Childproof your Fireplace Hearth

As a first time parent, I’m sure I am overly cautious about what my child can get hurt on around our house. As he started to learn to walk, I pictured him toddling about the house, falling in every direction, eventually losing his balance and falling into the hard edge of our brick fireplace hearth. Leading to an injury requiring medical attention. Because of this fear, I searched for a way to protect my child by childproofing the raised fireplace hearth.

I started my search by Googling hearth covers. The results came up with gates around the hearth or minimal adhesive corners. Neither option gave me the peace of mind I needed. After that, I turned to my old reliable friend Pinterest. Still, the options were not going to work for me. So I knew it was going to be up to me to come up with an idea on my own.

I wanted something that would cover the whole raised hearth and provide lots of padding, in case of a hard fall. High density foam was going to provide that. So, I started by measured the length, height and depth of my hearth. I visited my local fabric and craft store to see what they offered. I decided on 2″ high density foam because I knew it would guarantee my son would not hurt himself on the brick no matter how hard his fall. The 2″ high density foam is not cheap, but with the occasional 40-50% off coupon became much more in my price range.

Foam Size and Cutting

Figuring out how little of foam I could buy was a bit of working a puzzle. The length of the hearth is a little over 61″. Because the foam is 2 inches thick, I added 4″ to the total length, so that each side would have 2″ overhang for the side panels to be glued too. I wanted as clean of a front and top and I could get, so that meant these would be my first cuts. Knowing I would need two long pieces that were 66″ each, I then had to decide how to split to 24″ width of foam. Cutting it in haIf would have made the front just a little short, so decided to cut one piece to be 13″ and the other part would be 11″. I used the 13″ piece for the front.

Length of Hearth

In order to have clean corners, I worked from the other side of the foam and cut two identical pieces to be 11″ x 12″.

I used the remaining foam to create long, thin pieces of foam to add more the the wall and fireplace side. Using as much length as I could I cut two pieces that were 24″ long to be 3″ wide and made a third piece 18″ long. These were to be used on the fireplace side of the top panel. I also cut one pieces 2″ wide and then cut it in half to have two 12″ lengths. These were to be used on the sides.

Here is the total list of cut peices I used:

  • 1- 66″ x 11″
  • 1-66″ x 13″
  • 2-11″ x 12″
  • 2-3″ x 24″
  • 1-3″ x 18″
  • 2-2″ x 11″

Glueing

Once everything was cut, it was time to glue. I purchased a clear professional strength foam adhesive that sprays on.

I started with glueing my two largest pieces. Because I used a spray adhesive, I wanted to try and protect areas that did not need glue. I line up the two sections how I wanted them to be glued together and taped off the areas I did not want glue on using old newspaper ads helped protect larger areas. Once the non-glue area was covered, I removed the section I used to measure and sprayed the glue on both edges to be glued together.

Next I glued the two side pieces. This meant more taping and paper, but once they were on it provided a lot more stability.

The final glueing I did was on the fireplace and wall side where I added the thinner pieces. These added a little more depth which made it look nicer.

Once all the glue was dry, I placed it over the hearth. A perfect fit!

The glue does discolor the foam a little, but you will never know once it is covered in fabric.

Covering

The final step was to cover it with fabric. I made sure to purchase an upholstery fabric. It is very durable and is thicker so you don’t see the foam behind it. It is more expensive, but you should only have to buy it once versus a poorer quality fabric that you may have to replace due to wear and tear.

I made the mistake of purchasing the fabric at the same time of buying the foam. Because I was trying to do quick math in my head, I purchased 2 1/2 yards. The final product is 66″ long and each side is 13″ tall. 66 plus 13, plus 13 equals 92. 92″ is 2″ short of 2 1/2 yards! Ugh! Don’t make the mistake that I did. Make sure you do your math correctly before you buy.

I had planed on gluing the fabric to the foam, but ended up just laying the fabric over it and tucking it over the edges. It looks pretty good and had held up well. This way if I ever want to clean the cover or change out the fabric I can do it easily.

Bonus!

I am so happy with the final product. It provides such good protection from the hard brick and is easy to move when we choose to have a fire in the fireplace. A bonus is that because I used such thick foam, the whole thing doubles as additional seating in our living room! People love to come in and sit down and join in on conversations.

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