How to Remove Fireplace Doors

Removing fireplace doors can be a straightforward DIY project for most homeowners. With some basic tools and safety precautions, you can have those doors down in no time. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to properly remove fireplace doors.

Gather Tools and Materials

Removing fireplace doors requires just a few basic tools:

  • Protective gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Hammer (optional)
  • Pry bar (optional)

You’ll also need a sturdy stepladder or small stepstool to reach the top of the fireplace opening safely.

Before beginning, inspect the doors and surrounding area carefully. Make note of how the doors are currently installed and any unique features of that particular fireplace. Locate all screws or fasteners that will need to be removed.

Shut Off Gas Supply

If you have a gas fireplace with gas logs or burners, the gas supply must be shut off prior to removing the doors. Locate the shut-off valve on the gas line leading to the fireplace and turn it clockwise to the “off” position. Doing this prevents any accidental gas flow while you work.

If you can’t find the valve or are unsure how to shut off the gas, consult your owner’s manual or contact a professional for assistance. Safety should always come first when dealing with gas appliances.

Protect Surrounding Area

Before removing the doors, cover the fireplace opening and lay down drop cloths. This protects the hearth, flooring and any furniture from damage during the process. Carefully remove any nearby décor or breakable items to prevent accidental bumps or falls.

You’ll also want to cover nearby vents. Opening the chimney while removing the doors can allow dust and debris to circulate. Protecting vents prevents spreading mess to other parts of the home.

Removing Fireplace Screen and Accessories

Start by taking off any fireplace screens, grates or log sets in front of the doors. Lift and remove any removable pieces carefully. Temporarily place them aside, out of your way.

Detach and remove any pull chains, handles or other hardware attached directly to the doors themselves. Make note of where these were fastened so you can reattach later. Set the hardware aside with the other removed pieces.

Taking Off Door Panels

With the fireplace cleared, you can begin removing the door panels themselves. There are typically two panels, one on each side.

Important: Always remove the top panel first for safety. Removing the bottom panel first is unstable and can lead to accidents.

Top Panel Removal

The top panel is usually secured along the top header or lintel. Locate any screws, typically along the upper corners or edges, securing it in place.

Use a screwdriver to remove screws and carefully lower them in a container to keep track. Take note of their location to aid reinstallation.

Once all screws are out, use gentle pressure and pry under the top edge with a flathead screwdriver. Apply even pressure across the panel to slowly work it free. Have a helper support the weight as you pry.

With the top loosened, lift up slightly and out to detach completely. Set the panel aside safely out of your way.

Bottom Panel Removal

With the top panel removed, access to the bottom panel screws or fasteners is easier. Follow the same process of locating all hardware.

Remove screws or nails carefully with a screwdriver. Support the panel with one hand as you work to prevent sudden dropping when detached.

Once all fasteners are out, slide the panel upward and tilt outwards to remove. Set it aside with the top panel for reinstallation later.

Detaching Hinges and Hardware

At this point, the bulk of both door panels should be detached from the fireplace. However, the hinges themselves still likely remain.

Examine how each hinge is secured. Some use simple pins while others require removing screws.

Use a screwdriver to detach any remaining screws on fixed hinges. For hinges with removable pins, use pliers to pull the pins out and separate the two sides.

Set all hinge hardware aside and prepare to take down the frame.

Removing Door Frame

With the door panels and hinges off, focus on taking down the metal door frame surrounding the fireplace opening.

Locate any remaining screws around the edges of the frame. Remove them slowly, using care not to drop any into the fireplace.

With screws out, examine how the frame is positioned. Some are tightly wedged into the opening while others are loose.

For tightly fitting frames, insert a pry bar under the bottom edge. Apply slow, even pressure at each side to gently work the frame free. Take care not to bend or warp the frame.

Once loosened enough, lift the frame up and out of the fireplace opening. Use gloves for a secure grip and have someone assist with the weight.

For loose frames, they may lift out by hand once screws are removed. Grip the sides firmly and lift directly up and out.

Clean and Inspect Area

With the doors fully removed, take time to clean the now exposed fireplace opening and surrounding hearth area.

Sweep out any dust, ash or debris inside the firebox using a small broom. Vacuum the hearth and any crevices around the opening.

Also inspect the area for any damage, cracks or deterioration. Make notes on any problem spots to monitor or repair.

If you plan to leave the fireplace without doors for a period, consider covering the opening with plastic sheeting or plywood to prevent extra debris buildup.

Proper cleaning and inspection ensures the fireplace will be ready when it’s time for new doors to be installed.

Storing Doors and Hardware

Once finished with removal, store the old fireplace doors and hardware properly until needed.

Disassemble door panels and stack neatly against a wall, on top of a drop cloth for protection. Keep hardware pieces organized together in a container or bag.

If doors will be rehung soon, keep all components in the local area. For long-term storage, consider moving to a basement, garage or shed.

Cover or wrap door panels with moving blankets or plastic sheeting to prevent scratches, dents or other damage during storage.

Lay door panels flat if possible. Leaning them risks bending or warping. Handle with care.

