Just about every fireplace or chimney has some type of brick or stone masonry inside and out. It’s durable and beautiful, which makes it functional and enjoyable. However, over time, these masonry-based materials can develop problems that will eventually need to be addressed.
Inside the Firebox
If you have a firebox made out of firebrick, you will need to keep an eye out for any deterioration that happens over time. It will be mostly from the excess heat created from the fires, but can also be a product of water leaking into the system or lack of annual maintenance.
The mortar holding the bricks together can start to give and the bricks can become loose, which lets out the heat and gases from the fire. This small movement over time can produce a need to repair the firebox with a method called tuck-pointing or re-pointing, which involves removing the loose brick and replacing it with a new one. If the brick is flaking or spalling and is in bad condition, it will also need to be removed and replaced.
Some fireplaces that are factory-built actually have panels that can warp from the heat. If this happens, the entire panel will have to be replaced. Most manufacturers have these available for purchase and we can help get the ones you need for your unit.
The Exposed Chimney
Your chimney is exposed to all kinds of elements in Kansas. We get hot weather in the summer months followed by winds that only the plains can see every year and the cold that can easily set in for days at a time.
The days where the nights get below freezing then it thaws during the day can be some of the hardest when it comes to your masonry. If you think of how ice, when frozen, expands in the ice trays then retracts when melting, then you can see why this process can destroy brick and mortar from the inside out. Most people forget that brick is highly porous, which means air and water actually move through it. This is why it’s such a great material for chimneys as they need to breathe.
At the same time, when frozen and then thawed over and over again, the weather can devastate the brick on a chimney. We find many of these have to be partially restored or rebuilt. There is something you can do that you may have never thought of to help eliminate this issue: waterproof the chimney.
A fireplace retrofit means getting rid of the old fireplace and replacing it with a more modern and efficient unit. We do hundreds of these every year and specialize in converting wood to gas. Of course we can put in all types of inserts: gas, wood or pellet, so give that fireplace a facelift with a new look and feel of stone or brick.
Talk to us about what you really want to do and let us help you get the most out of your fireplace, insert or wood stove.
Let Fluesbrothers do a professional inspection of your chimney system including the crown. We can handle any repairs, replacements or rebuilding that might be needed to keep your chimney in safe working order.