How to Find the R-Value for Your New Fireplace Hearth

When installing a new fireplace or hearth, finding the R-value for your new fireplace hearth is essential. The hearth is, of course, the structure that sits under and around a fireplace in your home to hold it in place and keep the heat from burning anything that might be under or near your fireplace. But how do you find this important information?

Calculate the R-Value for Your New Fireplace Hearth

R-value is an important factor when it comes to the performance and protection of your hearth. This measures how efficient a material is at resisting heat transfer. The higher the R-value, the better insulation your hearth will provide, making it one of the most important steps in protecting your home from fire hazards.

To calculate this resistance value, you’ll need to find the R-value of each material used in your hearth construction. You can use an R-value calculator, or you can also refer to tables published by manufacturers. Once you have the R-values for all your materials, add them together and that’s your total resistance value or insulation value. For example, if you have a brick-and-mortar hearth with values of 5.2 for the brick and 2.5 for the mortar, then your R-value is 7.7.

What R-Value Do I Need?

Depending on which type of fireplace you have — gas, electric, or wood burning — and what kind of ventilation system it has — natural or direct — will determine the R-value needed for your hearth and, therefore, what materials will be best to use. Fortunately, most fireplace manuals have its R-value in them, or you can ask one of our expert representatives at IHT Hot Tubs & Fireplaces what it may be. If you are in the market for a new fireplace, we have a great selection of fireplaces to choose from and we can help you have this sorted out in no time.

Fireplace Type Impacts Resistance Value

Whether you have a gas, electric, or wood-burning fireplace, you will have different heat outputs for each type of fireplace. Wood-burning fireplaces, can burn very hot. Fireplace temperature is impacted by the type of wood and how much is used. Electric fireplaces produce less heat than the others and have the lowest R-value.

Ventilation Style Impacts R-Value

Electric fireplaces do not have to be vented, but gas and wood fireplaces do. The R-value for a gas fireplace is impacted by the type of venting system you have installed. Natural ventilation systems are less efficient than direct vent systems and require higher R-values to keep your home safe from heat transfer.

Hearth Material Choices

Hearths can use a wide variety of materials. Some materials are better for higher values, while others work well with a lower R-value. Mineral fiber board, ceramic board, and brick have the highest R-value ratings. You can use a lower-rated material, but you will have to use more of them to meet the rating. Marble, granite, and other stone materials have lower R-values. Direct vents and electric fireplaces use materials with lower R-value more easily. Either way, there is a good variety of options for materials you can use to build your hearth.

We know that finding R-values can be confusing, so it’s always best to contact the professionals for assistance. IHT has a variety of gas, wood, and electric fireplaces for you to choose from to fit your fireplace/heating needs, and we are experts at the information you need to make sure your home is safe. Contact our Denver store to speak with someone about your fireplace and hearth options, as well as the R-value for your new fireplace hearth. You’ll find an excellent fit for your home at IHT Hot Tubs & Fireplaces. We look forward to hearing from you!