How to Repair Firebricks in Fireplace?

Firebrick is a type of brick that is used to line the walls and fireplace of a home. These bricks are designed to withstand high heat from the fireplace. However, over time, the brick can fail. If you have a firebrick that is chipped, cracked, or broken, it is a good idea to repair it. This is a low-cost, easy, and quick way to get your fireplace back in working order. 

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There are many types of firebrick, and it is important to choose the right one. The International Residential Code (IRC) requires the use of ASTM C 199 for the installation of bricks for fireplaces. 

If your firebrick is damaged, you should begin by removing the old mortar. You should also clean the brick of debris, soot, and grease. Next, you should apply refractory cement to the damaged area. Follow the instructions on the package to determine the appropriate ratio of cement to water. Leaving excess cement on the brick can be a nuisance, so remove it by wiping it off with a damp cloth or sponge. After re-filling the area with new mortar, you can add the replacement firebrick and smooth out the joint for a neat, professional look. 

Refractory cement is a durable material that can resist heat from the fireplace. It is easy to mix and applies, and is often the best option for repairing a fireplace. When applying refractory cement, start at the bottom of the crack and work your way up. Once the new mortar is in place, wait at least 15 minutes for it to set up. 

In the meantime, you can scrape away any remaining mortar with a narrow chisel. Doing this can help you avoid spreading any mortar into the rest of the fireplace. Another option is to fill the damaged area with ash. Ash is not as heat resistant as firebrick, but it can still be used to fill in the crack. 

As a final step, you can finish up by adding refractory caulk to the edges of the bricks. This is a great option to avoid a complete rebuild, and can even be used to re-point mortar joints between the firebricks. 

Besides repairing firebricks, you should also consider re-sealing the grout in your fireplace. While it may seem like a minor task, a leak can be a breeding ground for creosote, a flammable substance that can ignite your house if it breaks free. Cleaning the area with a shop vacuum will be helpful. A masonry brush can also be used to clean any debris from the crack. 

Regardless of whether or not you decide to repair your fireplace, it is a good idea to keep an eye out for damage to your chimney. If you find a large crack, it is a good idea to contact a chimney specialist for advice. They can also replace the entire fireplace for a fee. 

Whether you are performing a simple firebrick repair or a more extensive chimney repair, the right tools and a little know-how can make the job easier. Be sure to follow the instructions on your particular product, and make sure the finished project looks as good as possible.