Masonry fireplaces will last for generations, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need the occasional repair or even minor rebuilding. One of the portions of the firebox that is most likely to need to be repaired or rebuilt is the firebox. The firebox is the portion of your fireplace where the fire burns. It’s constructed of heavy-duty firebricks that are made to withstand the intense heat of your fires. However, these heavy-duty bricks are susceptible to breakdown over time. The extreme heat of the fires can cause bricks to crack, as can the natural settling of your home over time, and the mortar that holds the firebricks together can deteriorate.
Without a professional evaluation, it can be hard to determine if your firebox needs to be repaired or replaced, but there are some signs you can look for that indicate that your firebox needs to be inspected. Some warning signs to look for in your firebox include:
• Cracks in the firebricks. Cracked firebricks can allow the heat and smoke from your fireplace to seep out of the confines of the firebox and damage your home’s structure or even put your home at risk for a fire. Some minor cracking in the firebrick is normal, but cracks should be evaluated annually by a certified chimney professional so you can be alerted when cracks are severe enough that they pose a hazard and should be addressed.
• Crumbling mortar. Mortar is often the first component of the firebox to break down. Crumbling masonry can weaken the overall structure of the firebox and lead to further damage. The good news about crumbling mortar is that it generally can be repaired with a relatively simple process called tuckpointing: The old mortar is scraped away and new mortar is smoothed into place, restoring the look and function of the firebox.
• An unsightly firebox. In some cases, there is nothing wrong with the structure of the firebox, but the color or style of the firebox is outdated, unattractive or out of sync with your style or the style of your home. In these cases, old fireboxes can be ripped out and replaced to create an attractive, updated look for your hearth.
Who to call when your firebox needs to be repaired or rebuilt
If you notice the warning signs that your firebox needs to be repaired or replaced, or if you want to have your firebox rebuilt to update your home and reflect your home’s style, call Total Chimney Care! For safety or aesthetic reasons, we are able to repair or replace fireboxes, and we do it in a professional, mess-free way, taking care to protect your furniture and floors. With Total Chimney Care, you can have a beautiful, hand-built firebox that restores the beauty and safety of your hearth.