Condo See Through – Custom Case Study
VGF has designed and installed many custom projects over the years, indoor, outdoor, large, and small. Here you’ll find a collection a few favourite projects, some straight-forward, some filled with challenges, and others that are just plain ‘ole fun. We put them together to form the Vancouver Gas Fireplaces Custom Case Studies.
Vancouver Gas Fireplaces was approached by a designer a few years ago to create a custom see-through linear-style fireplace with a glass opening about eleven feet long by eighteen inches high. This unit was to be installed alongside a large window in a penthouse living room with a 20-foot ceiling so that you could see through the fireplace to the beautiful views beyond.
At first, the designer was inspired to use the glass of the building as the outer glass of the fire feature but the VGF custom team explained that heat would be an issue. The unit needed to be designed as a self-contained unit with a base, side walls and a top. Ultimately, the feature was placed about four inches away from the exterior glass panels, to be book-ended by two structural columns that were to be built out and finished. We were able to use the build-out on one column to run the venting up through the roof and on the other column to run a separate air vent from the roof into the base of the unit. The separate incoming fresh air was required for combustion, cooling and venting dilution.
The challenge for this long unit was to vent it through the top portion of the fabrication in an effective manner while maintaining a relatively even flame pattern. To achieve this, the VGF custom team designed a fully welded venting channel that was installed into the fabrication, underneath the outer steel skin. This venting channel was covered in ceramic heat barrier material with an air space separating it from the outer skin.
Because of the length of the unit, several inlets were cut into the channel complete with adjustable baffles so the draw could be balanced. The complex construction of the vent system was not unlike knitting a sock within a sock, except with steel and welding. At the side of the unit, a welded vent adapter was installed for the transition to the venting. The venting went up inside the adjacent column, across the ceiling and through a cored hole in the building’s roof. A power vent was installed on the roofs to pull the air through. The fresh air make-up was pulled into the base and through the unit by the venting action of the power vent.
Once fabricated, the unit was tested prior to shipping. Another challenge remained once the unit was ready to go. Given the length of the fabrication – which was over twelve feet, and thirteen with the crating – there was no way it was going up the freight elevator. To get around this, we had the unit made ahead of time and craned to the top of the building.
In theory, prior to installation, the wiring for the gas to the location, the coring in the roof and the roof flashings would all need to be ready in place for us to install the vent and hook up the unit. However, the fireplace was part of a larger project and unfortunately viewed as just a basic fireplace installation. A certain amount of advocating was necessary to successfully complete the project.
Finally we were able to install the unit, vent it and balance the system, completing the installation. However, initially, when the contractor finished the unit the stone was adhered directly to the fabrication, and because the unit was so large, the stone cracked when the unit heated up. To prevent this from happening again, we designed an exoskeleton steel frame to fit around the unit so that the stone could be installed without attaching to the unit.
Overall, the project posed a significant challenge in logistics and planning while working on a highly customized setup in a very rigid and systemized construction site. But in the end, Vancouver Gas Fireplaces reached a very satisfying result.
Thinking about a custom fireplace?
independent preliminary review by the Equipment Approvals Manager of the Gas Safety Authority of British Columbia and a subsequent field review and inspection by Independent Arms Length Government Inspectors.