Safety Tips

Proper safety precautions are a must during any fireplace door removal project:

  • Use a face mask when cleaning out old ash and debris. Particulates can be harmful to lungs.
  • Wear protective eyewear when looking up at the fireplace or handling doors. Falling debris is a hazard.
  • Inspect the interior chimney flue for any damage before proceeding with door removal.
  • Work slowly when prying or handling heavy doors. Sudden force can lead to injury.
  • Avoid leaning into the fireplace opening. The area is unstable without doors secured.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on hand in case of unexpected sparks or heat.
  • Turn off any pilot lights or burners before beginning. This prevents accidental burns.
  • Have someone available to assist with lifting panels or providing support if needed.

Taking basic safety steps reduces the risks of a fireplace door removal project. Always put safety first.

Hiring a Professional

Removing fireplace doors is generally a task a competent DIYer can accomplish. But for those uncomfortable tackling the project solo, hiring a professional may be the best option.

Seeking professional help is particularly prudent with gas fireplaces. Improper gas line handling can cause dangerous leaks.

Beyond capability, consider hiring help for difficult door removal situations:

  • Doors extremely heavy, tall or unwieldy
  • Frames rusted, damaged or otherwise stuck
  • Limited physical capability to handle doors
  • Unique or intricate custom fireplace designs
  • Lack of time or desire to handle personally

Reputable fireplace installation and repair technicians have the skills and experience needed to remove doors quickly and safely.

Be sure to hire a licensed and insured professional. They should also have background checks completed. This helps avoid potential issues down the line.

When to Replace Fireplace Doors

Once the doors are off, assess if replacement is needed or if reusing the existing doors is still an option.

Some signs it’s time for new fireplace doors:

  • Visible cracks, dents or holes in panels
  • Corroded, rusted or warped metal components
  • Difficulty closing or broken closure mechanisms
  • Discolored or scratched glass fronts
  • Outdated style unsuitable to décor

Even if doors are structurally sound, many homeowners choose to replace purely for aesthetics. New doors in an updated finish or design refresh the whole fireplace surround.

If tackling a larger scale remodel, new doors often complement the new decor best.

Installing New Fireplace Doors

Should new doors be needed, the installation process is fairly straightforward after the old doors are removed.

When selecting new doors, bring exact fireplace opening measurements to ensure the proper fit. Units are available in standard sizes but having your measurements on hand allows for accuracy.

Understand the differences between:

  • Fixed doors – Stationary doors that do not open. Usually a glass front.
  • Bi-fold doors – Hinged panels that fold in. Easiest to open and close.
  • Accordion doors – Door panels fold into each other, stacking to the side. Space saving choice.
  • Single panel doors – A large single hinged panel. Fewer seams but very heavy.

Measure existing screw holes to reuse if possible. Ask an expert at your local hardware store for advice if unsure which new doors work best.

With the doors purchased, reverse the removal steps:

  • Install the metal frame first secured into the fireplace opening.
  • Attach hinges and hardware. Ensure smooth motion.
  • Hang door panels, starting with bottom then top.
  • Complete final safety checks.

Take care to attach new doors securely. Refer to the manufacturer’s installation instructions for exact steps.

If drilling new screw holes is needed, wear safety goggles and vacuum dust afterwards. New doors transform the fireplace and provide protection for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions on removing fireplace doors:

Do I always need to hire a professional?

No. If you are reasonably handy and confident, removing doors is usually a straightforward DIY project, especially for smaller units. But for large or high doors, or if unfamiliar with fireplaces, seeking professional help is recommended.

What tools do I need?

Just simple hand tools like flathead and Phillips screwdrivers, pliers, and a pry bar. Protective gloves and goggles are also a must. Avoid power tools which can damage the frame or finish.

How long does it take?

From 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on door size, screws/fasteners used, and complexity of the surround design. Have patience and go slowly.

Can doors be reused after removing?

Often yes, assuming the doors are structurally sound without damage or wear. Make sure to store carefully. Some minor repairs like hinge tightening may be needed before rehanging.

How much does a professional charge for removal?

From $75 to $250 depending on location and accessibility. Simple DIY-friendly doors on the lower end. Tall ornate custom units at the high end. Get quotes from at least 3 companies.

What precautions should I take with a gas fireplace?

Always turn off the gas supply valve before starting and avoid striking lines. If unsure, hire a professional to handle gas components. NEVER remove doors with gas on.

Is it okay to burn the fireplace without doors?

Technically yes, but it significantly reduces efficiency and allows much more room for sparks, embers or smoke to exit the firebox. Fireplace doors exist for good safety reasons!


The process of removing existing fireplace doors to replace, repair or refresh your fireplace can be done successfully as a DIY project. With proper tools, safety gear and the above step-by-step guidance, those outdated doors can be safely removed by homeowners confident in their abilities.

Always take care when working around heavy doors or gas appliances. Seeking professional assistance is recommended if any concerns arise during the project. But with some patience and preparation, removing fireplace doors can be a straightforward process, allowing for new and improved doors to better showcase your hearth.