Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
In fairness to all, we don't discuss pricing on the Wall. Thanks for your cooperation.
Need to contact us? Visit

Heating Help for Fireplaces?

JavelinJavelin Member Posts: 100
Dear Pros,

I've gotten a lot of expert advice over the past several months from this awesome forum. Was wondering if anyone had a similar forum resource for fireplaces - specifically tiling the inside of a firebox to fix old deteriorating tile from a century ago...


  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356

    Is worth a shot
  • WeezboWeezbo Member Posts: 6,232
    may be some thing to consider ,...
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited November 2013
    Helpful Fireplaces:

    It's hard to tell from the photo. When I first saw it, it looked like a metal plate over the ash dump. Now I see that it is missing. They are usually a standard size of some sort. Get the appropriate size and mortar it in place. They don't really need to be mortared in place as long as it doesn't fall into the ash dump. Ash dumps will also provide some fresh air to under the fore. Sometimes.

    What I can't see in the photo is the back of the firebox. From what I can see of it, it doesn't look all that bad but another course or two higher is where they really get bad of you let the logs and embers burn right up next to the bricks.

    It looks really nasty in the photo but it may be deceiving. They always look nasty if they have been used. If their are bricks in the back that are protruding and the edges are rounded off, it has been overheated. They can be cut out and replaced. They don't look like firebricks, but common "S&H" bricks. What you really need to know is how thick the back is. Is there another course behind the exposed one in front. How old is this house/fireplace? Some of the old center bay, 6 to 8 fireplace cribs I've worked in sometimes had back to back fireplaces with a shared back, making the firewall between only the 4"- thickness of an old brick between them. Is it new enough to have clay liners? If not, you need to line it if you want to use it as a fireplace. You can use it with a gas log that is approved for unlined chimney's but it is a specific one. Does it have a damper? If not, it isn't difficult to put one in.

    You have to decide what you are trying to do. Copperfield is a very good place for fireplace repair stuff. Like ash dumps, dampers and liners.

    Scrape, clean and paint that  inside with black heat resistant fireplace paint and it will look brand new.

    Another look says that the back, and sides are fire clay brick. The hearth are some form of quarry tile. The tiles don't seem to be spalling. By yesterday's standards, that is a "modern" fireplace. And mostly by the standards of today if it has a damper and it has clay flue liners. How old is the house? 50-60 years old or less?

    Wire brush the firebox, scrape it down. Do the same on the hearth, Muriatic Acid on the hearth or something to clean it up like TSP to bring the color back and you will be a hero.
  • Bob HarperBob Harper Member Posts: 732

    The code is not prescriptive so you are allowed various choices in materials as long as they are non-combustible and acceptable to the AHJ. Tiles are fine for ex. but the mortar used is a problem here. These do appear to be standard face brick laid stretcher in a Portland cement containing mortar. Most codes would require a refractory mortar for the firebox. You must ensure all the joints are well sealed esp. across breast where the facing meets the front edge of the damper frame. Take a telescopic mirror down the ash dump and see if there are combustible forms under the hearth. If accessible, look for combustible forms under the hearth extension. You need to know which model code you are under but when in doubt, you can refer to NFPA 211, which has a free online read only format. Too many inspection points to detail here. My level II inspection reports typically run 10-12 pages. I'm a FIRE Certified Fireplace and Chimney Inspector, fyi. Caution with that Hearth dot com site. The admin. has been known to give out advice in blatant violation of codes and stds. so caveat emptor. Any more pics of this fireplace?
  • JavelinJavelin Member Posts: 100
    Sorry it took so long...

    Sorry it took so long for this reply. I've attached some more photos. If anyone has any further suggestion as to how to re-tile/cement the floor inside this box, please let me know!

    Thanks again and sorry for the late thread reply!

  • JackJack Member Posts: 936
    As far as how....

    To fix it...I guess it is just reorinting the joints unless you feel you need to replace the bricks. FYI, I tore the old fireplace put of my home to open up some space. It had good brick, or seemingly so, but once the base brick were removed you could see the charring in the wood sub-structure. The place didn't burn down, but it wasn't for a lack of the previous owners trying.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    Its hard to tell from a photo but it looks like the entire face of the fireplace is tile of different sizes and shapes that all fit together modularly. The insides look like firebrick but that takes a visual inspection. Fire bricks are usually very sharp on the edges and thicker through the middle and from end to end. When that fireplace was built, they were almost always yellow. Today, there are some that are reddish to simulate red bricks. The old ones were often painted with a high temperature paint. That fire box appears to be painted. Find a spot where it isn't that noticeable and see if the paint will scratch off.

    The back looks like it has had some serious heating from that wood box and if they were old clay Stiles & Hart (S&H) bricks, they would have been burned through in the hottest place of the slant behind the wood box.

    That house/fireplace looks like it was built 1900-1920's. By then, they usually had a double wall behind the back. The first one being a single stretcher course backed up with the fire brick.

    If you can find a place in an attic or somewhere, where you can find old original brick, measure a brick. Compare it to the fire box bricks. The firebox bricks should be substantially larger. In old houses, anything goes.

    My mind is rusty and going but, I think that three stretcher bricks are the same height as a single brick laid vertically. Or close. Because if you lay a "Soldier Header" over a door or window as a header, and your bond is proper, the course after the header should run through.

    If you have any doubt, there's some old info junkie that can look at it and give their advice.

    But measure the bricks. That's what I always did.
Sign In or Register to comment.


It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!