Fireplace Designs & Terminology Explained

September 14, 2021

Fireplace Designs & Terminology Explained.

Your Fireplace Design Glossary

Fireplaces are somewhat unique when it comes to home appliances. They are highly technical and need to be installed correctly for safety, longevity, and proper performance. They are also very visible and often in the most common areas of the home such as the living room. This means they need to be both functional and stylish.

Most other appliances are more straightforward and focus on look such as a Refrigerator, Dishwasher, Washing Machine & Dryer. While these may require some installation its relatively straightforward – more or less plug and play. Then there is appliances like Heat Pumps, Hot Water Heaters, Furnaces, & other HVAC systems that require very precise installation but are usually hidden in a dark corner in the basement or a closet.

Fireplaces are in a class of their own, and as such there is lots of technical language you need to understand when shopping for one. From installation terms to design terms it can all be a little overwhelming - Let us demystify that language for you with our glossary of fireplace design terms.

Fireplace Installation/Finishing Terms Explained


  • The chase refers to the structure above the fireplace that contains the venting. Traditionally this was the chimney, however with modern gas fireplaces this is typically a purpose built wall designed specifically for the unit’s venting requirements.

Clean Edge

  • A clean edge installation refers to the ability to bring finishing material direct to the front edge of the fireplace without the need for a frame or “picture frame” look. The result is a very sleek and modern look that suits lots of today’s home design trends. This is sometimes also referred to as Clean Front Design.


  • Clearances refer the to minimum distance required from any given angle of a fireplace. Each fireplace will have its own unique clearances for framing, combustible materials, and items like TV’s or artwork. For example a TV may be required to be a minimum of 36” from the top of the fireplace to avoid any damage or could require a mantel at a specific height before anything is placed above the fireplace.

Combustible Materials

  • Most fireplaces will have a clearance to combustibles where Non-combustible materials must be used up to that clearance point. Combustible materials include building materials such as wood and drywall. Non-combustible materials are building materials that do not burn or ignite when subjected to expected levels of fire or heat. Examples of non-combustible materials include brick masonry, concrete blocks, hardy backer board, calcium silicate board, cement board, metal, and certain types of glass. See: Non-Combustible Materials Explained for more information

Cool Wall

  • A Cool Wall is a Special framing of the chase that allows for combustible finishing materials to be brought right up to the edge of the glass with little or no clearance. This application is specific to certain units and require Venting in the chase to release the heat from inside the wall into the room.

Finishing Material

  • The finishing material refers to the type of material used on the Chase and directly behind/surrounding the fireplace. Traditionally this was brick, stone, tile or other non-combustible materials; however, with some of the modern Cool Wall or low-clearance fireplaces sometimes materials like wood & wallpaper can be used. The finishing material will be directly related to your specific units Clearance to Combustibles.


  • A Flue is a term used to describe the venting on your unit. If you have a wood stove the venting coming off the top of the unit would be referred to as the Flue. If you have an insert the Pipe that runs down the inside of the chimney is considered the flue.

Flush Installation

  • A Flush installation refers to the front edge of the fireplace being Flush, or directly in line, with the wall/chase that contains it. This creates a modern look that is very popular with today’s design trends.


  • A Hearth is the permanent structure directly in front of a fireplace designed to maintain clearance, protect the floor, and raise the fireplace off the ground. A. Most modern gas and wood fireplaces do not require a hearth as long as clearances are met, however some people will choose to build one to create that traditional look. Hearth Pad is the non-combustible material that is built underneath wood stoves to protect the floor from the heat of the stove


  • A Mantel is the structure above the fireplace that acts as a heat shield for the materials placed above the fireplace and as a frame for fireplace as a whole. Some fireplaces will require a mantel if you want to place a TV or artwork above it, and some do not it will depend on your fireplace’s clearances.


Fireplace Style Terms Explained

Bay Style

  • A Bay Style fireplace is a 3-sided fireplace that has glass on the front and left and right sides creating a U shaped view of the fire – similar to the shape of a bay. These are great for large rooms or areas where you can see the fireplace from lots of angles.

