You may be looking to clean the inside of your fireplace and wipe the unsightly soot from the glass doors that surround it. You may simply want to replace the dated doors altogether or replace then with a fireplace screen to give your space a refresh. Either way, you'll need to remove your fireplace doors at some point during their lifespan.
While these doors may seem complicated, there are safe, simple ways to remove them that can ensure the job is painless and that no glass gets broken in the process. So, skip the call to the handyman and learn how to remove your own fireplace doors.
Before You Begin
Depending on your reason for removing your fireplace doors, there are a few things you should do before diving into this project. First, prepare the fireplace for the job by extinguishing any heat source ahead of time and allowing ample time for the area to cool before you begin. If your fireplace is a gas unit, turn off the gas beforehand.
If dealing with glass doors, prepare a safe spot to place the doors once removed. If you're removing the doors in order to clean them, gather any cleaning supplies, such as a shop vac and fireplace glass cleaner, as well as any tools you may need for your particular doors.
Fireplace doors often consist of glass and sheet metal. Without proper handling, both of these materials can pose safety risks. Avoid cuts by wearing gloves whenever possible while working with the sheet metal and handle glass gently to avoid breaking it.
Turn off gas supplies beforehand to prevent potentially harmful carbon monoxide exposure and risk of fire. For traditional wood-burning fireplaces, remove any hot embers after extinguishing flames, and allow the fireplace surround and doors to fully cool before handling.
Equipment / Tools
- Ratchet and socket set
- Eye protection
- Dropcloth or rags
These steps involve the most common types of fireplace doors and should be adjusted as needed to fit your specific unit.
How to Remove Bi-Fold Fireplace Doors
Bi-fold doors are some of the most common fireplace doors; they resemble accordion closet doors.
Locate the Mounting Hardware
On most bi-fold units, there are posts called pivot pins coming from each of the far corners of the doors. The pivot pins on the bottom of each door sit in a hole in each bottom corner, while the top rests in a tension clip.
Release the Tension Clip
There are differences in design from unit to unit, but most bi-fold fireplace doors feature a tension clip that can simply be pressed up to remove the upper pivot pin. To do so, open the door fully and carefully use your finger or a screwdriver to press the tension clip up, releasing the upper pivot pin.
Remove the Door
Once the tension clip has been pressed and the pivot pin released, slide the top of the door down the track until the pivot pin is fully freed. Holding the door at an angle, lift the lower pivot pin out of the bottom hole and carefully remove the door. Rest it on the cloth or rags if needed to prevent breaking and scratching.
How to Remove Framed Fireplace Doors
Framed fireplace doors come in many varieties, but they each share a similar removal process.
Look Inside Fireplace
To assess your specific fireplace, open the doors, grab a flashlight, and take a look inside. You'll likely see four brackets or clips that hold the fireplace doorframe tightly to the walls of the fireplace. Most often, the hardware will consist of two brackets on the bottom that hold the frame to the walls using a pointed tension screw and two on the top that tie the top of the frame to the fireplace's lintel.
What Is a Lintel?
A lintel is a horizontal support, most often made up of steel, that supports the weight of the brick, stone, concrete, or other material spanning the top of the opening of a fireplace.
Unscrew the Hardware
Using whichever tool your specific hardware calls for, loosen the screws starting with the bottom brackets. Once the lower brackets are removed, move to the upper ones. Be careful as you work and make sure the frame is supported as you loosen to prevent damage.
Slide the Frame Out
Close the doors and remove the frame by carefully sliding it out of the fireplace. Depending on your particular unit, you may have to tilt and lift to remove it.
How to Remove Glass-Front Gas Inserts
Many modern gas fireplace inserts feature a solid glass front that needs to be cleaned occasionally.
Remove Vent Covers
Once the fireplace has cooled down and the gas supply is turned off, remove the upper and lower vent covers from the front (you may have to remove them first in order to turn off the gas supply).
Gas supplies should be carefully handled to avoid compromising the valves and connections. Leaking gas can pose obvious fire risk, but the risk of carbon monoxide exposure is also high, and carbon monoxide can be hard to detect.
Locate the locking clips on the top and bottom of the glass and unlock them, starting with the bottom. You may need to support the glass unit while disengaging the clips.
Remove Glass Front
Carefully lift the glass front out of its position. Rest it on the cloth or rags to prevent breaking or scratching as needed.
When to Call a Professional
If at any point during the process of removing your fireplace doors you notice something that seems out of place, such as the smell of gas, a blocked chimney, or compromised materials, it may be wise to have it inspected by a professional before resuming normal operation.