Brick and Stone Fireplace Repair Guide
A fireplace is a lovely thing to have in your home. However, when it requires repairs, it might not be easy for you to do it on your own. Some guidelines and the right tools are sure to put you on the right track. Stone and brick fireplaces are most commonly found in residences since they are functional as well as aesthetically appealing. Regular care and maintenance can minimize the need for fireplace repairs, but it is always prudent to be prepared for the inevitable.
1.No Red Tape
Regular care and maintenance can minimize the need for fireplace repairs, but it is always good to be prepared for the inevitable.
Minor repairs and modifications to fireplaces do not need any kind of official permits or approvals. You can check with any local homeowners’ associations that you may be a part of to determine if they have any guidelines in the matter.
There are quite a few problems that could crop up in your fireplace when you are least expecting it. These can include loose debris or mortar as well as broken or cracked bricks and stone. Other problems usually have to do with the chimney and these can range from leakages to blockage of smoke caused by inadequate cleaning.
2.Repairing Loose Bricks and Stones
The first step when repairing a fireplace—brick or stone—is to clear any loose mortar and other debris. This must be done before any new mortar can be applied in place of the older, chipped one. Once the cleaning is finished, you must check and see if there is any broken or cracked brick that needs to be replaced. You can use a chisel and hammer to pry out the loose brick or stone. Then use the mortar to replace the brick or stone that has been pried out.
You can match the new mortar color to the old one by looking for the right shade in your local hardware store. Also, ask them for mortar that is heat resistant up to extremely high temperatures since you will be using it in your fireplace. This type of mortar should disclose that type of information on the outside of its packaging. Furthermore, mix the mortar as per the instructions and use it to patch up the fireplace with a trowel. Brush away any excess mortar with the help of a paint brush. Then smooth the mortar at the joints to give it a neat and professional look.
Remember, this is highly visible. Often times your fire place is the focal point of your living room; any mistake on repairing or maintaining it will be quite noticeable. You will be explaining this mistake at every family gathering; that should be incentive enough to do this assignment correctly.
Sealants are available for stone and mortar fireplaces to help them stay in place even in the intense heat that is produced when a fire is lit in the hearth.
5.Repairing a Smokey Fireplace
If your fireplace allows the smoke to enter into the room, then you have a serious problem on hand. The smoke contains carbon monoxide and this can prove deadly when a sufficient amount is inhaled over an extended period of time. First, you must determine exactly when the fireplace begins to leak smoke after you light the fire. If it only smokes when you first light it up, the solution is warming up the chimney’s flue before lighting the fire. This can be done by lighting up a roll of newspaper or something similar and holding it as high as possible inside the chimney to warm it up.
6.A Chimney Cap
If this does not solve the problem, check any exhaust fans that might be switched on at the time. Try turning the fans off and if you still find smoke in the room, open a window or door near the fireplace and see if that helps. You might need to have some kind of ventilator installed to resolve the issue. If the fireplace smokes when the weather is windy outside, you might have to install a quality chimney cap that can help pull the smoke up through the chimney instead of into the room.
7.Managing this Issue
In some instances, the fireplace may have more damage than a few loose stones and cracks. In such an event, you will need to consult a professional and it might mean having to replace the entire fireplace. Minor repairs, on the other hand, can be easily handled by you alone or with some assistance from a friend or family member.