How To Start A Top-Down Fire In A Fireplace?

You have just moved into your new home and you’re eager to light a fire in the fireplace. You’ve done this before, but for some reason, it is taking much longer than normal to get that top-down fire going. In fact, all you are getting is smoke! What’s going on? Well, there are a few things you can do to fix this problem so that you can start enjoying your fires again in no time at all!

It is a good idea to start your fire from the top down. This allows the heat and light from the other logs in your fireplace to ignite any paper or kindling you add. The best way to do this is by using newspaper, which should be crumpled up into balls before adding it to your fireplace. You can also use pine needles or dryer lint for added effect!

To start a top-down fire in the fireplace you need to use paper and kindling. Make sure that there is not too much crumpled-up newspaper as it tends to burn really fast and can also cause unburnt bits of paper flying around, which may set things on fire or annoy your smoke detectors. Also, make sure that you do not put so much paper at once because it will smother the flames underneath and stop them from working properly!

After the paper, you will need to place some kindling. You can use twigs or even a few logs that have been split into pieces as they are great for starting fires and burning hot enough to get rid of all those unburnt bits of paper! Once this is done, let it sit for about twenty minutes so that everything starts up properly.

You should know how to start a top-down fire in your fireplace if you want your house filled with warmth on cold winter days!

What Is A Top-Down Fire?

A top-down fire is a style of building a fire. The kindling and fuel are placed on the grate from bottom to top, then lit at the very bottom with small pieces of paper or dried leaves. When lit, they burn upwards towards your logs which will eventually start burning too having been lit by embers coming up through the chimney flue.

There are several benefits to starting your fire this way. One of them is that it creates a longer-lasting flame so you can enjoy the heat for much longer without having to constantly re-light the logs as you would with kindling placed on top of them.

Another benefit is that because all of your fuel sources burn down, there’s very little chance of causing excess creosote buildup in your chimney which means less cleaning and maintenance required over time. It also makes clean-up easier since all the ash falls into an area at the bottom near where you started burning instead of falling through onto another section or parts further inside like may happen if using kindling on top especially when combined with quick lighting accelerants such as lighter fluid.

A third benefit is that you’re less likely to accidentally smother your fire with too much fuel by putting on logs or larger pieces of wood than recommended. When starting a top-down fire, it’s important to use small and dry kindling since this helps the paper burn faster which in turn ignites the sticks and twigs below more quickly creating an initial flame before waiting for the logs above to catch fire. Adding wet logs can also pose a problem if they’re placed onto burning coals from the bottom-up because moisture will cause smoke instead of flames which reduces heat output resulting in slow-burning fires throughout most of their duration.flame

In addition, using smaller pieces at first means that there are fewer opportunities for embers escaping through cracks between logs or by being pushed through small gaps in the grate. This means that you won’t have to worry about increased smoke output due to embers creating smoldering fires instead of strong flames which can cause creosote buildup and even damage chimneys over time if done repeatedly.

Benefits Of A Top-Down Fire

A top-down fire is easy to start. It also burns faster because the air can circulate freely. This makes it a good choice for quick, convenient heat that you need quickly or when hosting large groups of people who are just looking to warm up fast. Also, one drawback with this type of fireplace is that there isn’t much aesthetic value since you will not see flames licking at logs from below. But if your priority is efficiency and warmth over beauty, then this may be the option for you!

Do you want to know how to start a top-down fire in your fireplace?

Please follow the next steps. First, place tinder materials like newspaper or dry twigs on top of crumpled paper placed under kindling logs near the edge of your fireplace opening. Then build up from there with split logs and more kindling until you have reached the desired look for within the chimney. Once everything is set up nicely, it’s time to light! Light candles or long lighters first before using matches so that if candles go out unexpectedly due to windy weather conditions, then match lit can be used immediately afterward without anything else needing to be relit again until the candle gets going strong enough by itself which should happen quite quickly since wick is already primed by candle flame.

