the insert itself to lift it up. But in front on top of my brick hearth I was planning on using a piece of blue stone. The stone would be 44 in wide extending a couple inches past either edge of the Hampton cast iron faceplate... And it would stick out a few inches onto my brickarth just for a nice look. It would then tuck three to four inches into the firebox underneath the front of the insert.

Unfortunately I need a 3-in piece of blue stone which is really uncommon around me All I can find is 2 in. So I'm thinking about ordering the piece of 3-inch blue stone I want, but in the interim using 3-in pavers in that front area exactly where the blue stone will go... And then when the bluestone comes in I'm assuming I could relatively easily take the cast iron face frame off of the insert, And I'm hoping I'll be able to lift it just like an eighth of an inch or something so that I can pull those 3-inch pavers out and slide my templated cut to fit bluestone piece in their place.

Does this seem like a plausible approach? Or my crazy think I'm going to be able to lift or pry somehow the insert up an eighth or a quarter of an inch to give me space to slide those pavers out to slide the blue stone in after the install's been completed?
Picture of sheet metal for a HI200, actually U shape.

elevating flush mount insert to deal with gap?
Any decent sheet metal outfit can bend sheet steel into any shape you wish. They can help you create whatever you want.
So you didn't need any additional coverage in the sides either, just on top. Did you buy a custom surround? Does this stick out to the left or right of your trim? Or are the sides completely behind the cast iron and only the top is visible?
It extends about 1 inch on each side but that is just for looks. The surround is the standard one that came with the insert. The sheet metal is just held in place by the surround. When I had my insert installed I was all ready with bricks to raise the bottom. The installers said I'll just get a sheet of metal cut and be back next week. They didn't charge anything extra. Raising the bottom would have left the blower hanging.
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It trimmed out nicely. Thanks for sharing.
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Yea, I like the way it looks.

So that surround is just a totally flat piece of metal painted with high temp paint? Only asking because I've been trying to get some details on the surrounds that regency sells but they have like no information... Before I saw the instruction manual it looks like there's some kind of a bend or lip on their surround above the insert... Maybe that's not necessary though if yours is totally flat
More pictures.

elevating flush mount insert to deal with gap? elevating flush mount insert to deal with gap?
Simple is good. I would suggest putting a small 1/4 radius on the upper corners.