Beginning at the level of the smoke shelf, the front and sides of the smoke chamber are corbeled in and the rear wall is constructed vertically. A lintel must be installed across the fireplace opening to support the masonry. Lay the firebrick so that they form the front edge of the covings and meet the back inside edge of the door frame. The volumetric expansion of this air due to the exterior to interior temperature differential generally compounds the problem. (3870 to 38,700 mm2) depending on the other components in the exterior air supply system. With the right plan, the right tools, and attention to detail, a fantastic masonry fireplace that adds value to a home is achievable. The first layer of mortar should be placed on the fireplace and allowed to set overnight. (25 mm) airspace between the combustion chamber and the brickwork surrounding it, and the functional voids of the fireplace, such as the smoke chamber. After all the stones are situated the way they should be, a mortar bag can be used like piping lines of icing on a cake to squeeze mortar into the lines and cracks. Brickwork should be strong enough to hold any. A greater thickness may be required to support higher chimneys. Let’s learn how to build a masonry fireplace and break down at what the basic steps are to build the perfect masonry fireplace. Enough of a cement base should be laid to account for the extra weight. The floor of your masonry fireplace is the easy part. Other Technical Notes in this series address design and construction of both residential and industrial chimneys. We usually install firebricks in running bond pattern. Masonry fireplaces are famously durable but can deteriorate over time if there are faults in the build. And What You Need to Know About it. A good rule of thumb is to make footings at least 12 inches thick for two story homes, and … Stone can only bond well to smooth, clean surfaces. So before explaining how to build a fireplace, I have explained some basic general information about components of the masonry fireplace … 2. When varying from the suggested details, keep in mind the function which these components serve, as well as the manufacturer's recommendations for a specific device's installation. No matter which fireplace configuration is selected by the designer, there are several common features that should be considered. The designer should, therefore, be familiar with the fireplace construction techniques of the locality in which the fireplace is to be built. Once the plan is set, source the materials. Cookie policy. How to make a Masonry Fireplace energy efficient. Fireclay mortar joints should be 1/16 to 3/16 in. Below the mantel, the brickwork was given a solid coat of white paint. Inlets have performed successfully, even when located in the rear wall of the combustion chamber. However, if Grade SW brick are used, they should only be laid as a stretcher course since they may not be as durable as the firebrick. Care should be taken to keep the top of the slab as nearly level as possible to reduce the difficulty of laying the combustion chamber base. The ash drop and ashpit are often not incorporated into the design due to either a configuration difficulty, such as slab-on-grade construction, or the absence of a desire by the designer or owner to have such a component included in the fireplace. Same goes with the stone needed for the veneer. The recommendations to construct an energy-efficient fireplace include properly sizing and locating an exterior air supply for combustion and draft air, and tight-fitting dampers. If you are building on a pre-existing concrete pad, or one much larger than your fireplace footprint, be sure to form or cut expansion joints around the fireplace. Flue tiles can be hard to place if the chimney gets too high. Use a bendable board and wooden planks to create the frame of the fireplace… After the mason work is finished, homeowners can enjoy nights by the fire, or just looking at it to appreciate the workmanship that was involved in building it. The damper should not be embedded in mortar, but merely seated on the thin setting bed. It can really make or break your brick fireplace look. Building a masonry fireplace isn’t something you do on a whim. Once you know what you want to build, lay a concrete foundation, put a layer of cinder blocks over that Then, build the firebox and chimney out of firebrick and use a jointer and brush to remove bubbles from the mortar. ~ Place the bricks again on the mortar, beginning from the corner, start building the walls up to your desired height. Larger areas may also present a potential difficulty by delivering air in excess of the combustion and draft requirements. Care should be exercised when locating the inlet in the combustion chamber walls since an air surge may force smoke and gases into the room. Make sure to conduct spot checks on a regular basis and remediate issues quickly to avoid extensive repairs. When this is not practical due to fireplace configuration or the level of the exterior grade at the fireplace, the fireplace may be changed by raising the hearth or the passageway may be formed of ductwork and attached to or incorporated into the floor system. Components of Masonry fire place. This precaution should help reduce cracking at these areas. If corbeling is necessary to achieve proper size or location of the air inlet, it should be limited to a maximum horizontal projection of one-half (1/2) the distance from the ashpit face to the exterior of the fireplace assembly, see Fig. These same recommendations are applicable to conventional fireplace construction when the provisions for the exterior air supply system are omitted. The slab should be properly reinforced when it cantilevers from the fireplace wall to the floor system or spans across the air passageway and ashpit, as shown in Fig. Figure 4 shows a plan view of an air passageway and ashpit. You will need to cut your firebricks in half with a hammer or a wet saw. It should be noted that all fireplace designs, no matter how sophisticated, are empirical and based on past performance of specific configurations. 