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  1. #1
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    Jun 2004
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    woodstock GA
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    Default standard fire code for mantels?

    what is the code for distance from fire box to mantel underside, I could not find it thanks
    Kreg
    www.builtinking.com
    youtube channel: builtinsbykreg
    if you do not have fun every day... why?
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: standard fire code for mantels?

    If it's a real masonry fireplace it's complex in the UBC, I don't know the IRC. If it's a metal fireplace it goes by the manufacturer's instructions based upon their approvals.
    “It is not an endlessly expanding list of rights —the “right” to an education; the “right” to health care; the “right” to food and housing. That is not freedom. That is dependency. Those are not rights. Those are the rations of slavery – hay and a barn for human cattle.” - Alexis de Tocqueville

  3. #3
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    Default Re: standard fire code for mantels?

    I believe it is:

    If it is more than 12 inches above the fireplace opening, there is no limit how far it can stick out.
    Less than 12 inches it is 1/8" out for every inch you go up.

    But check your local codes.
    Kevin


    "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received."

  4. #4
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    Northwest Indiana
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    Default Re: standard fire code for mantels?

    Kreg,

    From the 2006 IRC.

    Kevin is correct.

    N.C. follows the IRC with some changes but their web site dose not help narrow the changes down.

    If you need the entire link let me know, this one is Iowas.

    Section R1003.12 Mantel and trim.
    Woodwork or other combustible materials shall not be placed within 6 inches (152 mm)
    of a fireplace opening. Combustible material within 12 inches (305 mm) of the fireplace
    opening shall not project more than 1/8 inch (3.2 mm) for each 1-inch (25.4 mm)
    distance from such opening.

    Tj
    Last edited by tjbnwi; 08-13-2008 at 10:05 PM. Reason: corrected spacing
    http://chicagocraftsmen.org/2011/06/261.html

    Check with the AHJ, what we say doesn't matter.

  5. #5
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    Seattle, WA
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    11,339

    Default Re: standard fire code for mantels?

    Quote Originally Posted by tjbnwi View Post
    Kreg,

    From the 2006 IRC.

    Kevin is correct.

    N.C. follows the IRC with some changes but their web site dose not help narrow the changes down.

    If you need the entire link let me know, this one is Iowas.

    Section R1003.12 Mantel and trim.
    Woodwork or other combustible materials shall not be placed within 6 inches (152 mm)
    of a fireplace opening. Combustible material within 12 inches (305 mm) of the fireplace
    opening shall not project more than 1/8 inch (3.2 mm) for each 1-inch (25.4 mm)
    distance from such opening.

    Tj
    But note that NOTHING within 6", so the 1/8" per inch starts at 6" above the fire box opening. If you try to get within 12" with combustible materials be prepared to argue it with the inspector.

    If I remember correctly the UBC is more conservative and doesn't allow anything within 12" above, but will allow 6" to the side with restrictions. I seem to remember that above 12" there are still restrictions?
    http://www.lavrans.com

    "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts; for support rather than illumination." -Andrew Lang

  6. #6
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    Feb 2008
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    San Francisco East Bay Area
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    316

    Default Re: standard fire code for mantels?

    In my area, no combustable materials within 12" above the firebox, 6 inches to either side. I believe local codes supercede national so I'd check with your local building dept.

  7. #7
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    woodstock GA
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    Default Re: standard fire code for mantels?

    so if I go 14" above the opening and have a mantel that sticks out 7 1/2" then that is okay?

    do they make a fire retarted paint?
    Kreg
    www.builtinking.com
    youtube channel: builtinsbykreg
    if you do not have fun every day... why?
    get up.... get out there..... get going ! rocking all day long
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: standard fire code for mantels?

    Quote Originally Posted by kreg McMahon View Post
    so if I go 14" above the opening and have a mantel that sticks out 7 1/2" then that is okay?

    do they make a fire retarted paint?
    Yeah, it's called intumescent paint. So long as their chimney draws correctly you shouldn't need it.

    I would think you'd be fine with your plan, but you should be able to call and ask an inspector if you don't have other access to your local codes. You should get to know one- preferably senior- for these type of questions, and as an advocate in the department in case you have disputes in the future.
    http://www.lavrans.com

    "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts; for support rather than illumination." -Andrew Lang

  9. #9
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    San Francisco East Bay Area
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    316

    Default Re: standard fire code for mantels?

    Yes, and not that I know of. I can tell you though that if you have a fire hot enough to ignite a mantel 14" outside the firebox, you have a more to worry about than your mantel igniting.

  10. #10
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    Ruch, OR
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    Default Re: standard fire code for mantels?

