If you have an outdoor fireplace, then one of the essential accessories you need is a fireplace grate. Fireplace grates come in various styles and materials and choosing one will depend in part on what size and shape your fireplace is and how long you are planning on using your fireplace grate before replacing it. For the most part, there aren’t big differences between the types of grates used for outdoor or indoor use since the material used to construct most grates will withstand the elements of the outdoors.
If you’re confused about all of the different types of fireplace grates available, here is some information to help you make a decision about the best one to choose:
Cast iron fireplace grates – A cast iron fireplace grate is not only durable and long lasting due to the material it is constructed from, but it is sturdy as well. The slots in these types of grates are typically closer together than other styles, keeping the embers off of the floor of the fireplace and allowing the fire to breathe better.
Steel bar fireplace grates – A steel bar fireplace grate is one of the most durable types of grates you can purchase. Some are made from diamond bar steel and others from flat bar steel. and since they are so strong and durable, some models will even offer lifetime guarantees. The openings on these types of grates are wider than on cast iron grates, but you can choose a model with an ember retainer if you prefer to keep your embers from dropping to the firebox floor.
Stainless steel fireplace grates – A stainless steel fireplace grate is not as heavy and strong as cast iron or steel bar grates, but stainless steel won’t corrode so it is a great option for outdoor fireplaces. Stainless steel grates come in all sizes and shapes.
Self feeding fireplace grates – A self-feeding fireplace grate is designed with an angled back so that as your firewood is stacked up and the lower pieces burn, the upper pieces will fall down into the fire to keep it burning. This makes it less labor intensive to keep your fire burning well. Most models of self feeding grates will be made of cast iron, with small openings between the slats.
Ember-bed fireplace grates – An ember bed fireplace grate includes a retainer along the bottom of the grate that keeps the embers from dropping down from the fireplace grate to the floor of the fireplace. Ember bed or ember retainer grates help to keep fires burning hotter and longer because the embers stay in close proximity to the logs.
Non-tapered fireplace grates – A non tapered fireplace grate is designed so that the both sides of the grate are the same height (most fireplace grates have a higher side along the back of the grate than the front) and remain fairly open with low sides. This works well for fireplaces that have openings on both sides, since one side is not higher than the other.
Expandable fireplace grates – Some outdoor fireplaces are larger than typical indoor fireplaces so it may be difficult to find large fireplace grates that are big enough for the firebox. An expandable fireplace grate can solve that problem since the grate comes with extensions to make the grate as large as you need it.
Extra tall fireplace grates – An extra tall fireplace grate has longer legs than a regular fireplace grate, providing more air circulation under the fire and providing more space underneath the grate for starter wood to get the fire going in the first place.
Round fireplace grates – A round fireplace grate is a good option for outdoor fire pits. Most are constructed from stainless steel, but you can also find round grates in cast iron or steel bar as well.
Fireplace grate heaters – A fireplace grate heater operates by having hollow tubes in the fireplace grate that capture the heat of the fire along with a blower that blows the collected heat out into the space outside of the fireplace.
Fireplace grates with blowers are designed primary for indoor fireplaces rather than outdoor fireplaces, since they are rather pricey and may not provide much added heat to an outdoor space to warrant the extra price.
There are many types of fireplace grates available, and which one you purchase may depend in part on the size and shape of your fireplace and how durable you need the grate to be. Since you are using the grate outdoors, it is important that it can withstand the elements of the weather, but any type of heavy duty fireplace grate should suit your purposes well.
You can purchase fireplace grates at stores that sell fireplace accessories, as well as home improvement stores and big box stores (like WalMart and Target). You can also find fireplace grates online from many retailers and if you are looking for a particular type or size of grate, this is a great way to find just what you need. Shopping online is also a great way to compare fireplace grate prices so that you can find the best deal around.