Artificial fireplace embers, coals, and lava granules help create a realistic and appealing look for gas fireplaces, but some of the pieces can find themselves to the front of the firebox, and eventually on the floor. A way to combat the problem is to install a fire lip.
Before I proceeded with my own idea I contacted our local fireplace retailer that we purchased the natural gas log set from. I was told, “we have a guy that can make a custom fire lip, for about $200”. I mentioned my idea, and they agreed it’s the same design, so I feel confident in sharing a tutorial on how to make your own for around $10 (any tool cost not included).
Measure how far of a span your firebox fire lip needs to retain the embers.
A) I chose to place the fire lip on the ceramic floor section right behind the metal strip, then bend the ends of the aluminum angle to contour, leaving enough room for the chain curtain / spark screen (see final images above).
B) An easier, and maybe more preferred method for your fire lip is to place a straight metal angle along the metal strip right in front of the ceramic firebox section, above the venting slots. There is no cutting or bending needed, and drilling the sheet metal instead of the ceramic may be a more comfortable choice.
* Both examples still allow doors to be installed as normal.
Purchase an aluminum angle that will cover the length needed. Note: This is not a structural piece under heavy load, therefore no need to use thick material. Image shown includes a 3/4 in. x 36 in. x 1/16″ thick, and works perfectly. Aluminum angle is readily available at hardware or home improvement stores in the hardware section.
1) Cut to length
2) Drill 3 holes in the aluminum angle…one in the middle…and one on each end). (i) Hole size will be determined by mounting hardware. A #6-8 sheet metal screw, or 1/8″ (3mm) – 5/32″ (4mm) rivet is more than adequate.
3) Optional: For blending and visual appeal, paint the aluminum angle for the fire lip using high heat paint, available at any hardware store. Note: High heat paint is not recommended in areas directly exposed to flames (e.g., inside of grills or fireplaces). The fire lip is not an area that is exposed to direct heat in a natural gas log environment.
- Lay the aluminum angle on the firebox section you want to install, and mark the 3 holes.
- Drill the holes you just marked using a drill bit size matched to the mounting hardware. (i) Packaged hardware may have drill bit size displayed on package.
Step 4 – Installation
- Install the aluminum angle, and gently tighten the screws with a hand screwdriver to avoid stripping the screw holes. (i) Hardware can also be painted if exposed and visually unappealing.