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Discussion Starter #1
There is a vertical crack that starts in the mortar of the front brick panel wall surrounding our fireplace insert. A friend mentioned this may be due to heat expansion.

There is no movement in the brick at all, even when applying a lot of pressure. Is this a situation where you chisel out and replace any cracked mortar? Should the brick be filled with colored mortar as well?

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DPjvqN09jZU1UcSroUzeTPy3va-4F5R0/view?usp=drivesdk

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DYIPI78DcLmcFF-ghbrQX3SXpfFQ0J3z/view?usp=drivesdk

Here are some photos to reference. Any help is appreciated.
 

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Can you give us a few photos shot from further back to give us a better view of the overall fireplace. I’m having a hard time understanding why I see decorative hooks on two different planes and there doesn’t seem to be any support under the brick with the crack. Is this some sort of corner fireplace?

I don’t think that thermal cracking would propagate like that in brick.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It's a corner fireplace that was retrofitted with an insert before we owned the home. There is a metal liner underneath the bottom of the brick that sits atop the support beam they placed in the corner.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DyL-qDaGAb7_DdKX9FfB6qzuHWvBRK6X/view?usp=drivesdk

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Dy_ZKSem-RQk_VR82LJ9y6sXQPmX8J2q/view?usp=drivesdk

Would it be best to continue the brick on the missing side down to the floor and just fill the existing cracks with mortar?
 

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It’s not typical to see that post in the corner of the fireplace, so I suspect that it was installed in response to the crack, which the installer thought was a sign of settling, or a support issue, not a thermal crack. I agree with that.

How to correct the issue depends on how much work and/or money you’re willing to spend. I don’t know about a wood burning fireplace insert, but I’m sure that you could get a two-sided natural gas fireplace insert that would bring back the ability to view it from two sides. If you want to stick with a front facing insert, it looks odd to have the open side, so I’d want to rebuild that in brick, which you might have trouble sourcing to look like it wasn’t a patch. To do it properly will involve dismantling all the cracked bricks and supporting things while that is done.

If you want to stay with things the way they are, confident that the post has corrected the problem that created the crack, the minimum work would be to chisel out the cracked mortar and replace it, but I don’t think you’ll have success disguising the cracked bricks.

Chris
 
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