Fireplace Screen Vs Glass Doors: 10 Key Differences to Know

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Nothing beats the pleasure of watching logs burning in the fireplace during a cold winter evening. Today, there are many homes that have open fireplaces.

An open fireplace poses a lot of risks. For instance, sparks and embers from the fireplace can destroy combustibles in your living room like the hearth furniture, carpet, or wood floors.

Fireplace screens and glass doors both come with advantages and disadvantages. In this guide, we will discuss fireplace screen vs glass doors to help you decide which would be the best for your home.

Is fireplace glass doors same as screens?

Fireplace glass doors are not the same as screens. Many homeowners do not know the difference between a fireplace glass door and a screen. Both are installed in the fireplace area, but that doesn’t mean they perform the same functions.

You may go for a fireplace screen while you need a fireplace door. Let’s discuss each of these fireplace accessories.

Fireplace glass door

Fireplace glass doors are made of tempered glass and ceramic glass, which are sturdier than standard glass. A fireplace door is necessary as it helps make your home safer.

When kids and pets move close to an open fireplace, the flames, embers, and sparks can hurt them. A glass door prevents this from happening.

Using a fireplace glass door can also significantly reduce your heating costs. It helps the fire burn cleaner and hotter and helps retain the heat long after the fire is extinguished. It improves the draft as well.

Another reason to install a glass door is that it makes your home more presentable. Glass doors come in a wide range of colors, styles, and shapes.

Fireplace screens

Fireplace screens come in various types, typically featuring mesh panels crafted from twisted metals and supported by sturdy metal frames.

The most common materials for making fireplace screens are brass, iron, and steel. Like fireplace doors, fireplace screens act as a barrier between the home and the fireplace.

It prevents embers from entering the room and hurting children and pets, or destroying elements close to the fireplace.

The table below outlines the main differences between these two fireplace accessories:

FeatureFireplace glass doorsFireplace screens
DurabilityMade of tempered glass or ceramic glass-highly durableMetals used to make fireplace screens can get rusty over time
Safety (spark protection)Effective at keeping sparks inside the fireplaceIt isn’t great at preventing sparks from getting into the room
Heat loss solution (efficiency)Improves the heating efficiency of the fireplaceIneffective in reducing heat loss in the fireplace
Odor preventionKeeps combustion-related odors out of your homeDoesn’t reduce smoke and soot odors
MaintenanceEasy to maintain. You can clean it using a dishwashing liquid and a clothWhen the metals get rusty, you will need to replace them
Ease of usePretty easy to use once it installedEasy to use, but some styles may require moving aside to tend to the fire
LifespanLasts many yearsMade from durable material but deteriorate faster than fireplace doors
FunctionalityExcellent at keeping sparks and embers out of your fireplace. Helps retain fireplace heatNot the best option if you want to keep embers and sparks out of your living room
StyleYou can find a wide range of shapes, colors, and stylesNot as many styles as fireplace glass doors
CostCostlier than fireplace screens. Around $250-$1000Less costly than fireplace doors. About $50-$600

Fireplace glass doors Vs screen key difference

Fireplace glass doors and screens differ in many ways. Let’s discuss the features in the table above to help you decide which would be the best for your home.

1. Durability

Durability is an important feature to consider if you want to buy a fireplace glass door or screen. A fireplace screen is made of metals like iron and steel.

Over time, the metals rust when exposed to moisture, and you will need to replace them with new ones.

On the other hand, fireplace doors are made of tempered or ceramic glass that is much stronger than standard glass. You can count on the thick and sturdy glass door to serve you for many years.


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2. Safety (Spark protection)

Both fireplace screens and doors are barriers between your living room and the fireplace.

When it comes to sparking protection, fireplace glass doors are superior. This is because fireplace glass doors seal the mouth of the fireplace entirely.

Aside from keeping sparks away from your living room, it also keeps elements like ash and cinder out of the living room.

Fireplace screens are not as effective in preventing sparks from entering the living room because they’re mesh curtains. So, if you have kids and pets in your home, a fireplace door would suit you.

3. Heat loss solution (efficiency)

A lot of heat is lost in open fireplaces, which is the last thing you want during the cold winter months.

When a fire is burning in the fireplace, the heat helps keep your house warm. A fireplace glass door is better than a screen at retaining the heat.

This is because the thick glass seals off the fireplace, ensuring little heat escapes. This way, your living room stays warm hours after you put out the fire.

4. Odor prevention

The smoke and soot produced in the fireplace typically cause unpleasant smells that can enter your living room. These smells can be irritating, especially when relaxing by the fireplace after a long day at work. Note that smoke and fumes from the fireplace can cause respiratory problems.

