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Old 12-01-2011, 05:28 PM   #1
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Crack in fireplace box


It's just started to get cold here in Florida, and we've been enjoying the fireplace here for the past few days. Today when I was cleaning it out, I noticed a crack in the rear panel of the fireplace... I haven't ever installed a fireplace box, so I don't know how these things are constructed. My primary concern here is whether or not the thing is safe to use with this crack... I would think so, because this wall seems awfully flimsy and I can't imagine it being responsible for much insulation, but I also have no idea what I'm talking about. Anyone here that can give me some guidance? Here's a pic:


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Old 12-01-2011, 05:37 PM   #2
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Crack in fireplace box


Is this a kit fireplace?
When you say panel, is this a removeable section and not a masonry wall?

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Old 12-01-2011, 05:44 PM   #3
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Crack in fireplace box


Thanks for the quick reply Ron. I would say it's a kit fireplace, though I don't really know what that is... The wall there with a crack is thin, when I press on it with my hand it flexes some, so I'd imagine it's a drop in panel and not real masonry? Here's a pic of the whole fireplace if that helps:

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Old 12-01-2011, 05:52 PM   #4
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Crack in fireplace box


It looks like a refractory panel. A one-piece item made to look like stacked firebrick. Judging from the perfect mortar joints and then the void in the sidewall juncture it appears all three walls are panels.

You can buy some refractory mortar and patch it. It may be a good idea to also fill the side-wall void.

The crack starting at the bottom and continuing upward through additional courses says it is a panel. If it was stacked brick the crack would not have carried on through the other courses.
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Old 12-01-2011, 06:01 PM   #5
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Crack in fireplace box


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Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
It looks like a refractory panel. A one-piece item made to look like stacked firebrick. Judging from the perfect mortar joints and then the void in the sidewall juncture it appears all three walls are panels.

You can buy some refractory mortar and patch it. It may be a good idea to also fill the side-wall void.

The crack starting at the bottom and continuing upward through additional courses says it is a panel. If it was stacked brick the crack would not have carried on through the other courses.
Refractory mortar, huh... Roger than, I'll check it out.. So this is really a cosmetic issue rather than a functional safety concern in the meantime?
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Old 12-01-2011, 06:07 PM   #6
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Crack in fireplace box


Cosmetic maybe, don't know what's back there. You wouldn't want flames licking through the crack if the panel is that thin. Somewhere back there there are some wood studs probably.

There may be a fire-rated caulk available also, don't know what that rating would be.

A wood fire in a fireplace will burn around 1200 to 1500 degrees, just depends on the fuel used. A going fire with proper air circulation will tame down to around 1000 degrees in most cases.

I just would not want the crack sucking fire due to imperfections in the homes skin somewhere.
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Old 12-01-2011, 06:40 PM   #7
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Crack in fireplace box


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Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
Cosmetic maybe, don't know what's back there. You wouldn't want flames licking through the crack if the panel is that thin. Somewhere back there there are some wood studs probably.

There may be a fire-rated caulk available also, don't know what that rating would be.

A wood fire in a fireplace will burn around 1200 to 1500 degrees, just depends on the fuel used. A going fire with proper air circulation will tame down to around 1000 degrees in most cases.

I just would not want the crack sucking fire due to imperfections in the homes skin somewhere.
Good advice, so something like this would be appropriate for filling the crack?
http://www.amazon.com/Rutland-Refrac...d_sim_sbs_hg_2
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Old 12-01-2011, 06:48 PM   #8
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Crack in fireplace box


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...so something like this would be appropriate for filling the crack?
http://www.amazon.com/Rutland-Refrac...d_sim_sbs_hg_2
Not going to say, don't know anything about that product. I tried to get some specifications on that product but they don't seem to want you to know anything about it, they just want you to send them your money. I wasn't going to the DAP website but you could. I would want to see the Data Sheet on the product before I passed judgement on the product.
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Old 12-01-2011, 07:25 PM   #9
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Crack in fireplace box


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
Not going to say, don't know anything about that product. I tried to get some specifications on that product but they don't seem to want you to know anything about it, they just want you to send them your money. I wasn't going to the DAP website but you could. I would want to see the Data Sheet on the product before I passed judgement on the product.
Roger, thanks for your help Bud.
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:43 AM   #10
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Crack in fireplace box


Thanks for your help.
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Old 12-02-2011, 12:16 PM   #11
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Crack in fireplace box


Mine looked similar about 6 years ago. It was only on the back panel like yours...and it was a panel, and there were two side inserts. Mine had clips at the top actually holding them in, believe it was made by Marco in 1998. Grate attached in back like yours. My manufacturers instructions said this was normal as long as they didn't open up. I think the fact that the fire was close to the back, but never the sides caused the cracks.

Anyway, I purchased a cast iron fireback for about $75 which has been propped in front of the back panel. Bought a small freestanding log rack to place in front of it. Cracks have not changed since and it works well, but the log rack is smaller than original and I have to cut wood a bit smaller. Fireback does help create more heat.

Good luck.
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Old 12-02-2011, 02:48 PM   #12
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Crack in fireplace box


Quote:
Originally Posted by Done That View Post
Mine looked similar about 6 years ago. It was only on the back panel like yours...and it was a panel, and there were two side inserts. Mine had clips at the top actually holding them in, believe it was made by Marco in 1998. Grate attached in back like yours. My manufacturers instructions said this was normal as long as they didn't open up. I think the fact that the fire was close to the back, but never the sides caused the cracks.

Anyway, I purchased a cast iron fireback for about $75 which has been propped in front of the back panel. Bought a small freestanding log rack to place in front of it. Cracks have not changed since and it works well, but the log rack is smaller than original and I have to cut wood a bit smaller. Fireback does help create more heat.

Good luck.
Yeah, I just found the plate on the box there, and I have a Marco unit too. Did a little digging online, but all I can find for the model # are the doors. Guy at Lowes suggested doing the same thing as you regarding the fireback, maybe I'll go that route.
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Old 12-02-2011, 03:49 PM   #13
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Crack in fireplace box


To my knowledge Marco has gone out of business so you can't easily get their parts anymore.
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Old 12-03-2011, 02:59 PM   #14
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Crack in fireplace box


That soot concerns me a bit. What have you been burning? Usually seasoned firewood does not leave that amount of black looking gook. You have not been burning excessive amounts of paper or cardoboard have you?

You might want to bring in a mason or fireplace firm for an onsite read on this and to find out what cracked the firebox. Heat or settling of the house.

And I harp, I know, at my clients, but chimneys should be swept and checked once a year. Small price to pay for avoidance of a chimney and potential house fire.

Bud is right to be concerned about a crack like that drafting air in a direction you do no want it.

You might want to think about lining the firebox if repairing the masonry is going to cost too much.
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Old 12-04-2011, 02:30 PM   #15
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Crack in fireplace box


I wouldn't be concerned about it, unless it starts to fall apart. All it's meant to due is help insulate the first wall of steel behind it from excessive heat. Those panels are anything but sealed installations, they just cut back on the majority of heat being transfered to the steel.

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