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 Jargon Buster




Knowledge Base Beginner's Guide Electric Fire Guide Gas Fire Guide Surround Guide Our Natural Stone Know Your Flue Installation Guides Technical FAQs Jargon Buster


We know getting your head around fireplace terminology can be difficult. So to make things that bit easier, we’ve created a complete glossary of terms to cut through the jargon, helping you to choose the perfect fireplace for your home.

         A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


A


 

B



Back Panel


Part of a fireplace traditionally used to protect the wall from heat damage. The type of back panel (and matching hearth) needed will depend on the type of fire it will be used with. As a rule of thumb:
 
Electric fires - MDF, solid wood, natural marble, micromarble or granite
Gas fires - natural marble, micromarble or granite
Solid fuel/wood burning - specialist back panel designed for solid fuel/wood burning products
 
Always check on a product by product basis the compatibility of your back panel, if unsure ask a qualified professional to advise.

 








Bevel


A detail where two surfaces meet at an angle other than 90 degrees. Bevels are a standard on any type of product from granite to MDF because they add visual interest whilst providing a function such as softening an otherwise sharp edge.
 

Bioethanol 


A type of fire that looks and functions like a gas fire. Bioethanol’s main advantage is that it produces a clean flame, meaning the fire doesn’t need venting. Also, unlike gas or electric fires, bioethanol fires don’t need a connection to an external fuel source which makes installation easy, although the drawback of this is that you will need to purchase gel fuel.
 
 




Body


A term used to describe a type of fire surround where the legs and header are made of a single piece.
 


 

Blower


A device that forces heat away from a fire using convection, increasing the heating efficiency of the fire. Most electric fires include this feature, and many models even feature a ‘blower only’ setting where the blower can be used independently of heat. 
 





BTU


A standard unit of heat measurement, defined as the amount of energy needed to cool or heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. This is manly used as a measurement for household boilers and water/oil filled radiators. Fireplace heat output is usually measured in kW as this relates directly to energy consumption, making it easier to calculate running costs for household bills. To compare: 1kW=3412 BTU/hr.
 



 

C



Cast Effect


A paint finish used to recreate the effect of cast iron, which to the untrained eye is very easy to mistake for the real thing. Our cast effect finish is a dark black/grey colour, and has an even, almost sand-like texture.
 



 

Cast Iron


Cast iron in fireplace design is often used to make decorative back panels and stoves/solid fuel fires. Cast items are made from iron or a ferrous alloy, which has been heated until it liquefies, and is then poured into a mould to solidify.
 

 
 


Chamfer


A cut away detail on an edge to make a symmetrical slope or angle. If the cut away is not symmetrical, it is called a bevel.
 


 

Corbel


A structural piece of stone, wood or metal which is used to support an overhanging shelf. Corbels on a fire surround are usually found at the top of the legs, and are typically associated with traditional fireplaces.
 


 
 

D


 

Downlights


Downlights are fitted on the underside of the header or mantel on a fireplace surround, and are designed to give off a soft glow that highlights the best features of a fireplace suite. Downlights usually consist of a pair of halogen bulbs, which like any standard light fitting can be easily replaced when worn out. Many fully built MDF suites come with downlights pre-installed, whilst marble suites will often come with a fitting kit. Downlights are relatively easy to install, and all of our suites that require downlights to be fitted come with easy to use instructions. However if you are in any doubt, we recommend you seek advice from a suitably qualified electrician who should be able to advise.
 




 
 

E


 

Embellishment


An embellishment is an aesthetic feature added to a fire surround, this term can be used to describe features such as corbels, feet, as well as other decorative finishes.
 


 
 

Enamel Effect


An enamel is a coating made from melted glass which has a smooth, glossy appearance. Our enamel effect is a paint finish designed to look like real enamel, and to the untrained eye the two are hard to tell apart. Enamel effect comes in a range of colours, from neutral black or white to bright red.
 



 

F


 

Fascia


A fascia is a term used to describe the decorative surround used by many of our wall hanging fires. Many of them are interchangeable, meaning that if you fancy a change of style, purchasing a new fascia is a cost effective alternative to buying a new fire.
 

 
 


Flame Effect


A flame effect is the mechanism in which an electric fire simulates real fire. This may be done through the use of LED lights, ribbons, or other more elaborate effects. Generally speaking, the more you spend on a fire the better the flame, although you’ll be surprised at how effective even a simple flame effect can be. Many modern fires feature an illuminated pebble bed, which don’t pretend to simulate fire, but offer a wow factor at a fraction of the price you would pay for a moving flame.
 

 
 
 
 


Flame Effect Only


A feature found on electric fires which allows the flame to be operated independently of any heat output. On the flame only setting, the fireplace consumes an equivalent amount of electricity as a standard light fitting, or in the case of our LED fires can be 15kW or less, which is similar to a small lamp. This means the fire can be enjoyed 365 days of the year without worrying about the cost.
 