Contemporary Fireplaces

  • Contemporary fireplaces are a category that encompass the most popular shapes/styles of fireplaces at that given time. Over time the definition of contemporary fireplace will change to meet current design trends. Currently contemporary fireplaces are typically linear. See: Contemporary Gas Fireplaces

Corner Style

  • A Corner style fireplace is a 2-sided fireplace that has glass on the front and either left OR right sides creating an L shaped view of the fire. These are great for corner of rooms or areas between living spaces.

Modern Fireplaces

  • Modern fireplaces are a category that fits with Modern home design – clean lines, flush installation, and versatile finishing options. Modern style fireplaces are also typically linear, however have different features and installation to produce the desired clean line look that modern homes have. See: City Series Modern Gas Fireplaces

Pier Style

  • A Pier Style fireplace is a 3-sided fireplace that has glass on the Front, Back and one side (either Left or Right). These fireplaces are good as transitional elements within the home and allow for the fireplace to be seen in multiple rooms or as part of a pony-wall.


  • A See-Through fireplace is a 2-sided fireplace with glass on the Front and Back of the unit. These units allow the fireplace to be seen in two rooms and create an open and luxurious feel.

Single Sided

  • A Single Sided fireplace is a 1-sided fireplace with glass only on the front. These are what you would typically think of when thinking of a fireplace.

Traditional Fireplaces

  • Traditional Fireplaces are a category that includes everything that is not modern or contemporary. Typically, these are square or rectangular fireplaces that have styling options to match a more traditional interior design. See: Traditional Gas Fireplaces

Fireplace Accessory Terms Explained

Fireplace Accessories

  • Fireplace Accessories is a generic term that encompasses everything aside from the physical unit itself. This includes logs, faceplates, blowers, venting and everything in-between. Some accessories will be required (such as venting) and some will be optional (such as a blower) but it will depend on your specific unit.

Airmate (Wood Stoves)

  • An Airmate is an accessory for Wood Stoves that channels the warm air from behind the stove over the top of the stove and back towards the room. Without the Airmate the warm air is directed up the back of the stove and released upwards into the room.

Base (Wood Stoves)

  • A Base is what will hold up the Wood Stove off the ground. Typically you can choose between Legs (in different finishes) for a more traditional look and a Pedestal for a more contemporary look.

Blowers (All Units)

  • Blowers or Fireplace Fans are accessories mounted on the exterior of the fireplace or inside the unit but outside the firebox itself. It is used to circulate air around the unit's hot exterior before pushing it back into the room. Fireplace fans help to circulate warm air and increase heat penetration into the room. However, they do not increase the fireplace's total heat output; instead, fireplace blowers simply move air more effectively to increase the amount of airflow around the fireplace and the entire room’s ambient temperature. See: Fireplace Blowers Explained

Faceplate (Gas Fireplaces & Inserts)

  • A Faceplate is an accessory for gas fireplaces and inserts that surrounds the unit and helps change the look/style of a particular fireplace. Typically, they are required, and styles will range dramatically depending on the look you want.

Inner Panels (Gas Fireplaces & Inserts)

  • The Interior Panels are the materials lining the walls of your unit. Typically, there is Brick, metal, and glass options to choose from, but the specific choices will be dependent on your chosen unit.

Media (Gas Fireplaces & Inserts)

  • Media refers to the materials inside the fireplace such as log sets, crystals, stones & crushed glass. Depending on the unit there will be a choice of media and you can pick the one that will best suit your style. Media is also typically referred to as your Firebed Options.

Surround (Gas Inserts)

  • A Surround is an accessory for Fireplace Inserts that can be used to cover the existing hole that the new insert/faceplate does not cover. For example, if you have a rounded masonry fireplace a surround would help cover the hole when a new insert is placed within the fireplace so you get a finished look.

Venting (All Units)

  • Venting is the term used for the pipe and cap systems used on fireplaces to remove emissions from your home. Venting is required for all fireplaces that Regency sells. While there are ventless fireplaces available, they are restricted in many countries, cities, and municipalities. See: Ventless Fireplaces Explained to learn about the Safety concerns associated with Ventless fireplaces.

Vignette (Gas Inserts)

  • A Vignette is an accessory for gas fireplaces and fireplace inserts. Similar to a faceplate it can be used to style your fireplace. It is a heavy duty steel frame that holds the screen of the fireplace in place while providing a little more customization and style flexibility.


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