Making Your Chimney
As Safe As It Can Be
Keeping the firebox and hearth up to standard will allow your fireplace to channel the intense heat from the fire correctly, keeping you and your home safe.
The firebox is the sturdy, three (or two)-walled structure inside your fireplace. A properly constructed firebox is made with firebrick, a special type of masonry that is designed to endure intense heat. The firebox contains the direct heat of the fire and helps direct the byproducts of combustion out the smoke chamber and the flue.
Since it’s constantly exposed to the very intense heat of a fire, it tends to deteriorate faster than other parts of a fireplace. If the fireplace is used regularly, then the firebox will need to be rebuilt every few decades.
The hearth is, very simply, the floor of the fireplace. It has two parts: the inner hearth (inside the fireplace), and the outer hearth (the decorative slab outside the fireplace). The inner hearth must be built using firebrick and also must be well sealed to preventing any rogue sparks or embers from falling into cracks and spreading to the areas below.
How we can help with your firebox or hearth.
Since the firebox and hearth are in direct contact with heat, it is crucial that they are built using the proper, non-combustible materials and that they are regularly inspected for good condition.
Unfortunately, some fireplaces are not properly constructed. We often find that they were built with normal bricks, which are not intended to withstand high temperatures. In this circumstance, we can discuss the best solution to rebuild your firebox and hearth or can also opt for firebox repair so that your fireplace is up to safety code and protects your home.
A properly constructed foundation for a hearth is made with concrete and steel supports. Unfortunately, we have discovered that many older homes still have highly dangerous support structures made of wood, which are highly combustible. Even though the floor of the hearth may be properly constructed with firebrick, over time even the strongest fireplaces can decay and crack, exposing the foundation. Then the wood supports can catch fire.