Ever look at your fireplace structure and wonder how it all came together? Or perhaps you’re considering updating or having routine maintenance this fall or winter and want to know what to expect? No matter where you
stand, knowing the basics of how fireplaces are built is a good thing for all homeowners to be aware of. We get many calls from homeowners that are not sure what type of fireplace they have.
Now, it’s important to note that there are two distinct types of fireplaces (masonry and factory built), and each is very different in terms of construction. We’ll go over both, so you have an in-depth look at both types.
At Clean Sweep of Anne Arundel County, we are ready and able to address all of your fireplace-related needs, so whether you need maintenance, repairs, replacement parts, updating your appliance, or something else, we’ve got your back. Keep reading to learn more about the fireplace construction process, and please call if you have any questions. We would love to help you out!
Constructing a Masonry Fireplace
Masonry fireplaces are typically built on an exterior wall, and they are never attached directly to a home because their weight would overpower it. Instead, they are poured and installed on footers, ensuring no damage is done throughout your household!
The first thing the contractor will do is come in and dig out the area. Now, most codes say to dig around 3 feet, but this may vary depending on the regulations in place where you live. Next, they’ll pour the footer, which is done with cement, after which they’ll make the base for your firebox to sit on.
The firebox is also constructed with cement, and the inside is laid with materials that protect both the structure and your home (usually fire brick or a metal insert box). In some cases, a firebox will be fitted with a recirculating box, which has a hollow air space between the inner burn box wall and the outer wall, as well as a fan motor that draws air from the floor where the cold air is known to fall. It will then push the hot air out through a chamber and into your home.
Usually above the door of the fireplace, there will be a rectangle-shaped opening with a grate. Other times, a homeowner might have an actual grate to the right or left of the fireplace (right around 4 or 5 feet above floor) where heat would blow out.
Next comes the masonry smoke chamber, which is laid at an angle and should look like a smooth, upside down staircase. This design ensures the smoke and fumes from the fire get rolled up to a point where the flue liner is. The liner is made of terracotta tiles that are around 2 feet in length and can be round, square, or rectangular. They are laid on top of one another with mortar, and they’ll usually extend out past the top of the chimney a few inches.
Finally, your masons will construct a chimney crown around the top of the brickwork, and they place a cushion (or expansion joint) between the terracotta liner and the crown to ensure they don’t expand into each other and crack as temperatures rise and fall. Follow everything up with a veneer of your choice (most go with brick or stone), and you’re done!
Constructing a Factory Built Fireplace
Factory Built fireplaces (also known as prefabricated or Zero clearance fireplaces) are done a bit differently. Rather than have everything constructed from scratch, they need to be assembled. The parts are assembled on site by your contractor.
Don’t risk gas leaks, house fires, or smoke inhalation! Chimney maintenance, repairs, appliance installation are not a do-it – yourself projects and should always be left to the professionals. Proper clearances and fire codes must be met
We’re Qualified to Help With it All
So, how can the Clean Sweep team help with your routine maintenance or updating your fireplace this fall and winter? Well, when you combine our over 40 years of experience with our multiple certifications and memberships from the CSIA, the NFI, the HPBA, and more, you’ve got a crew that is guaranteed to know their stuff.
Along with our extensive qualifications, we are known for our high levels of respect and professionalism, ensuring you get that high-quality level of customer service you deserve.
Ready to work with a company that never fails to put the homeowner first? Then, give us a call today! We’re ready to get you where you need to be.