I recently bought a house with a zero clearance fireplace, and had a metal/glass door installed on the front. I suspect the metal door is touching the tiles on the wall above and transferring a lot of heat. When the fireplace is running, I can't hold my hand for more than a few seconds on the bottom of the tiles above the fireplace. However, if I move my hand a few inches up it's just fine. Is this too hot, or expected?

Edit: Here's a picture of the door I had installed. It's made for zero clearance fireplaces. We always have the doors fully open when the fireplace is on. Also, to clarify, this is a gas unit, not wood burning.

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    Are you sure that the zero clearance fireplace is designed to have a door on the front? Possibly the door that you had installed is constraining the heat transfer that is meant to come out the front of the unit causing it to rise and create the situation that you are noting,
    – Michael Karas
    Nov 29, 2015 at 13:45
  • It's just a steal plate with a square hole cut to fit the fireplace opening, and glass doors on hinges. We open the doors all the way when the fireplace is running so I don't think any heat is being blocked. Nov 29, 2015 at 17:03

1 Answer 1


i have never seen a zero clearance unit without a door assembly already attached. was this unit open hearth design and then you retrofitted it with the door/glass? or was the door/glass just missing and you replaced it? is it a gas unit or wood burning? the gas units can get pretty toasty right at the top above the trim escutcheon, but it could also be you don't have a tight seal on the new door to the old firebox, thus letting some combustion gas out and giving you too much heat, plus a little carbon monoxide for good measure. if its a wood unit, you don't need to worry too much other than the heat degrading the tile mortar or adhesive. either way, it should never get above 45 deg c, as that's the limit for temps on combustibles (tile no, but wood behind tile, yes) around a zero clearance unit

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