A glass door closes the fireplace opening tightly, keeping these smells at bay. This is impossible when using a mesh fireplace screen, as the pungent smells will waft from the fireplace into your living room.

5. Maintenance

You can easily maintain a fireplace glass door. If it gets dirty, you must use dishwashing soap and a soft cloth to clean it. This makes the cost of maintaining it low.

On the other hand, metals used in making fireplace screens like iron, can rust over time. In these cases, the best solution is to replace them with new ones.

6. Ease of use

After installing a fireplace door, the operation is relatively easy.

You don’t need to move it to tend to the fireplace-you can easily open the door and close it. On the other hand, you may need to move a fireplace screen to access the fireplace.

7. Lifespan

Fireplace doors are made of thick, sturdy glass designed to withstand high temperatures.

Also, you can easily wash it using dishwashing soap and a cloth. It’s low maintenance and will serve you for many years.

The metal used in making a fireplace screen deteriorates over time and will require replacement. A fireplace door is ideal if you are looking for a fireplace accessory that will last for a long time.

8. Functionality

A fireplace screen acts as a hurdle between your living room and the fireplace, but it is not great at keeping embers and sparks inside the fireplace.

Also, you may face difficulties moving some models when you want to access the fireplace. A fireplace glass door is a perfect barrier once installed correctly.

It is strong, keeps sparks end embers out of your room, and prevents heat loss even after extinguishing the fire.

Remember, setting up a fireplace glass door is not a straightforward DIY job.

If you need a fireplace glass door, contact a certified chimney sweep, and they’ll help you with the whole process – from choosing the right materials to installation.


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9. Style

The fireplace is the focal point of your home, so it needs to be visually appealing. Fireplace glass doors come in various styles, shapes, and colors.

The size and type of your fireplace do not matter-you can always find something that blends with your interior design.

Fireplace screens however, come in limited designs, meaning the chances of finding the right one for your home are low.

10. Cost

Fireplace glass doors are more costly than fireplace screens. A fireplace screen costs $250 -$1000 on average, while a fireplace glass door typically costs $50-$600

You may opt for the more affordable option, but this is usually not a great idea.

Fireplace glass doors are low maintenance, durable, visually appealing, and make your home safer than fireplace screens.

We recommend spending a couple of dollars more on fireplace doors. In the end, you will realize that is the more cost-effective choice.

Types of Fireplace Doors

There are several types of fireplace doors. If you have decided to buy a fireplace door, you can always find one that matches your decor. Let’s discuss the common types:

Bi-fold fireplace doors – Come with matching glass panes (on either side) with a seam at the middle that allows them to fold. There are two types of bi-fold fireplaces – tracked and trackless. Tracked doors open by sliding along the door frame rail, while trackless doors open completely, allowing you to access the fireplace fully. Tracked is the best choice if you have pets or children.

Fireplace cabinet doors – Made of two similar glass panes, you can open them like the traditional kitchen cabinet. Provides complete access to the fireplace. Offers excellent energy efficiency.

Custom fireplace doors – You will need to install a custom fireplace door if your fireplace isn’t of the standard shape and size. You can choose from various types like a corner, arched, and masonry fireplace doors.

Types of Fireplace Screens

Fireplace screens come in various designs and shapes. Before making a purchase, find one that blends with your fireplace. Let’s discuss popular fireplace screen types:

Single panel fireplace screen – The most widely-used screen type. It allows for easy access to the fireplace and is affordable.

Bowed fireplace screen – Also known as “curved screens”. Provides a 3-D look that will improve the appearance of your unit. It offers more safety than many types but can be challenging to move.

Child-proof fireplace screen – Designed to keep children away from the fireplace. It is also great for homeowners with pets.

Custom fireplace screen – Made for units with unusual sizes or shapes. Also, ideal for any homeowners who want to try new designs.

Overall Winner 

The overall winner based on the materials they’re made of and their functions are fireplace glass doors.

Remember, Both fireplace glass door and screen are meant to perform the same function-act as a barrier between your living room and fireplace.

Glass doors are superior because they are low maintenance, prevent heat loss, are more durable, and protect your pets and children from embers and sparks.

If you need to install a fireplace door or screen, contact an experienced chimney sweep to advise on the right type and help with the installation.

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Thomas Green

Thomas has worked in the Chimney & Fireplace field for over 12 years. He is an expert in his trade and loves to help People with their needs. Thomas Write helpful articles so that homeowners can make the most informed decisions about their fireplace and chimney.