Gas only fireplace hearth requirments

Are the requirements for a gas only prefab fireplace hearth different from a masonry or prefab dual purpose fireplace? The condo fireplace has a minimal flame and a small chimney flue opening. I am about to tell a client that a non combustible material hearth is required 16" out from the front and 8" out to either side of the opening. I am not sure if that is correct. This is in San Diego Cal. Please send any info you might have on the subject. Thanks, CR

Most modern gas only fireplaces with fixed glass do not require a hearth extension. The manufacturers usually require a 36" clear space in front (no furniture, etc.). Now if this was a wood burning fireplace that had a gas insert, the hearth extension would still be required. Once wood burning, always wood burning.

As a matter of terminology. The “hearth” is the “floor” located within the firebox, whether wood burning or gas. The “hearth extension” is the non-combustible material found in front of a fireplace. Both should be inspected. To call the “hearth extension” a “hearth” is common with many inspectors, but it is incorrect.

1 Like

I almost feel sorry for the Realtors in your area, nit-picker! :p:twisted::mrgreen::wink:

Yep. When they want it done right, like for their own home, they call. When they want it done fast and cheap, they don’t. :mrgreen:

Thanks for the reply and good information. The interior hearth and exterior hearth extension designations will help me be more accurate in reporting. The unit I am asking about is not equipped or sealed with a glass plate or doors. What do you think? :shock: CR

Sounds like maybe it was an upgrade from an existing wood burning unit. I can’t remember seeing a gas fireplace that did not have at least glass doors. Most have a fixed glass pane. Were there carbon marks on any of the refractory panels or fire bricks? Brand and Model?

Stephen, It is an original gas unit. I see them a lot in condos but most have some hearth extension. The gas valve,flex pipe and control valve are located directly under the fire box behind a removable metal plate. There is a place there to light the pilot light etc. The lower part is almost like a radiant heat wall heater in a 50’s home. The gas flame operates from a wall switch. Maybe it is just missing the original glass doors but Ive seen these before and all have been without the doors. I would send a photo but am new with NACHI and don’t have the know how. CR

Claude, remember to put your location into your profile. That way you may get more regional answers.

If you want to add a picture when you are posting, just hit the paperclip above and follow the directions. Easy Peasy…

Without brand and model number, there is no way to research any further for manufacturer’s installation instructions or manuals. Good luck with your report.

There’s a paperclip above?

I always use “Manage Attachments” below my post where all the other stuff is. Extra-Easy-Peasy !!! :wink:

Thanks Stephen and Jeffry,
Good advice guys and thanks for the time and support. I’m working on it.

By George I think I’ve got it. Does this photo help at all. Hope it is here.

In any case thanks again, Claude

Yep, looks like you got it.

Go into the MB Control Panel at the top left to edit your location, signiture, and other info.

That gas only fireplace is typical, except for there being no glass. You will need to check for local requirements. The hearth extension I would not be concerned with if glass was installed. With only the screen, there is potential of an issue if someone placed another meterial in to burn, like a picture of the EX, for example. Kids also like to see what will burn.

Barring any local requirements, I would place a cautionary statement in my report, suggesting glass doors, or a hearth extension, be installed for safety.

I have a concern about a vent less gas fireplace that does not have glass installed. Hearth extension on one side is short and nothing on the other side. I reported it as being a hazard. Anyone have any comments?