The Type Of Flooring You May Want To Avoid Around The Fireplace

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The Type Of Flooring You May Want To Avoid Around The Fireplace

The Type Of Flooring You May Want To Avoid Around The Fireplace

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The image of a warm fireplace blazing on a cold day can be mesmerizing. As you step back and look around the fireplace, what kind of flooring do you see? Tile and even hardwoods are common choices because they are easy to maintain and durable in this type of area. What you don’t want to see is carpeting.

Carpeting seems to offer a lot of benefits in this space. It’s warm and cozy and creates the ideal look. Whether it’s a room-size carpet installed professionally or an area rug, the fabric’s texture complements a wood or stone mantle and keeps your feet warm on a cold day. Though carpeting seems like the perfect floor covering for a living room space where your fireplace may be, there are significant reasons why it is less desirable for any area where sparks could fly out of the fireplace and land on the surface.

Keep all types of combustible material away from the fireplace opening. Don’t put anything in front of the opening that could burn. The National Fire Protection Association recommends keeping anything that can burn 3 feet from the fireplace’s opening. Unfortunately, most types of everyday carpeting do not fit this requirement and, therefore, shouldn’t be used in the space around your fireplace. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.

How to choose the best flooring for in front of your fireplace

Flooring by fireplace

Image Source/Getty Images

When selecting flooring for the space surrounding your fireplace, called the hearth, be very particular about what it’s made of. Choose something that’s not flammable, like tile or natural stone. These products offer durability and are not likely to catch fire. They’re also easier to keep clean than carpeting, which can be difficult to remove soot from.

Other flooring options include laminate (look for a high-quality product that’s super durable to handle the dirt and necessary cleaning). You can also choose hardwood floors, including engineered hardwood, that give you the look of traditional wood with less risk of being impacted by the heat (depending on the product you buy). Hardwood can easily be cleaned.

You have a few options if you want carpeting in front of your fireplace. Some of today’s best carpets are flame retardant. They are specifically to be used in these areas. If you’re looking for this type of product, it’s critical to consider the tradeoffs. Some products have a higher level of toxins, for instance. There is also the concern of keeping these carpets clean when using the fireplace throughout the season.

How to protect your home from fire without losing the warmth

Fiberglass woven fireplace rug

Plow & Hearth

What can you do when you want an easy-to-maintain floor in front of the fireplace that’s safe for your family? Consider the value of installing tile or stone flooring right in front of the fireplace. Even laminate or engineered hardwood can be good options for this space. That gives you the fire protection and the easy cleaning you need.

Then, you have a few ways to add warmth to the space. The first is to invest in a fire-resistant rug. Called a hearth rug, these are small, fireplace-sided rugs you can set on top of the cold stone or tile in front of the fireplace. They are treated with fire retardant, but as long as you keep the kids and pets off of them, for the most part, they are less risky to your family. Some of these products can be washed in the washing machine, but be sure you follow manufacturer recommendations.

Some products are flame-resistant fiberglass rugs. These work to protect from embers and sparks that come out of the fireplace while creating the look and feel of a traditional rug. A variety of styles exist with various materials, including woven fiberglass, polyester, and vinyl combinations. They can be industrial-grade in terms of fire resistance and have a no-skid mat on the back to keep them from moving.

Charlotte Gammon

By Charlotte Gammon

Meet Charlotte Gammon, our expert and author. She's our true treasure, as she has got 20+ years of experience in gardening, winery and house design. In early 2000s, she worked for today.com magazine and was in charge of the gaardening section. Later on, Charlotte opened her own designer agency and worked as a designer and decorator. We are happy to have Charlotte with us, as she is our good friend. We value her experience and we're sure you will love the articles she created for our blog.