Is Your Masonry Fireplace In Need Of Repair? Potential Problems That Deserve Homeowner Attention

In centuries past, masonry fireplaces were once part of the design of most homes. In fact, most homes had a masonry fireplace in the kitchen and living areas, as well as one in the dining room and each bedroom. Some homes even relied on them for cooking or baking, in addition to heat. 

Masonry fireplaces are still included in some home designs, although most are no longer meant to be the main heat source. Homes with masonry fireplaces are still able to provide an excellent source of supplemental heat, as well as adding comfort and cozy atmosphere to the room. If your home has a masonry fireplace that you would like to begin using, it is important for you to learn to recognize these potential repair issues before you begin.

Start with the exterior of the chimney

If your chimney is made of masonry with a flue tile lining, instead of a modern, insulated stove pipe, it is important to look for cracked or missing mortar, and missing bricks or stones. These can all be signs that the flue has been damaged, often by lightning or wind, and may have unseen cracks in the inner flue lining that could catch cause a fire to occur when the fireplace is in use. 

Look inside the opening of the fireplace 

The next place to look is inside the opening of the fireplace. Masonry fireplaces that are not outfitted with an insert are usually lined with specially made firebricks. These bricks, usually tan in color, are used because they are more resistant to heat than ordinary bricks. Homeowners who notice that firebricks are damaged or missing in their masonry fireplace should not use it until repairs are made. 

Check inside the flue

The condition of the flue's interior surfaces is one of the most important clues to the condition of the fireplace. Homeowners may be able to see inside the flue by leaning into the cold fireplace opening and using a flashlight or by positioning a mirror so that they can see inside the opening. Creosote buildup on the interior surfaces, as well as any cracks or visible damage, should always be evaluated professionally before a fire is lit. 

Your home's masonry fireplace can be a valuable source of heat and comfort for your family, as long as it is in good repair and safe for use. Homeowners who have questions about the condition of an existing fireplace should contact a reputable fireplace repair service for a professional inspection and possible repairs before using.