Replacing and cleaning the glass in your stove or fireplace is a precise process requiring careful attention. Many manufacturers recommend hiring a qualified service technician to install glass because the process is so particular. Improper installation may result in cracked glass or smoke leaking into your living space. Homeowners confident enough to clean and/or replace the glass yourself should follow these expert tips for stress-free glass installation.
Tips for Cleaning
1. Protect glass from scratches by carefully selecting non-abrasive cleaning materials. Razor blades or steel wool damage the surface of the glass allowing soot to build up even more in the future.
2. Burning a hot fire can help break down stubborn soot buildup.
3. Always allow the glass to cool enough to touch before cleaning. Spraying cleaner on hot glass could cause the glass to shatter from thermal shock.
4. Dip damp newspaper in leftover fly ash for additional scrubbing power. The ashes help to scrub away baked-on creosote without damaging the surface of the glass.
5. Avoid ammonia-based cleaners as these can etch the glass. Etching leaves a permanently cloudy appearance and cannot be reversed.
6. Glass cleaners with silicone in the formula create a protective barrier. This layer helps to keep the glass clean longer and makes the cleaning process easier in the future.
Tips for Replacement
1. Work Smarter
First, take the door off the stove before uninstalling the existing glass. Removing the door allows you to work on a level surface and makes it easier to tighten screws evenly. Place a drop cloth on the table or workbench to simplify the cleanup once your project is complete.
2. Use the Right Glass
Make sure that the replacement glass is correct for the make and model of your stove or fireplace and is also rated for use in high temperatures. We recommend ordering OEM glass by the part number listed in your owner’s manual to ensure the best fit. Ordering the OEM part number or any aftermarket glass from our website will be appropriate for use in a wood, pellet or gas stove or fireplace. Some stove models utilize a special infrared coating to bounce heat back into the firebox. This improves the combustion efficiency of the stove, reduces EPA emissions, keeps the glass cleaner, and keeps the living space more comfortable. Pay careful attention to which side faces out if you use glass that includes an IR coating. (The coated side should face towards the firebox rather than the room)
3. Use the Right Gasket
Using the correct density and size of gasket makes all the difference for successful glass installation. Too small of glass gasket could cause smoke to leak into your living space or allow contact against the metal of the door resulting in cracks. Too much density could prevent the stove door from latching properly or result in broken glass. Some models use self-adhesive gasket tape while others may require gasket glue (available HERE) to adhere the fiberglass rope to the glass. Knowing this upfront will save you an extra trip to the hardware store.
4. Hand-Tighten Slowly & Evenly
Glass gasket provides a flexible layer of protection between the glass and metal of the stove door. It’s crucial to tighten the retainer screws by hand, slowly and evenly because the glass and metal expand at different rates when heated. If the metal expands too quickly against the glass it will crack. Too much tension on one area of the glass may cause the new glass to crack.
5. Clean Like an Expert
Protect your new glass by carefully selecting non-abrasive cleaning materials. We recommend ammonia-free glass cleaner (such as this one HERE) because it is specially formulated to cut through creosote build-up on stove and fireplace glass without causing any etching that could cause the glass to cloud or fog up permanently. Dip damp newspaper in leftover fly ash for extra scrubbing power without scratching the glass.
6. Read the Owner’s Manual
Most stove manufacturers provide detailed recommendations for fuel specifications, maintenance schedules, and operation practices that help prevent the common causes of glass damage in the stove owner’s manual. Need a copy of your manual? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the make and model of your stove and we would be happy to check our archives for an electronic PDF to send you.