 
 




Flue/Flueless 


A flue is a duct or opening in a chimney used to remove exhaust gases from a fireplace, and is a standard requirement for gas and solid fuel fires, as well as stoves. If you’re unsure whether you have the correct flue, speak to a qualified professional for advice. All of our electric fires are all flue-less, only requiring a standard UK 3 pin socket to operate, this makes electric the easiest option when it comes to upgrading an old fireplace suite.
 
 





Fuel Bed


The fuel bed is part of the fire where the flame (or simulated flame) comes from. The main types of fuel bed available are logs, coals and pebbles. With the exception of pebbles and some coal beds which we supply loose with the fire, most fuel beds are cast in resin using a mould made from the real material.
 


 
 

G


 

Granite 


Granite is a type of rock formed by magma underneath the earth’s surface. The granite we use has a black gloss finish with an almost metallic sparkle, and is hand selected by our team because of its consistent finish and quality normally associated with kitchen work surfaces.  Hard wearing, heat resistant and with a colour that is versatile enough to suit any interior, black granite is the perfect fireplace material. However be aware that granite back panels and hearths are not compatible with all fires (see back panel or hearth for more information).
 


 

 

H


 

Header


Horizontal part of the fire surround between the legs and below the shelf, unlike a mantel, the header has no functional purpose other than decorative 
 

 



Hearth


A hearth is the base on which the rest of the fireplace suite sits on. It is traditionally used to protect the wall and floor from damage. The type of hearth (and matching back panel) required will depend on the type of fire it will be used with. As a rule of thumb:
 
Electric fires - MDF, solid wood, natural marble, micromarble, granite
Gas fires - natural marble, micromarble, granite
Solid fuel/wood burning - specialist back panel designed for solid fuel/wood burning products
 
Always be sure to check on a product by product basis, and if in doubt seek advice from qualified professional who will be able to advise.
 




 
 


 

I


 

Inner/Outer Return



The inner return is located on the leg of a fire surround, an inner return is the part that extends from the face of the leg to the back panel and is what gives the fireplace depth (without returns, the fire surround would be completely flat). The inner return is shorter than the outer return to allow a back panel to be fitted, the difference in length between the inner and outer return is called the rebate (see rebate for full explanation). Many products include an inner return which can be added/removed to change the rebate. When speaking to a stone mason or somebody in the fireplace trade, this part may also be referred to as a Jamb.
 
 



 
 


Inset Fire


An inset is a fire designed to sit within a standard sized cavity (22”H x 16”W). The advantage of an inset fire is a clean appearance, where most of the technical aspects of the fire are hidden inside the wall cavity. Most modern inset fires are electric, and are designed as a straight swap for older gas models (although modern gas insets are still available). Many inset fires come with spacers which allow the fire to sit flush against the back panel/wall, which is a useful feature if there is not sufficient depth in the cavity.
 

 
 


J


 

Jambs


A term derived from carpentry, in fireplaces a jamb is more commonly known as an inner return. Located on the legs of a fire surround, a jamb is an internal part that extends from the face of the leg to the back panel.
 

 
 

K


 

Keystone


A central stone or decorative piece located at the centre of the fireplace header.
 
 

L


 

Leg


Part of a fire surround used to support the header/mantel and/or shelf. Legs are usually made up of an outer return and a front, with most legs also including an inner return (Jamb) to give the fireplace extra depth.
 
 



Lipped Hearth


A hearth that is raised using a set of risers that are joined to form a box section, where the hearth top over hangs to create a lip. When the top is flush with the box, this is called a box flush or boxed hearth.
 
 



Lintel


A lintel can be a load-bearing building component, a decorative architectural element, or a combined ornamented structural item. It is often found over portals, doors, windows, and fireplaces.
 
 


M


 

MDF


Abbreviation of Medium Density Fiberboard. A standard wood based material used in the furniture industry. All wood surrounds with the exception of solid wood are made from MDF. The advantage of MDF is it allows us to offer products with an exceptionally high level of fit and finish. MDF suites come in a range of paint finishes, as well as real wood veneers, allowing them to perfectly compliment any interior from modern through to traditional.
 

 
 




Micromarble


Natural marble is made from hard, naturally occurring stone. Usually seen on traditional fireplace suites, natural marble is covered in veins and blemishes which give it a unique, often spectacular appearance. Due to the random patterns in the material no two fireplaces are the same, making natural marble perfect for those that want a truly individual fireplace. If you’d prefer a more consistent finish that is free of veins, but still want the look and feel of natural marble, then we would recommend micromarble as a suitable alternative. Please be aware natural marble back panel and hearths are not compatible with all fires (see back panel and hearths for more information).
 



