Any ideas or concerns about solid 3/4" hardwood flooring near a fireplace? Currently I plan to have a nice piece of wood trim covering the gap between the fireplace and the floor. Underneath the trim there is a .25 inch gap... so the floor is not directly touching the slate. The roofing felt is also .25 inches away and not directly touching the surrounding slate.

Should I use some sort of fire proof barrier? If so... what are some options?

Previously (before hardwood)... it was floor joist, .5 inch plywood, red rosin paper, .75 inch particle board, then a .5 inch piece of rock slate.

I replaced the .75 particle board with plywood, roofing paper, and hardwood on top (with a hearth extension).

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  • A hearth of some sort is required. Generally I have seen brick or a slab of marble/granite used. You could also use natural stone, Slate tiles are pretty cheap and would go well with the fireplace.
    – James
    Jul 24, 2015 at 19:19

1 Answer 1


Yes, wood is a concern and you should have a noncombustible hearth extension around the fireplace opening. It looks like your proposed layout is not appropriate.

Assuming you are in the US and subject to the IRC building code, Chapter 10 covers the requirements for fireplaces. The requirements vary depending on whether the fireplace is masonry (i.e. made of brick or stone) or factory-built (i.e. a pre-made metal box).

For masonry fireplaces, in general the hearth extension must be 2" thick, made of noncombustible materials, and must not have any combustable material under it. The hearth extension must extend 16" in front and 8" on each side of the opening (unless then opening is large, over 6 square feet, in which case the distances are increased to 20" in front and 12" on each side).

For factory-made fireplaces, the manufacturer specifies the requirements. IRC simply defers to the manufacturer instructions.

  • I will definitely have a hearth extension pad in front. Jul 24, 2015 at 17:25
  • @KrisKrause: as long as you provide a hearth extension that meets the IRC (material, dimensions, thickness), you will be "up to code". That will require cutting away the hardwood floor. What other questions do you have?
    – Hank
    Jul 25, 2015 at 4:15
  • The fireplace is a metal enclosure with those fake brick slices inside. Jul 25, 2015 at 10:16
  • @KrisKrause: If it's a factory-made firebox you will need to find out the requirements from the manufacturer. They may be different than the IRC dimensions for masonry fireplaces. It's possible you won't need a hearth extension at all, in which case you can just do whatever you think looks good.
    – Hank
    Jul 25, 2015 at 19:09

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