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Match Tips! When lighting matches, hold the matchbox with one hand and strike the match on its side of the box—not the top. This will ensure that you can light as many matches as needed without having to worry about running out halfway through your fire building process since newly opened boxes tend to be more reliable than those which have been used before or are half-empty.

How To Build A Top-Down Fire In A Fireplace?

One of the easiest ways to start a fire in your fireplace is by building one from the top down. This method requires some wood and kindling, paper, matches or lighter, and something like a newspaper to get it going. It’s great because you don’t have to open up your flue which can be dangerous if not done properly. You also want to make sure that there isn’t anything around for it to burn (i.e.: furniture).

If you do this wrong, you could end up losing everything! First things first: gather all your materials together – we’ll need them later on! Next step: clear out an area just outside of where the hearth meets the floor so that we can build it in that area, but not too close to the wall or anything else. If you can’t do this safely (i.e.: pets) make sure there is nothing around for it to burn (curtains). Now we’re ready!

Our post has now been completed and your audience will appreciate these tips when they start their fire – perfect!

Add The Larger Logs

Add the larger logs. Place them in a crisscross pattern, which will allow for airflow between each one. Keep this pattern is up for the first three logs.

Next, take four smaller pieces of wood and stack them on top of one another in a vertical line just beneath where you placed your larger logs. The small pieces need to be crisscrossed with the large ones as well to create airflow between each piece of firewood. Keep adding these lines of stacked wood until it reaches above the height of your fireplace opening by about six inches or so. Make sure not to overload your log structure with too much weight; otherwise, it might become unstable!

Now that you have built up an impressive teepee full of tinder-ready wood, let’s talk about how exactly you are going to set all those hard work into flame…

Add The Smaller Logs

  • Place the smaller logs in a crisscross pattern on top of larger logs. The goal is to cover as much of the fireplace grate with wood as possible, while still allowing room for air circulation (and oxygen). Make sure to leave room on all sides of the grate for airflow.
  • Place kindling over the crisscross pattern, making a loose layering of logs and kindling. If you are using pine cones or other natural materials in your fire starter kit, scatter them throughout this layer as well.

Add The Kindling First

A top-down fire starts with a layer of kindling on the bottom. The first thing you want to do is lay some very small, thin pieces at the bottom of your fireplace. Add these on another piece that’s slightly larger and place this on top of the grate inside your fireplace as well.

  • Leave enough space for airflow
  • Make sure it’s sturdy
  • The pieces should be small enough to ignite easily
  • They need to fit inside your fireplace, so make sure they’re not too big or thick. Also, if you have a gas fireplace, the specifications are slightly different because you don’t use kindling with it. Make sure there’s space for airflow and that whatever you’re using is sturdy enough to support itself without falling apart on its own.

After this step comes one of the most important ones: adding the tinder bundle! The tinder bundle holds everything together once it all starts burning, but will also help get things started quickly at first by giving off plenty of heat/smoke as soon as it catches fire. To do this successfully though, you need to make sure it’s tightly packed together and in a shape that is ideal for the kind of fireplace you have.

  • Tightly pack your tinder bundle
  • It should be shaped like a cone
  • Make sure there are no gaps or holes because this means less heat/smoke will come through when everything starts burning. A good tip here would be to use dried grasses instead of newspaper if possible since they tend not to leave behind any ashes once things begin catching fire on their own.

In general, all you’ll need from start is some very small pieces of wood (kindling), then add these onto another piece that’s slightly larger and place this on top of the grate. You’ll also need a tinder bundle on the bottom, which you tightly pack together so that there are no gaps or holes. Make sure this is in a cone shape and fits snugly inside your fireplace with enough space for airflow.

After all of these steps have been completed successfully comes what most people consider to be the hardest part: waiting! A top-down fire needs time to gradually form itself into an actual flame instead of just smoke before it can really get going though. Keep checking on it periodically while continuing to add small pieces onto the growing flames until they’re big enough to support themselves on their own without any more kindling added directly beneath them.

