Fireplace Screens v.s. Glass Doors: Differences + Pros & Cons

So what's the difference between fireplace screens and glass doors?
  • A fireplace screen is a mesh piece that acts as a barrier between the fireplace area and the room. The frame is typically made from a metal (iron or bronze are popular), while the mesh panel can be made from woven wire, perforated metal, or woven wire.
  • On the other hand, fireplace doors are made of thick glass and serve the same purpose as screens but are much stronger than mesh.
  • You need to be careful with glass doors so they don’t shatter from high fireplace heat– check out our guide on open & closing glass doors on burning fires.
  • The main advantage of fireplace doors is their energy efficiency: when your fire is out or dwindling, you can close the doors and prevent the warm air from escaping out the chimney. This keeps more heat in the room longer, increasing the efficiency of your heat source (Source).
  • As well, fireplace doors prevent cool air from escaping out of your fireplace during the summer.

When replacing or purchasing a new fireplace door, there are various types of doors to choose from. There are glass doors and screen doors. This article is meant to provide you with information on the pros/cons of each type so that you can make a well-informed decision.

These two items may look similar at first glance, but each has its features covered in this article. By the end of the article, you are guaranteed to make the right decision on which of the two will work best for you.

Choosing Between A Glass Door Or A Screen

Fireplace Screen: Overview

A fireplace screen or a fireguard is a protective barrier for the open fire. A fireplace screen is made from heat-resistant materials, shapes, and forms that can be used to protect yourself while trying to enjoy the warmth of the fireplace. Generally, it is used with fixed or portable fireplaces.

The most important thing for owning a fireplace is safety. In addition to protecting those too close to the fireplace from burns, a good fireguard will help prevent children and pets from playing with the logs and embers.

Sometimes people want to cover their home-based heaters with glass doors. Unfortunately, this is not recommended as it has many negative consequences. Glass doors stop the fire from radiating heat, which means that all heating energy is used for decomposition or combustion.

couple drinking wine in front of fireplace

Glass doors are fully transparent, unlike the mesh of the screen door, which creates an obstruction when viewing the fire. Glass fireplace doors also come in designs that allow you to see only part of the fire, rather than seeing all of it as possible with the screen door.

Screens are made of mesh, providing a safer option for handling fireplaces. They’re meant to be used with an open flame; therefore, there is no worry about broken glass due to mishandling. Screens create more depth when viewing the fire inside the hearth, and they also give you more realistic visuals than glass doors.

Glass protects but reduces ventilation and allows less oxygen into the room to work effectively. Thus, the risk of suffocation is increased by placing glass doors on a fireplace. If you want your heater to be very efficient, you should not consider the installation of glass doors.

Glass doors are aesthetically adorable, but at the same time, they can be dangerous for small children and pets. Children tend to touch everything, so if they go near the fireplace, their clothes or hair can get burned, while a pet may jump through it and injure itself.

Pros of a glass fireplace door:

  • The aesthetically pleasing design can complement your interior decoration.
  • A short learning curve is needed to use the doors correctly.
  • Easy to use.
  • Glass is very versatile, making installation of the door relatively easy – you’re able to adjust it according to your specific measurements.

Cons of a glass fireplace door:

  • Each has the potential risk of breaking if dropped or mishandled by an individual not being careful enough with their movements.
  • Glass also chips quickly, causing it to become hazardous.

Glass Doors: Overview

Glass doors for fireplaces are generally made from tempered glass and, as such, must be handled with care. Although this design makes them famous, the tempered glass also makes these doors more challenging to install. Most fireplace door manufacturers recommend hiring a professional installer who can adequately protect your fireplace and yourself during installation. If you prefer not to hire a professional, at least keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

Typically, tempered glass doors for fireplaces are mounted with gas springs and magnetic latches. This allows the door to be opened just enough without fully swinging out and away from the fireplace opening. The latch is also designed to automatically retract into place when released so it won’t stick out or interfere with the door.

The 5 Best Fire Pokers

Installation is relatively simple, but it’s recommended that you don’t attempt to do it yourself without proper training and tools. The glass needs to be cut with a diamond grinder, which requires some skill to use safely, especially on tempered glass. You’ll need special cutting oil that won’t damage your diamond wheel. The grinder should also be used with a dust mask and protective eyewear, and gloves to keep the glass shards out of your eyes and lungs.

Tempered glass is solid, but it’s still tempered glass. It will shatter if dropped on a hard surface or struck with enough force. The broken pieces won’t cut you with their jagged edges, but they will be extremely sharp. If you need to cut it into smaller pieces, use a diamond saw or ceramic tile cutter with water as the lubricant.

The door must fit precisely in the space of your fireplace opening, so gas springs are generally used to assist with installation. They can either be installed inside the fireplace opening or on the side of the surround. You’ll need to make sure your fireplace is large enough for a door and that you check with local building codes regarding installation requirements. Some areas require doors and screens regardless of how an exterior wall is treated, while others won’t use glass in any application.


  • Glass doors for fireplaces look better and more classic than screens
  • More protection against flying sparks and embers
  • The glass doors are made of tempered glass.
  • They are very energy efficient.


  • Harder to install – need professional or have extra hand
  • More costly than standard fireplace screen


If you have a wood-burning or gas fireplace that generates moderate heat levels, then door glass is an option that allows you to keep the view of the fire burning. If you have a fireplace that produces high heat levels, then a screen is an option to protect your home from any possible damage caused by the intense temperatures. In this case, the screen also allows you to enjoy the view of a roaring fire without having to feel too close to it or worrying about children and pets being too close.

Also, it is essential to consider who will use the fireplace most often when choosing between glass doors and a fireplace screen. I wouldn’t recommend glass doors if your family’s primary heat source is a fireplace because this would make your home too hot to be comfortable. In this case, the glass doors also pose a genuine danger of being shattered into dangerous shards by flying embers or blockages.

In conclusion, if you have a fireplace that produces high heat levels, a screen is an option to protect your home from any possible damage caused by the intense temperatures. In this case, the screen also allows you to enjoy the view of a roaring fire without having to feel too close to it or worrying about children and pets being too close.

Eugene Duke Pic

Hi, my name’s Eugene Duke and I love sitting by my fireplace reading a book and sipping on an adult beverage. Do you have a fireplace in your house? I’ll help you figure out the best type and style of fireplace for your home.


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