Fireplace Liners: Refractory Panels Replacement Guide & Cost

In this guide, we will be looking at replacement fireplace refractory panels.

One brilliant invention that has greatly enhanced heat distribution from a fireplace is the refractory panel. This fireplace component serves to ensure that there’s greater heat distribution from the fireplace into the living area.

The difference is clear between a fireplace having these panels and one without them.

Replacement Fireplace Refractory Panels

If you’re new to the refractory panel and want to learn how it works or whether to have yours replaced, all the information you need is right here.

This article will discuss what this fireplace component is all about, its importance, why it has to be installed, and when to have it replaced.

Also, we’ll be looking at the cost of replacement among other things. So, are you ready to learn?

Simply read on for all the details about these panels.

About the Fireplace Liner Panel

A clear benefit of a fireplace refractory panel is that it helps reflect heat into the living room or space. This adds to the heating efficiency of your fireplace.

Asides from enhancing heat distribution, these fireplace components serve to protect the firebox from heat damage.

Even the toughest of heat-proofing surfaces degrade with time.

As such, you’ll need to have these panels maintained for optimal functioning.

Why The Fireplace Refractory Panel Needs to Be Replaced

As with most chimney liners, fireplace refractory panels wear out with use. These will have to be replaced for optimal heat distribution.

There are reasons why the panel will need to be replaced.

This will be necessary when the old panel is dulled out or not looking as aesthetically appealing as it used to.

Other reasons for having a fireplace refractory panel replaced include cracks or damaged panels. So what are these issues about? Let’s have a look at each of them;

  • Not Aesthetically Appealing as it Used to be

Refractory panels don’t remain as appealing as they once were when first installed. The beauty gets dulled out with time. Here, the replacement needed is more towards maintenance than functionality.

In other words, the fireplace refractory panel may work just fine.

You may want to restore its prior look or feel where it had a brick-like appearance throughout the firebox. Of course with such replacement comes enhanced functionality.

In other words, there’s a general improvement in heat distribution when new refractory panels are installed than when it’s the old ones.

With constant use, fireplace refractory panels slowly begin to crack. Such cracks will significantly reduce the efficiency of these panels.

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), firebox refractory panels should be replaced once a nickel on end can fit into a crack.

This is a clear sign of the impact even the smallest cracks can have on the functionality of refractory panels. Also, the CSIA recommends the replacement of these panels when there’s an abrasion of more than ¼ inch.

Such abrasion occurs slowly with use as the years go by.

  • Damaged Panels

All of the reasons given above for the replacement of refractory panels in a fireplace are related to one form of damage or the other.

In a nutshell, anything that reduces the function and efficiency of the refractory panels is deemed a form of damage and calls for replacement.

Continual use of the panel only leads to inefficient radiation of heat back into the room or living space. Top efficiency is only achieved when the problem is fixed.

Is Your Fireplace Prefabricated?

There are two types of fireplaces; prefabricated or factory-manufactured fireplaces as well as masonry fireplaces. The names say a lot about how these designs work.

A factory-built fireplace normally comes preinstalled with refractory panels.

For masonry-built fireplaces, they are constructed onsite. Refractory panels are also installed during construction. This says a lot about the importance of having your fireplace professionally installed.

You want to only work with a reputable chimney professional for such jobs.

Still on Cracks!

Common problems with fireplace refractory panels are cracks that suddenly appear. The issue of cracks has been severally mentioned due to its impact on refractory panels.

Causes include excessive heat, significant hits, thermal shock, and defective panels.

  • Excessive Heat

One of the primary reasons why refractory panels crack is due to excessive heat.

Is there any such thing as excessive heat in a fireplace? There is! When fires are built too large or aren’t properly positioned, refractory panels get exposed to significantly higher heat than they can bear.

This leads to a disintegration that appears in the form of cracks. Cracks in turn reduce the heat radiation capacity of your panels.

  • Significant Hits

Sometimes when logs of wood are being moved in a fireplace using a metal stocker rod, such action may lead to hitting of the panels. Small heats will normally have little to no impact at all.

The reverse is the case when significant hits are involved. These panels may give way.

  • Thermal Shock

Thermal shock leads to cracks on refractory panels and is mostly caused when water is poured to quench burning embers. This situation may lead to such water spilling or splashing on hot panels, thus resulting in thermal shocks that cause cracks.

  • Defective Panels

Certain types of fireplace refractory panels are defective in design. Such defects aren’t initially evident. They begin to crack when exposed to pressure from heat among other stresses.

You’ll have to only go for quality panels from trusted brands when buying supplies for your fireplace construction.

Replacement Cost For Fireplace Refractory Panels

These important fireplace components will attract a replacement fee of around $370. However, some buyers may not have an idea about how many panels they need.

The average cost unit for a single panel is around $100.

To avoid any surprises, it’s best to first discuss the average cost to replace refractory panels in the fireplace with your installer. This helps clarify any grey areas you may have about installation and replacement costs for fireplace refractory panels.

Also, the services of an expert should be sought for all replacement-related tasks.

There you go!

We’ve learned that fireplace refractory panels are vital heat distribution components that radiate heat inwards while also preventing damage caused by heat to your firebox.

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