Fireplace Firebox Repair, Rebuild, And Replacement Options

Although a firebox is built to last, it won’t last forever. As you read on, you’ll find all there is to know about fireplace firebox rebuild, repair, and replacement.

A firebox is a basic addition or component of a fireplace where combustion occurs. In other words, it’s the place where the fire actually burns. Fireplace fireboxes are built to withstand a lot of heat. Materials used include heat/fire-resistant bricks or metal.

Whatever type of fireplace firebox you have installed, it will need to be repaired or replaced at some point. This simply means such fireplace components eventually wear out.

Why Replace A Firebox?

It’s common knowledge that repairs are carried out for purpose of fixing a problem. This reasoning applies to fireboxes. So, how about firebox replacement? Are they the same with repairs?

Not really! Although all are aimed at solving a problem, the approaches taken are quite different.

In the case of fireplace firebox replacement, the condition of the firebox is mostly damaged beyond repair.

However, this isn’t the only situation that requires firebox replacement. Sometimes, homeowners may decide they need a different type or firebox style installed even when the current one still serves its purpose.

The most common reason for fireplace firebox replacement is to remedy irreparable damage to a firebox.

Two Types of Fireboxes

There are basically two types of fireplace fireboxes. They include factory-built fireboxes and masonry fireboxes.

Each type serves a purpose or suits specific needs. The type of firebox you seek to replace the old with will largely be determined by your unique needs and preferences.

  • Factory-Built Fireboxes

As the name implies, these are built in factories and only need to be fitted or installed into a fireplace. These have their designated lifespan within which they’re expected to serve.

During this time, there may be repairs as faults or issues may emerge.

You’ll need the help of a qualified and reputable technician to have your firebox problems fully resolved. This begins with an inspection of its condition after which recommendations on the next line of action are given.

  • Masonry Fireboxes

Masonry fireboxes tend to be more durable than their factory-built counterparts. However, that isn’t a guarantee that they won’t develop issues with use. These develop a wide range of problems that require fixing.

Two types of fixes are generally administered.

The first involves repairs when such fireplace fireboxes are reparable while the other involves complete replacement or rebuilding the firebox. In this case, the need for replacement only arises when defects relating to construction are detected.

Sometimes, the replacement of a masonry firebox may be necessitated by the use of non-refractory mortar.

There’s little chance of such a firebox lasting when it’s built with substandard material. At other times, firebox replacement may be necessary when you have a leaky chimney.

This is mostly the case when water gets into the firebox. When it does, such moisture combines with creosote to form acids which begin to steadily wear out masonry joints.

Immediate fixes need to be made to avoid or prevent further deterioration.

Firebox Repair Precedes Replacement

Oftentimes than not, fireplace firebox replacement follows repairs.

Fireplace Metal Firebox Repair

Repairs are targeted at a firebox when it’s still usable but have minor defects. On the other hand, a replacement will be necessary when fixing a firebox that seems impossible or when it becomes cost-effective to replace than to fix.

Replacement should follow proper procedures. This will start by taking the dimensions or measurements of the old firebox and finding an exact replacement in terms of size.

What more? The type of firebox matters when seeking a replacement.

As stated earlier, fireplace fireboxes could be factory-built or masonry constructed. Whatever the case is, you’ll have to identify what works best for your situation. It’s important to be open to professional advice.

This enables you to make the right pick.

Signs of Firebox Damage

To the untrained eye, little is noticed about the deterioration of a firebox. It only becomes evident when the problem has worsened. Now, there are common signs that point to fireplace firebox damage.

They include cracks, staining, and flaking. Other signs may be subtle but can easily be noticed by a technician.

Can I Perform Fireplace Firebox Repair and Installations Myself?

When it comes to getting things done, it’s important to consider the professional option than the seemingly easy DIY alternatives. DIY alternatives may seem easy and cost-effective, however, you could get stuck trying to have certain things done.

This ends up costing you more when a technician has to be called in.

Another problem you might face with the DIY alternative is the likelihood of making mistakes during repair, installation, or replacement.

More importantly, the problem may be more than you earlier thought.

In other words, the state of disrepair of your fireplace firebox may be more widespread than you think. When other chimney components are affected, it becomes more problematic dealing with such.

It takes only a trained eye to spot problems early. This is the benefit you get by calling a reputable technician. Not only do they perform a satisfactory job, but such technicians also go a step further to inspect other fireplace and chimney components.

Any defects are highlighted and fixed urgently. This way, significant deterioration is averted on the entire system.

There Are Personal Responsibilities

Maintaining a fireplace firebox isn’t a task reserved for chimney technicians alone. You have responsibilities that must be performed. Such responsibilities include cleaning the firebox frequently and only using approved fuels.

All fireplaces and fireboxes are built to combust certain fuel types.

There are those designed for gas combustion, wood combustion, pellet burning, and several others. Not sticking to basic rules of operation compromises the system making it deteriorate fast.

Fireplace firebox repair and replacement is a basic maintenance action performed by chimney technicians or sweeps. We’ve seen what the firebox is and how common issues are resolved.

As always, preventive maintenance should be upheld and performed routinely.

A yearly inspection and repair of your fireplace and chimney will extend its lifespan by a lot. This procedure isn’t something to perform or undertake without the assistance of a reputable technician.

In other words, you’ll need to avoid taking the DIY route to firebox replacement.

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