How to Inspect a Wood Burning Fireplace Yourself

Learn before you burn.


An hour or less






Inspect your fireplace each year to be sure it is safe and sound and ready for the burning season. Here you'll find what to look for and the tools you’ll need for the inspection.

Tools Required

  • Camera or smart phone
  • Extension ladder
  • Flashlight
  • Mirror
  • Vacuum

Project step-by-step (8)

Step 1

Glass & Screen

  • Check the glass doors for cracks or defects, assuring they operate smoothly and are clear of soot.
  • Be sure spark screens move in their track smoothly and are tangle-free.

Step 2

The Hearth

  • The hearth includes the floor of the fireplace and the area in front of the fireplace.
  • The hearth should be made of non-flammable material and should extend a minimum of 16 inches from the front of the fireplace out to any combustible material (carpet, wood floor, etc.).
  • Clean out the ashtray and vacuum the hearth.
  • Inspect the firebrick for cracks and defects on the floor of the hearth and on the walls of the firebox.