What is a Zero Clearance Fireplace

Harry Hubbard

Last updated Feb 10, 2024
Harry is our fireplace and accessories specialist. Trying out new things is his passion. His recommendation barely fails.

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When most people think of fireplaces, they imagine a traditional design with a large opening in the wall that allows for a roaring fire. 

However, another type of fireplace is becoming increasingly popular – the zero clearance fireplace. 

As the name suggests, this type of fireplace has no opening in the wall, so there is no need for clearance space between the fireplace and the wall. 

This makes it a perfect option for homes with limited space. If you are already interested, let’s dive into this article to learn about zero clearance. 

What is a zero clearance fireplace

A zero clearance fireplace is a type of fireplace that is designed to be installed close to combustible materials, such as wood-framed walls. They are self-insulated and don’t heat off the surrounding area. 

Because of their design, these fireplaces do not require any clearance between the unit and the combustible material. This makes them a popular choice for homeowners who want to install a fireplace in a tight space.

Benefits of a zero clearance fireplace

Compared to a conventional fireplace, a few beneficial features count for a zero clearance fireplace. Here are some:

  • A zero clearance fireplace does not require a mantel and has a very thin profile. Because there is no need for a traditional mantel, these fireplaces can be installed in areas where a traditional fireplace would not be possible. 
  • Additionally, because there is no gap between the fireplace and the wall, there is no need for a fire screen, which can help to save space. 
  • Zero clearance fireplaces also tend to be more efficient than traditional fireplaces and may increase your property value. 
  • This type of fireplace has a metal box between the floor and the firebox. The metal box is called a “firestop,” with an open door so you can put logs in the firebox. The firestop has a seal around the door, so smoke and heat don’t escape from the fireplace into the room. 
  • A zero clearance fireplace doesn’t need a chimney, so it’s perfect for an apartment or a house with no chimney. 

Frequently Asked Question

What is the difference between a zero clearance fireplace and an insert?

The main difference between a zero clearance fireplace and an insert is that the zero clearance fireplace is self-insulated. And it does not require additional space inside the firebox enclosure where you need a lot of dedicated space to set a regular fireplace insert. 

How do I know if I have a zero clearance fireplace?

You may know it in the first place, and your manufacturer may inform you if you have a zero clearance fireplace or not. Otherwise, you can call a professional and check if the setup has spaces in between and insulating the insert’s walls. Or, if you are confident enough, you can do it yourself.

How efficient is a zero clearance fireplace?

A zero clearance fireplace is more efficient than traditional options. It can preserve the heat and spread it more effectively inside the house. No gap in between and no chimneys are required, so it saves a lot of heat from escaping.


A zero clearance fireplace is a great option for those looking to update their home with a new fireplace. They are stylish and efficient and can be installed in any room in your home. If you are interested in installing a zero clearance fireplace in your home, be sure to consult with a professional to get started.

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