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How To Light A Top-Down Fire In A Fireplace?

  • There are two ways to light a top-down fire in your fireplace. The first way is with newspaper and kindling, while the second way is by using paper towels or other combustible material instead of newspaper. To start a top-down fire you will need one pack of starter logs, tinder (paper towel), kindling (small pieces of wood), and a fireplace lighter.
  • If you choose to use newspaper and kindling, place the starter logs in your firebox first with small pieces of wood surrounding them on all sides. Open up a single sheet of newspaper into a flat square or rectangle shape that is large enough for it to completely cover one end of the starter log. Place this inside the center cavity where there are no logs present and light from underneath by using a long match stick or other types of igniter devices such as a butane torch or charcoal lighter fluid applicator nozzle tip. The flame should touch both ends at once when lit properly allowing it to burn evenly around its circumference which will make sure you get an even burning time while also maximizing heat output during each stage of combustion.
  • If you decide to use paper towels or other combustible material instead of newspaper, place the starter logs in your firebox first with small pieces of wood surrounding them on all sides. Then take a single sheet of paper towel and tear it into several smaller square shapes that are large enough for each piece to completely cover one end of the starter log. Place these insides around the center cavity where there are no logs present and light from underneath by using a long match stick or other types of igniter devices such as butane torch or charcoal lighter fluid applicator nozzle tip. The flame should touch both ends at once when lit properly allowing it to burn evenly around its circumference which will make sure you get an even burning time while also maximizing heat output during each stage of combustion.
  • Once the paper towel has been lit, it will burn for an average time ranging from 15 minutes to 45 minutes depending on how large your fireplace is and what type of wood you are burning inside. This means that once this process begins, you should monitor its progress closely by keeping a close eye over the following steps until all three stages (ignition, propagation, and sustainment) have fully taken place which can take anywhere between 20 minutes up to 60 minutes or longer if required based on certain circumstances such as whether or not there was prior history previous fires within your home’s firebox cavity before hand.

Check The Damper In Your Fireplace

In some fireplaces, you will need to open the damper first. Check where your damper is located and make sure it’s open before starting a top-down fire in a fireplace. Many people forget this step which can cause smoke or carbon monoxide problems if they attempt to start their fires without opening the proper dampers first.

If you have any questions on how to check for correct airflow please contact an expert at your local hardware store who should be able to provide assistance with this task as well as any other needs that may arise when attempting such projects yourself!

Open Any Air Vents/Windows And Ensure That The Fireplace Is Clean

Do not place a flame thrower under your fireplace. Do not drop a match into the ash and then close all of the doors/windows so that it will suffocate from lack of oxygen. If you do, you are going to have an extremely difficult time getting this fire started again because there is very little chance for success in such situations. In order to get a top-down fire burning successfully, these two things must be done.

Lighting A Top-Down Fire

In A Fireplace Ready to start a top-down fire in your fireplace? Here are the steps that you need to take! First, open up all of the doors and windows so that there is plenty of ventilation. If it’s cold outside, give yourself enough time for everything inside to warm up before starting any fires. Once this has happened and you have given things extra time to heat…

Steps to starting a top-down fire in your fireplace:

