In a masonry fireplace, firebrick is used to construct the firebox. The bricks and fireclay mortar are designed to withstand extreme temperatures. However, over time, the brick, mortar will crack and crumble, creating a serious fire hazard.
Here’s what you need to do to address these problems:
If a brick in a masonry fireplace cracks, you need to patch it. If the brick is crumbling, have it replaced with a new firebrick embedded in refractory mortar.
If the mortar joints in a firebox are crumbling, chisel out the old mortar and replace it with new mortar. This process, known as tuckpointing, is the same one you follow to replace or repair mortar joints in any brick structure. The only difference is that in a firebox, you must use refractory mortar, which is specially designed to withstand extreme temperatures.
If the integrity of the majority of the firebrick and mortar in the firebox is in question, have a qualified chimney sweep or masonry contractor inspect it. If replacement is in order, the job is best left to a pro.
It is important to note that these cracks from your firebox will allow high temperatures from your fireplace to escape the firebox then heat will be transferred onto wood structures near by areas. This can potentially create a fire hazard unseen or undetected by human eyes. Because they are behind walls.
Don’t Allow a Small Problem to Turn Into a Bigger One
At the first sign of a problem, immediate action should be taken on your part, as using a fireplace without a sound firebox is extremely unsafe and could lead to additional damage to the firebox itself or, even worse, could lead to a costly and potentially deadly fire in your home.
ASHLAR Fireplace & Chimney Services has the expertise to repair or rebuild your firebox at reasonable cost. Call us at 604-655-7663 to get a quote.