 
 

N


 

Natural Marble


Natural marble is made from hard, naturally occurring stone. Usually seen on traditional fireplace suites, natural marble is covered in veins and blemishes which give it a unique, often spectacular appearance. Due to the random patterns in the material no two fireplaces are the same, making natural marble perfect for those that want a truly individual fireplace. If you’d prefer a more consistent finish that is free of veins, but still want the look and feel of natural marble, then we would recommend micromarble as a suitable alternative. Please be aware natural marble back panel and hearths are not compatible with all fires (see back panel and hearths for more information).
 

 
 

 

O



Outer Return


The outer return is located on the leg of a fire surround, an outer return is the part that extends from the face of the leg to the wall and is what gives the fireplace depth (without returns, the fire surround would be completely flat). The outer return is longer than the inner return to allow a back panel to be fitted, the difference in length between the inner and outer return is called the rebate (see rebate for full explanation).
 



  P


 

Q


 

R


 

Rebate (also Recess)


A rebate is the distance from the wall to where the front of the back panel will sit once the fire surround is fully fitted. Most fire surrounds will have a 1 inch rebate, which means when a standard 1 inch deep marble or granite back panel is fitted, the back panel will be securely held between the fire surround and wall with no movement.

Some fire surrounds will have the option to have a 1 inch or 3 inch rebate. To switch to a 3 inch rebate, the inner return (the inside part of the leg) will need to be removed. Having a 3 inch rebate will mean a standard inset electric fire can be fully inset into the back panel if there is no cavity behind the fireplace (i.e. the fireplace is against a flat wall). This feature is particularly useful if you need to navigate your way around an old gas pipe or other awkward feature.

If you are purchasing anything other than one of our fully built fireplace suites, you will need to determine whether you will need a 3 inch rebate before purchase as this feature is not available on all fire surrounds.
 

 





 


 


Return


A part that gives the fire surround depth. See Inner Return and Outer Return for details.
 




Riser


A riser is a component that is used to give depth or thickness to different parts of the fireplace. Risers are used on parts such as hearths, where there is a requirement to raise the hearth to allow it to clear carpet, etc.
 
 


S


 

Shelf


The horizontal part at the very top the fire surround that can be used to display objects.
 
 

Slip


A slip is a detail located on the inside of the legs and header of a fire surround. Even though they are part of the surround, they can have a similar colour and finish to the back panel depending on the design of the surround.
 
 


Spacer


A Spacer is a part that can be attached to the back of an inset fire to add depth. If a fireplace is installed against a flat wall, or there is not a sufficient cavity to accommodate a fully inset fire, a spacer can be used to alleviate this problem.
 
 


Stage


A stage is a raised platform that sits within the legs of a fire surround, and is used to raise the fire up within the surround.
 


Stove


A stove is a type of freestanding fire. There are many types of stove on the market ranging from electric to gas and solid fuel. We specialise in electric stoves which have the look and feel of a real wood-burner, but with the all the benefits of an electric product. When buying a stove you should consider the depth between the back panel and front of the hearth, as stoves are deep products that protrude further into the room than other types of fires. Gas stoves require a marble or granite back panel and hearth, whilst solid fuel stoves will require a specialist back panel and hearth (See back panels or hearths for more information).
 

 
 





Suite


A suite is a complete fireplace that includes a surround, back panel, hearth and fire.  Many of our electric suites come fully assembled, meaning you can literally take them out the box and plug them in for an instant, hassle free installation.
 

 

T


 

U


 

V


 

Veneer


A veneer is a thin piece of fine or decorative wood that is applied to a sheet of MDF. Veneers are standard practice in the furniture industry as it allows an expensive fine wood (oak, walnut etc) to be used in a way that is cost effective. Unlike many fireplace companies, we use real veneer, as we believe there is no substitute for the real thing. When comparing fireplaces, keep an eye out for the word “effect”, as this implies the material is an artificial wood effect rather than a veneer ( eg “oak effect” not “oak”).
 
 




Venting


Venting is required to remove harmful gases and waste products from a fireplace. To determine your venting requirements, speak to a qualified professional who will be able to advise. Electric fires do not require venting, which is one of the major benefits of switching to an electric setup.
 
 

 

W


 

Wall Mount/Hung


A wall mounted fire is one designed specifically to be mounted on an interior wall. Wall mounted fires are usually much smaller in size than their freestanding counterparts, making them perfect for smaller rooms. You should always avoid installing a wall mounted fire in a high traffic area where it might be prone to being knocked and damaged. When installing a wall fire always ensure you use the correct fixings for the type of wall you have (if in doubt ask a qualified professional).
 


 





X


 

Y


 

Z