  • Open up all of the doors and windows so that there is plenty of ventilation. If it’s cold outside, give yourself enough time for everything inside to warm up before starting any fires. Once this has happened and you have given things extra time to heat…
  • Lay kindling down across the grate at an angle using crumpled newspaper or other easily lit paper underneath. Make sure not to lay them directly under each other as they need an area where air can circulate around them.
  • Tear off some sheets from another section of your newspapers (avoiding any glossy pages) roll these into tight balls – roughly tennis ball size – and place a few of these on top of the kindling.
  • Continue to add more and more pieces until you have built it up about three inches high.
  • Then, lay your first firelighters across so that they are roughly evenly spaced out with each other – there should be no gaps as this will allow air in underneath which may not catch light easily. Once you have done this, layer another sheet or two above them at an angle just like before using crumpled paper below if required for extra flammability. Repeat this process again building upwards but only by one inch at a time finishing off with a single thickness of firelighter laid down directly under where the smoke outlet sits (this is usually between 12-18 inches from the top).
  • Light a match and, holding it above your shoulder so that there is no risk of you burning anything flammable or catching yourself on fire, light each corner of the final sheet. Once this has happened you should have flames coming out across the whole grate which will then burn up through all layers – lighting them in turn. There may be some smoke at first but allow things to settle down for around 30 minutes before closing off any air vents with either brick dust or clay/ceramic balls available online cheaply if required.
  • Please note: Sometimes when lighting fires especially using kindling/paper underneath they can get going very quickly producing lots of smoke for what seems like ages! after about 20-30 minutes they will usually settle down and burn more cleanly.
  • Leave your fires to completely die out before trying to rake them over as this can sometimes re-ignite the process which you don’t want or need!
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Environmental Protection

  • Fireplaces are very environmentally friendly compared to other heating sources. They do not require any electricity or gas, which means that they don’t contribute to global warming like most modern heating systems. Fireplaces can be an excellent way of reducing your carbon footprint and doing something good for the environment. And they are fun to use as well!green wood
  • If you have a fireplace in your home, it could be the only source of heat that you need. They can produce an incredible amount of heat which will keep everyone nice and warm throughout the winter months. Not only are fireplaces great because they do not require any electricity or gas, but also because there is no equipment needed either – all that you need to get started is some kindling and paper set alight with matches or a lighter. It’s very easy for anyone to start their own fires without needing assistance from other people.

Safety Tips

  • Make sure your fireplace is clean and free of ash.
  • Do not burn cardboard, paper, or other trash in the fireplace. The chemicals can cause toxic fumes that may be harmful to you and everyone else around you.
  • Never leave the room when starting a fire; make sure someone is there with you at all times until it’s completely out.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency.
  • Thoroughly wet the logs and kindling before you put them in the fireplace with water, making sure to soak it through completely. Make sure no dry spots remain in which a spark could easily ignite your pile.
  • Place crumpled newspaper or sturdy pieces of wood inside your fireplace below where you will be starting your fire from when possible; this allows for proper airflow that is crucial for starting up any sort of blaze.


What Type Of Wood Should I Use For A Top-Down Fire?

The first thing you need to do is prepare your fireplace. This involves cleaning it thoroughly and making sure that the grate is in good condition, without any rust or holes (you can use an old grill if needed). It is also very important that there are no flammable materials around the fireplace. This includes furniture, drapes, or anything else.

How Long Will It Take To Start A Fire Using The Top-Down Method?

Once you have done all of this, it should not take more than half an hour to start a top-down wood-burning fireplace fire. But this will depend on how much dry kindling and hardwood (oak) you use for fuel.

How Do I Control The Fire Once It Is Started?

To control the fire, you need to use a fireplace screen and poker. This allows you to feed your stove with more wood as needed so that it will burn for longer periods of time. And depending on how much fuel you add, this can allow for hours or even days' worth of burning!

What Should I Do If The Fire Starts To Go Out?

Just like traditional wood stoves, it is possible to revive a top-down fire if the flames start to go out. This involves using more kindling and hardwood (oak) as fuel until you see an open flame again. And once this happens, make sure that your fireplace screen and poker are ready so you can put another log or two on for extra heat!

What If I Do Not Have A Fireplace?

Most people who have a fireplace probably do not know about the top-down method of starting fires, and this is mainly because it does take some extra work compared to other methods. But if you are someone who enjoys fireplaces but only uses them every now and then (or even less than that), it can be worth your while to learn how to start a top-down wood stove fire!


As you can see, a top-down fire in a fireplace is not difficult to start. All it takes is some knowledge and the proper equipment. While starting this type of fire might take more time than other types of fires, once going… there’s nothing like sitting back and enjoying watching such beautiful flames dancing around!