If there is any chance you have a cracked fireplace refractory you should take care of it right away. Postponing the care of the refractory puts your home at risk of a house fire.
We’ve outlined the details you need to determine whether you should repair or replace a fireplace refractory.
Cracked Fireplace Refractory – Should You Repair or Replace It?
It is difficult to know when to repair something vs when to replace it. We all want to save money when we can, and sometimes repairing works just fine and is a far cry cheaper than replacing. However, when you’re talking about a cracked fireplace refractory, there are some things you should know before you opt for repair.
Image from Advanced Chimney Cleaning
What is a Fireplace Refractory?
Most houses today have prefabricated fireplaces. These fireplaces are factory-made and have fireplace panels on the bottom and sides of the firebox. These panels are made to withstand the high heat of the fire and provide strength and durability to the fireplace itself.
When these refractory panels become compromised by cracks, it poses a threat every time you use the fireplace. Even the smallest cracks put your home at risk, as the flames could penetrate into the walls or ignite from combustible materials within the firebox.
Dangers of Cracked Refractory
You probably know that the fireplace panels expand and retract as they heat and cool. This is normal. Tiny hairline cracks that occur inside the panels are also not concerning, and you can safely continue to operate your fireplace. When the cracks in the refractory panels become worrisome, is when those hairlines cracks begin to widen.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) warns that a cracked fireplace refractory should be replaced if the crack is 1/16 of an inch wide, or you can fit the end of a nickel into it. You should also replace fireplace refractory if the surface is abraded to 1/4 of an inch.
Be aware that the CSIA does NOT recommend repairing the refractory when cracks become significant, but replacing with original manufacture panels. Repairs of cracks to this magnitude are not dependable and can put your firebox at risk.
Replacing a Cracked Fireplace Refractory
Having a cracked fireplace refractory is bad news. The good news is, it’s relatively simple to have it replaced. And, you get the peace of mind of knowing that you are protecting your home and family from a potential fire hazard.
The Fireplace Place specializes in fireplace replacement and installation. Our experts can evaluate your needs and guide you to appropriate options, whether that be replacing the refractory or helping you design the remodel you’ve been wanting.
To see additional fire safety tips and important fireplace information, check out a few of our other blogs!