    Kreg,
    I strongly suggest you call your local building department. This is something everyone should do before building/installing mantelpieces. They all vary. Get to know your code so you don't have a problem. It's a common question and they'll have a quick answer. I've told this story a lot, but the code between L.A. and Ventura counties, and we work in both, varies considerably, and the code between Thousand Oaks and Camarillo (both in Ventura County), varies, too! I learned this the hard way. A quick phone call is the easiest solution. Some require 12 in. on the side and 12 in. on the top. Period. Some require only six inches on the side and follow the manufacturers requirements on the top, which are much less demanding (see attached pdf).

    Gary
    Attached Files Attached Files

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    SE Florida
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    Default Re: standard fire code for mantels?

    As Gary and most of the other posters have indicated, you have to talk with the local building inspectors. Many are more more territorially agressive than wolf packs, with the dominant bitch a virtual dictator.

    Example: an electrician, who became a good friend of mine over the years, finished wiring all his devices on a house I was trimming. A day or two later, he was rotating every outlet in the house -about 12,000 sq feet- so that the ground faced up. This was the first job he (and I) had done in the area for this builder.

    After finishing, he started the next house for the same builder across the street. The same thing happened on that house. He had to turn all the outlets with the ground facing down. Across the street was Westport, the first house was Weston.

    After the builder came around to the notion that all outlets should be in the base, not the wall, Ted the electrician, checked with the head electrical inspector before each job whether he wanted the ground left or right.

    Good luck,

    Jim

  12. #12
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    woodstock GA
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    Default Re: standard fire code for mantels?

    thanks for the info, I am got the job, and I am calling the build dept monday. I am going with 14" up and 7 1/2 out. (a 2x8) as the mantel and the sides are at least 10" away. should be no problem.

    thanks again it was helpful
    Kreg
    www.builtinking.com
    youtube channel: builtinsbykreg
    if you do not have fun every day... why?
    get up.... get out there..... get going ! rocking all day long
    remember to give out 10 business cards a day !

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    Branford, CT 06405
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    Default Re: standard fire code for mantels?

    Kreg
    Good advice to check with the BO in your area.

    You do not indicate whether this is a masonry fireplce or other , such as a zer-clearance unit, or an older metal firebox.

    I have attached 2 pages from the IRC2003 Commentary, which explains code sections to help inspectors and others to understand the vebage in the code, which is never in plain english....its always steeped in "code language"!

    The 12" measurement starts at the firebox opening(as noted in R1003.12, the 6" dim is used as a "no install" area, therefore the 1/8" per inch requirement means starting at a 6" dimension from the firebox, you can only use 3/4" stock, and build up 1/8" more every 1" further from the firebox opening.

    Again, check with your local inspector!
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Take Care

    Jim

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Northeast
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    195

    Default Re: standard fire code for mantels?

    You must find out which codes apply in your area then buy a copy---don't trust construction based upon the verbal opinions of a phone call or internet advice. You should use the internet where to find authoritative answers. Just friendly advice.

    Keep in mind there may be local ordinances in addition to statewide codes. Also, the IRC can have changes btw revisions.

    For masonry fireplaces, you follow your building codes. For factory built fireplaces, you follow the appliance listing and the building code, generally using the more stringent or restrictive of the two.

    There is no recognized coatings to circumvent stated clearances. A combustible material per NFPA 211 is "Material made of or surfaced with wood, compressed paper, plant fibers, plastics, or otehr material that can ignite and burn, whether flameproofed or not, whether palstered or unplastered."

    Non-combustible is "a material that, in the form in which it is used and under the conditions anticipated, will not ignite, burn, support combustion or release flammable vapors when subjected to fire or heat. Materials that are reported as passing ASTM E-136 shall be considered noncombustible materials." Therefore, coatings do nothing to reduce this std.

    Gary, you have the leading authority on fireplaces right in Moorpark, Ca in Dale Feb: www.gotofire.com If you need a qualified inspector to consult on a custom fireplace, you can search the website for the nearest Certified Fireplace Inspector or you can contact the International Association of Fireplace and Chimney Inspectors at www.membersiafci.org .

    Hope this helps!
    Hearthman
    Certified Fireplace Inspector
    Certified Master Hearth Professional

  15. #15
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    Default Re: standard fire code for mantels?

    As an aside.
    Ask for the citation. Just because you ask a BI a question, the answer is not enforceable unless it is in the code, not just his opinion. This should hold true in any trade, if it requires additional work (change order) you then have a printed legal source.
    SteveC
    The improbable takes time, the impossible takes a little longer.

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