A professional chimney sweep may one day inform you that your firebox needs repair, which will require action; it is unsafe to use the fireplace without a sound firebox. The seemingly bad news could be an opportunity for you to give your fireplace a pleasing makeover. Or you could give the fireplace a revitalized look simply because you think it needs one.
When a chimney sweep inspects your fireplace and chimney, the purpose is to identify and repair breaches in the safety of the unit. However, you may not even need a professional to tell you that the firebox has fallen into serious disrepair. If the bricks in the firebox are crumbling and the mortar joints have obviously deteriorated, you’ve got a fire hazard in your home.
The extreme temperatures created by roaring fires demand that special firebricks and high-temperature refractory mortar be used in the construction of the firebox. It’s only normal for repair to become necessary after many years of use. But when it happens, no time should be wasted in getting a firebox repair before continuing to use the fireplace.
You can create a whole new look for the walls of your firebox in a variety of ways, such as:
- Use a more modern style of brick
- Have the bricks installed in a herringbone pattern
- Install a design in which thin strips of firebrick are vertically placed, with a thin horizontal strip in between
- Choose bricks which create a dramatic effective, such as black bricks in a geometrical design
When facing a firebox repair, it’s a great time to consider purchasing a fireplace insert instead. These units slide right into the existing firebox opening. The variety of styles available all provide you with an instant makeover opportunity. Besides the new look you could achieve, there are more practical benefits to using an insert, such as:
- A fireplace insert is many times less expensive than a fireplace repair.
- Fireplace inserts burn much more efficiently than traditional fireplaces.
- Instead of most of the heat going up the chimney, it will stay in your home.
- Your heating bills will be reduced because your fireplace adds heat.
Mantel & Surround
If what you have more in mind is a new look for the room the fireplace is installed in, consider making a change in the mantelpiece. For a sleeker appearance, remove the mantel altogether; this is a popular design trend. You could replace the present mantel with a new one of a different style. Painting the current mantel is an option. Another change with the mantel might involve moving its position on the wall. A simple alternation of the mantel may be your least expensive option for renewing the look of your fireplace. Matching legs (pilasters) and the surrounding area can add a new dimension to a plain looking chimney.
You don’t have to be stuck with a fireplace that looks horribly outdated. The entire floor-to-ceiling look of the fireplace can easily be replaced. The change in design could make the fireplace a centerpiece in your home that you are proud of and take great delight in. The fireplace renewal you choose could be as simple as replacing the surrounding area of the outer hearth. Switch from bricks to tiles or vice versa. Tiles, which are the easiest to install, come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. A change in the outer hearth could be all that’s needed to achieve complete fireplace revitalization. Whether you choose a stone, marble or faux rebuild, the investment you make in the upgrade of visual appeal will no doubt add up to higher home value.
When considering any maintenance, repair or improvements to your chimney, stove or fireplace please consider the certified chimney professionals at Nayaug Chimney Services.
Northeastern Chimney, Inc.
formerly Nayaug Chimney Services, LLC
37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110