How to use a fireplace grate

Updated February 21, 2017

Fireplace grates are essential for a fireplace to make the fire more efficient by keeping all the wood together. There are different styles and types of fireplace grates. The selection of a grate depends on several factors, including how often you use your fireplace. There are also stylistic considerations. Some fireplace grates are more ornately designed than others, so the grate you select should fit in with the decor of the room.

Narrow down your choice of suitable fireplace grates that fit in with your fire burning habits and the decor of your room. People who burn fires frequently should get a fireplace grate with thicker bars. Grates with thinner bars can be selected by people who seldom burn fires.

Decide on the design of the fireplace grate. Note that fireplace grate bars have ends that curl up. This is to keep firewood in place, so select the curl that will work with the size of logs you will be burning.

Pick out your fireplace grate and install it in your fireplace. The grate should be 3 to 5 inches above the floor of the fireplace and roughly centred in the fireplace. Moving the grate farther back in the fireplace may help prevent smoke from entering the room but could result in a fire that burns less efficiently.

Put wood on your fireplace grate and start your fire. As the fire burns, burnt pieces of wood and ash will fall through the grate to the fireplace floor. Partially burnt wood can be placed back on the grate, but the ash should be cleaned out of the fireplace in between fires.

Clean your fireplace grate by using a fireplace brush. The grate can be removed from the fireplace and scrubbed with a detergent if a more thorough cleaning is desired.


If your fire needs more air to burn better, you can elevate your fireplace grate by placing bricks under the grate's feet. Occasionally check your fireplace grate to ensure it remains in one piece. Some grates have welds that can come loose, in which case a replacement should be considered.

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About the Author

Doug Hewitt has been writing for over 20 years and has a Master of Arts from University of North Carolina-Greensboro. He authored the book "The Practical Guide to Weekend Parenting," which includes health and fitness hints for parents. He and his wife, Robin, are coauthors of the "Free College Resource Book."