5. Combustion chamber layout is critical since the chamber must be contained within the firebox assembly yet isolated from it. A more specific discussion of these requirements or variations may be provided by local building codes. The air inlet should be equipped with both directional and volume controls, so that the fire burns evenly and toward the rear of the combustion chamber. Technical Notes 19A - Residential Fireplaces, Details and Construction 4, sturdy, noncombustible forming, such as metal, is set in place to contain the slab pour. (150 mm) of a fireplace opening. FIG. The proper construction of a masonry fireplace takes preparation to avoid costly mistakes, but the payoff is worth it. This fireplace started off with just the pretty stone look, and the shiplap was added later – it’s such a simple and beautiful way to make the fireplace stand out a bit more, and I just love how it turned out. You will need to start building your chimney from the ground up. Chicago Brick Company specializes in providing exceptional Masonry Services to commercial and residential customers throughout Chicago. Connecting these four points (a, b, c and d) gives the outline of the inside face of the combustion chamber. (12.7 mm) maximum and be properly tooled, resulting in a concave profile when using the portland cement-lime mortar. By Hometalk Highlights. It’s prudent to buy enough masonry material to complete the job upfront. Unfortunately, there are plenty of fireplaces out there that aren’t exactly beautiful. Undisturbed or well-compacted soil will generally be sufficient, however, some types of soil or the condition of the soil may require additional analysis. Step 1 - Build the Hearth and Foundation The standard hearth base is approximately four inches thick and needs a masonry foundation to support it. General requirements incorporated into many building codes are: (1) All spaces between masonry fireplaces and wood or other combustible material should be firestopped by placing 1 in. Fireplaces, like other heating appliances, need chimneys so the smoke from the burning wood leaves your house. They are not, however, addressed in this Technical Notes. (1300 to 10,300 mm2) has proven to perform successfully in most areas. As discussed earlier in this Technical Notes this provision may be deleted resulting in a conventional fireplace design. Acceptable construction includes the use of Grade SW brick, in accordance with ASTM C 62 or ASTM C 216, and Type N or Type O. portland cement-lime mortar, in accordance with ASTM C 270 or BIA Designation M1-72. This is accomplished by spreading a mortar bed, just thick enough to ensure a level set of the damper and a seal that will prevent gas and smoke leakage. There are 12 steps to the fireplace: The foundation; The foundation top; The shell; The hearth; The firebox; The firebox slope; The damper; The throat; The backup wythes; The fireplace face One and Two Family Dwelling Code, published by Interstate Printers and Publishers, Danville, Illinois, 1975. Now remove the bricks and fill the inside of the tracing with a layer of mortar. Corbeling limitations for this component are determined by the fireplace configuration itself. For outstanding chimney service, call Chimney and Masonry Outfitters of Indianapolis at 317-500-1250. Work on a stone veneer should only begin after all the mortar is dry so the fireplace can be properly cleaned. The foundation supports the fireplace base and thus the entire fireplace and chimney assembly. With the exception of the combustion chamber walls, wall ties should be used at all intersections where the wall is not masonry bonded. Care should be taken to ensure that the smoke shelf is kept free of mortar tailings and debris for the same flow considerations. This will facilitate removal of the forms. As the fireplace gets high enough, start laying the flue tiles and seal them with mortar. This may be accomplished by placing a material such as an empty cement bag or plastic film on the smoke shelf during construction. Apply the corbelling technique. This Technical Notes contains recommended details and construction techniques which, when used to execute a proper design, will yield a functional, energy-efficient fireplace. The entire smoke chamber should be parged. There are a lot of options for masonry fireplaces like paint or exposed brick, but one of the most popular choices is a stone veneer. Similar results may be obtained by eliminating the concrete slab and supporting the hearth on masonry. It will also be necessary to build the throat, smoke chamber, and smoke shelf. Who to Contact . The blackouts that form the opening in the slab for the ash drop and air inlet should be set so that they extend approximately 1 in. Building codes vary, but typically allow for two inches between all sides of the brickwork and any combustible materials like a wooden frame or floors. This ensures total perimeter support for the flue liner. When construction reaches the stage shown in Fig. Fill the gaps with sheet metal or some of non-flammable material. Firebrick may be laid with any face exposed, but they are preferred as a stretcher course. (100 mm) at each end. The fireplace assembly must be isolated from combustible materials. The excess air, usually below room temperature, may be forced into the room containing the fireplace. Brickwork should be strong enough to hold any decorative stone or other materials used on the exterior of the fireplace. Operation of the fireplace and other devices, such as glass screens, may also substantially affect the performance of the fireplace. This information should be recognized as recommendations and suggestions for consideration by the designers, specifiers, and owners of buildings when anticipating the design, detailing and construction of single-face residential fireplaces. Traditional prefabricated metal fireplaces are typically lighter than masonry fireplaces, so whether the house can structurally handle the weight needs to be determined. The ashpit cleanout door should be metal and fit tightly to reduce air infiltration. Also, place galvanized wall ties in the joints between the block because its way easier than drilling holes and attaching them later. Preferable combustion chamber construction consists of firebrick, in accordance with ASTM C 64 and fireclay mortar, in accordance with ASTM C 105. All void areas within the body of the fireplace from the foundation through the chimney should be solidly filled with masonry mortared in place. The mortar joints need be only thick enough to provide for dimensional irregularities in the unit being laid. For a graphic definition of fireplace components and a section through an energy-efficient fireplace, refer to Fig. Adding a fireplace to your home can help you reduce heating costs. You will want to use a steel angle iron to carry the weight of the masonry over the firebox. Masonry fireplaces are great for new construction or to replace a prefab fireplace in an existing home. Fires before this time period drive off the moisture necessary for proper curing of the mortar. The air passageway is generally incorporated into the base assembly. Terms and ConditionsPrivacyTerms of UseEnvironmental Product Declaration (EPD)Safety Data Sheet (SDS)Health Advisory, 3024 Acme Brick Plaza Masons and engineers have evolved these recommendations after years of practical experience. This is an important fire safety precaution and could prevent a chimney fire. The ash dump and air passageway are formed by the judicious use of corbeling. A beautiful fireplace can completely transform a room. Although newer Masonry Fireplace models have come a long way since the days when they provided more ambiance than heat and are more energy efficient than they used to be, the fact remains that an open masonry fireplace is hands down the least efficient wood burning fireplace out there. 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