Our Company Blog

Firebox Repairs

Although fireplaces and chimneys are built to withstand not only the heat from fires but also the outside elements, they can still become damaged or deteriorate due to wear and tear over time. While many homeowners focus on keeping their chimneys clean and in good condition, they may forget to check for damage to the firebox.

Because the firebox contains the fire itself, it is extremely important that it is not damaged and is in good condition. A damaged firebox does not mean you have to stop using your fireplace forever, however. Firebox repairs can allow you to get back to safely enjoying your fireplace system sooner.

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Causes of firebox damage

Because the firebox is directly exposed to the heat and flames from a fire, they are sturdily built to withstand lots of wear and tear. Despite this, there are still a number of things that can cause your firebox to be damaged or deteriorate prematurely. The following are some of the most common causes of firebox damage.

Improper installation: If your firebox was not built correctly using appropriate materials, it may become damaged or deteriorate faster. Unfortunately, rather than hiring a skilled mason, some contractors or construction workers attempt to build fireboxes themselves in an attempt to save money. While this may slightly reduce building costs, it leads to significantly higher maintenance costs in the future. Fireboxes need to be built using high quality firebrick and refractory mortar; if subpar materials are used, the firebox will not be able to withstand repeated exposure to the flames and heat of a fire.

For homes with factory built fireplaces, new refractory panels can be installed. Installing new refractory can help extend the life of your factory built fireplace while ensuring it is still safe to use.

Setting: Similar to the building materials, how a firebox is built can impact its longevity. Because all homes settle over time, it is important that fireplaces are built using strong concrete footings. Fireplace footings should not only be able to support the weight of the fireplace and chimney, but should also keep the fireplace steady in the event of settling. In homes with footings that are lacking, cracks may appear in the firebox; this is a sign that settling is putting stress on the fireplace system. Likewise, these cracks in the masonry create the risk of exposing the surrounding building materials to heat, smoke, and gas.

Water entry: While most homeowners know that water can damage their chimneys exterior, few worry about interior water damage. If you have suffered a chimney leak – no matter how small – the water can cause damage to the firebox. Because the refractory materials used to build fireboxes are designed to reflect heat, they can be easily damaged by water.

Similar to exterior masonry, cracked or spalling firebox masonry can be repaired by tuckpointing. By repairing the firebox with proper refractory materials, the firebox can safely last for years to come.

Because the firebox is responsible for containing the majority of the flames and heat from the fire it needs to be free from cracks and other damage. If your firebox has been damaged, it is important to have it repaired as soon as possible. Contact Pristine Sweeps today to learn about how we can help repair your firebox!

All About Chase Covers

For homeowners who want the look and feel of a fireplace without the high price tags sometimes associated with a masonry chimney, prefabricated chimneys and fireplaces can be stylish and affordable alternatives. In addition to costing significantly less than their masonry counterparts, prefabricated chimneys are also known for their easy upkeep and low maintenance costs.

Although prefabricated chimneys are known for being easy to care for, there is one part of the chimney that is important to keep in top condition – the chase cover. Chase covers protect the entire fireplace system as well as the chimney structure; any damage or deterioration to the chase cover can impact the condition of the entire fireplace system.

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What are chase covers?

Prefabricated chimneys are constructed using a simple metal flue pipe as the chimney. Because of this, most homes enclose this pipe in what is known as a chimney chase. The top of the chase is then shielded and protected by a chimney chase cover.

The type of metal your chase cover is made of can affect its lifespan. Less expensive galvanized steel, for example, is typically the default or basic option for prefabricated chimneys and is known for rusting quickly. Aluminum and stainless steel are the most popular choice for homeowners replacing their chase covers; moderately priced, these metals can last for years to come. Copper is virtually indestructible and will last a lifetime or longer; however, it can be much more expensive and some homeowners do not like to natural discolorations that may occur.

Why are chase covers important?

Much like a chimney cap does for masonry fireplaces, the chase cover protects the entrance of the flue for prefabricated fireplaces. Because of its location, the chase cover keeps animals, debris, and water out of the flue and fireplace. By keeping the flue unblocked and undamaged, homeowners can safely use their fireplaces for years to come.

While prefabricated chimneys need less maintenance then their masonry counterparts, it is extremely important that the chase cover is inspected each year for signs of deterioration or damage. When spotted early, chase cover damage can be repaired before serious harm comes to the chimney or fireplace.

When do I need to replace my chase cover?

Because the flue of prefabricated chimneys are protecting within the chase, the chase cover is often the only part of the fireplace system that is exposed to the elements. This means that is often deteriorates – and needs to be replaced – much sooner than the rest of the fireplace system.

There are a number of signs that it may be time to repair or replace your chase cover. One of the easiest to spot signs of chase cover damage is rusting. If you notice discoloration or rust on the sides of the chimney chase, your chase cover is more than likely suffering from water damage. Likewise, the presence of water, animals, or debris in the chimney or fireplace can all indicate a problem with the chase cover.

The chase cover is one of the most important parts of your prefabricated chimney. If you’ve noticed rusting, staining, or water damage it may be time to have your chase cover repaired or replaced. Contact Pristine Sweeps today to learn more about how a new chase cover can benefit your fireplace system!