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#1 Most Overlooked & Potentially Dangerous Home Improvement Detail

#1 Most Overlooked & Potentially Dangerous Home Improvement Detail
October 8, 2013 SNH Editorial Team

It’s getting chilly in the Northeast. Time to get the fireplace ready. Do you inspect your fireplace firebox and hearth? Are you aware of cracks? Have you ever checked? Do you know if your fireplace is property built with heat resistant concrete?

Do not assume!  Do not ignore cracks.  Often- very often – a gap opens up between the firebox and the hearthstone. Embers can fly into them and ignite a fire if the base material is made of plywood, i.e. it was not properly built with concrete.

Home inspectors look for this when they inspect fireplaces, since cracks in fireplaces are so commonplace.  However, their reports usually state to “repoint cracks” but they fail to mention the critical detail: Use only HIGH HEAT or 2000 degrees Fahrenheit RATED FIREPLACE MORTAR – never regular cement.  Ask a legitimate chimney sweep and he will tell you that most masons use regular concrete, which will not do the job! Only this specially made high heat fireplace mortar withstands the heat generated in a fireplace!

The most common brands are DAP and Rutland.  Choose black mortar/caulk versus for used fireplace as the firebox is black and filled cracks should not stand out.

One more important installation detail: wet the joints you want to fill first, then fill and wipe with a wet cloth.  In other words, do not fill it in dry!

Remember: Home improvement and home maintenance is all in the details. Know and use the right home improvement products to make your home safe!

Enjoy sitting by the fire with peace of mind!