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Old 12-02-2010, 08:38 AM
 
246 posts, read 749,461 times
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Talking Firebox crack

Fireplace has some cracks in the firebox. Cracks are in the brick and also on the grout lines. Any idea on how much it cost to fix this or to redo the whole firebox in the fireplace.

Thanks.
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:46 AM
 
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Have you had the entire fireplace/chimney inspected? Many of the reputable fireplace/chimney inspection companies will use a camera to check the tile and liner. I'd probably start there. A firebox or chimney fire can leave you homeless, or worse.

If professional inspection indicates the repairs required are limited to the firebox the costs will depend upon whether it is a matter of re-grouting/tuckpointing or if replacement of any of the brick is required. You may be looking at minimal repair if any or it could be costly. There is really no way to know without a professional inspection.

Last edited by lifelongMOgal; 12-02-2010 at 10:02 AM..
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:54 AM
 
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Default Thanks MOgal

MOgal,

You are right about the inspection and will definitely look into that. I am hoping its just a couple of small brick replacement and grout and not a whole chimney re-do. Thanks for the advice and will look into a chimney inspector. Any idea what the cost is for a inspection. I live in North. VA
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:01 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zotmeister View Post
MOgal,

You are right about the inspection and will definitely look into that. I am hoping its just a couple of small brick replacement and grout and not a whole chimney re-do. Thanks for the advice and will look into a chimney inspector. Any idea what the cost is for a inspection. I live in North. VA
Costs will vary greatly depending on if a camera is used. Call several companies but look for the ones that are actually certified or have been in business for a very long time (10+ yrs). Be wary of the ones that both inspect and repair as they have a stake in finding lots of things wrong to run up the cost. Ask any inspector to show you pictures of what needs repair rather than to simply take their word about something go on high up on the interior or exterior of the chimney. Main thing is to not use the firebox until its been inspected and you know what you are dealing with.

If you have gas logs you are likely looking at less repair required than if you are burning wood fires because the temps. remain much lower. Another option after you get the inspection and cost estimates may be to place a wood stove inside the firebox rather than getting into brick replacement. Price it all out and take the option that works best for you both financially and with the way you want to use the fireplace.
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:22 AM
 
Location: NE CT
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A few cracks in firebrick is no big deal unles you can remove the pcs that are cracked back to the block. You can replace the pcs or the entire brick just make sure it is "firebrick". I have my chimneys cleaned and inspected every year. It costs about $100 per flue.

If you do have a ruined chimney liner with cracks, it could start a chimney fire if you don't keep them clean from creosote build up. It is highly unlikely that a chimney fire will start above the first 1/3 of the chimney because the temps there are too cool. Chimney fires usually begin at the first third of the flue and then ignite the rest of the creosote built up in the entire height of the chimney. A chimney fire will reach the upper cracks in any flue and depending where the crack is, could ignite a interior wall on fire. The simple solution is to keep the chimneys clean of creosote. You can use a mirror and flashlight to check for the cracks and creosote from both ends yourself. Cracks can usually be seen in the ceramic liner and creosote is quite obvious as it peels away from the liner.

If the ceramic one is ruined with cracks and crumblings, you can easliy reline the flue with Hi Temp Stainless steel lining that can withstand 2000 degrees F. This is not inexpensive but less than removing the old liner and then replacing it with new ceramic tiles that may only crack again if you don't keep the flue clean.

Good luck
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:40 AM
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
4,560 posts, read 7,136,764 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifelongMOgal View Post
Costs will vary greatly depending on if a camera is used. Call several companies but look for the ones that are actually certified or have been in business for a very long time (10+ yrs). Be wary of the ones that both inspect and repair as they have a stake in finding lots of things wrong to run up the cost. Ask any inspector to show you pictures of what needs repair rather than to simply take their word about something go on high up on the interior or exterior of the chimney. Main thing is to not use the firebox until its been inspected and you know what you are dealing with.
Word to the wise-

There was a chimney inspector in WV that was also selling those poured in liners as replacements to standard, broken flue tiles. He was providing the potential customers with video inspection photos that showed their terracotta liners cracked and were in a state of serious disrepair.

He was eventually arrested for fraud becuase he was using the same image over and over and getting homeowners to believe their chimneys failed, thus getting the new business.

Whatever the OP decides to do (as far as the liner goes) make sure you are present during the inspection and try to visually inspect any defects yourself.

As far as the firebox- if only a few firebrick are cracked, you can get high-temp mortar and repair them (or leave them be). If they are crumbling and loose, you should remove the brick and reinstall new ones. It sounds hard to do, but actually it is not. I've repaired my own firebox, clean out trap and decorative facebrick on a fireplace before. You can do wonders with an angle grinder and a brick chisel. I've even replaced cracked exterior brick- remove the old, clean out the mortar around the brick, porridge new mortar and set your new brick in place and then tuck point the outside. Not hard, just time consuming.

Good luck
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:58 AM
 
246 posts, read 749,461 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Threerun View Post
Word to the wise-

There was a chimney inspector in WV that was also selling those poured in liners as replacements to standard, broken flue tiles. He was providing the potential customers with video inspection photos that showed their terracotta liners cracked and were in a state of serious disrepair.

He was eventually arrested for fraud becuase he was using the same image over and over and getting homeowners to believe their chimneys failed, thus getting the new business.

Whatever the OP decides to do (as far as the liner goes) make sure you are present during the inspection and try to visually inspect any defects yourself.

As far as the firebox- if only a few firebrick are cracked, you can get high-temp mortar and repair them (or leave them be). If they are crumbling and loose, you should remove the brick and reinstall new ones. It sounds hard to do, but actually it is not. I've repaired my own firebox, clean out trap and decorative facebrick on a fireplace before. You can do wonders with an angle grinder and a brick chisel. I've even replaced cracked exterior brick- remove the old, clean out the mortar around the brick, porridge new mortar and set your new brick in place and then tuck point the outside. Not hard, just time consuming.

Good luck
Great advice...so many scammers out there for everything
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:32 PM
 
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I have cracked/chipped bricks that clearly need help. when I tap with my finger aroung the affected brick they sound hollow. Can I install 1/2 fire brick without removing the damaged bricks?? I was thinking I could buy 1/2 bricks say 1/2 as wide so as to cut down on shjrinking the firebox. Thanks sam
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:34 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
11,399 posts, read 25,413,162 times
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Old thread. Regards the new question - not enough info. Some fireboxes are metal with just 1/2 bricks covering the steel. In a case like this, yeah, the bricks can be replaced or sometimes a whole new panel ordered for the manufacturer. The old-time remedy is Rutland cement. It is a water-glass (silica based) cement used around heat. Good hardware stores carry it.
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Old 12-29-2013, 11:43 AM
 
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Fireplace brick is usually 4 in deep. The hollow sound can come from about 1/4 in of buckling leaving the rest of the brick intact and no danger to worry about. That has happened to two of my floor bricks and one back wall brick. In one I cracked off the 1/4 and was left with a smooth surface 3 and 3/4 inch deep. I could have filled that I with fireplace mortar but chose not to. This fireplace has been used 40 years so far.
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