Fireplace mantel

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jay H, Dec 14, 2005.

  1. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Hope I have the right terminology, but I have a stone fireplace in my house, the mantel or faceplate that is in front of it (which includes the screen and wire mesh) has a gap between itself and the stone. Apparently the original owner never used the fireplace that much (it's in good shape!) and there is a big gap between the mantel and the fireplace itself that the owner stuffed some fiberglass insulation in. I want to fix this but wondering the best method. It's too big in spots to simply caulk or seal with something fireproof, but wondering if the only option would be to frame it out and use concrete?

    Any ideas?

    Jay
     
  2. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    No idea on your problem (I've never had a fireplace), but I can tell you that the mantel of a fireplace is the horizontal shelf that runs above it, usually somewhat wider than the fireplace opening itself. I have no idea what the stone or brick or other material on the face of the fireplace is called. (Although I assume it has some kind of special name. [​IMG])

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  3. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Do you mean the facade? I think the best way to fix it is with mortar. You don't need to frame it out -- as in build a form -- to contain the mortar. A thick mortar mix can be troweled, or pointed, into the gap.

    If there's a void behind the gap, use a fiberglass backer rod to prevent the mortar from falling into the void. Don't use a foam backer rod, since it will burn when it gets hot. Also, you must use a fire-rated mortar.
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    That sounds like a sound approach and if necessary you could take a stab at matching the color.
     
  5. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    OK, sorry, if the Mantle is the ledge on top of the fireplace, than what I'm describing is not it. It would be the "facade" that is a one piece unit that has the two glass doors that fold open and a wire mesh behind it.

    Thanks for the suggestion of the fire-rated mortar! I will put that on my ever growing list of things to get at a hardware store [​IMG]

    jay
     
  6. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Actually, as far as I know, there's no danger in using mortar that is not fire rated. It just doesn't hold up quite as well to the temperature extremes as the fire-rated stuff.

    It sounds like a fun project. Let us know how it turns out. [​IMG]
     
  7. Dave Hahn

    Dave Hahn Second Unit

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    Can you post a picture? How about one of the entire fireplace and a close up of the "gap." We might be able to give better ideas . . .
     
  8. PeterK

    PeterK Supporting Actor

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    beat me too it dave! a picture would make this a whole lot easier! [​IMG]
     
  9. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    A picture of the gap or are you all still confused of what I'm talking about?

    [​IMG]

    Just a cheapo example. The door that goes in front of the fireplace is what is installed and locked to the floor. However, because my fireplace is stone and I think originally, it was simply open to the living room, somebody before me put a facade on it, a mantle on top and mirror, finishing touches on the top to the ceiling. However, because the fireplace itself is stone and not brick, the facade is not flush to the fireplace so there is a large gap in some places and a small gap in others (where the stone is not there).

    I could take a picture of it, but that will have to wait til I get there with a camera. I'm not living there yet and almost moved in). I hope I described it well enough, it's not that earth shattering I think! The house is old, the fireplace is very traditional except somebody thought they wanted to modernize it with a facade, however it kind of looks like it was done with a half-assed approach and I'm just trying to make it done right.

    Jay
     
  10. Nate Anderson

    Nate Anderson Screenwriter

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    I think we were looking for a picture of the gap that you're looking at so we can get a better idea of what you were dealing with.

    On a side note, I always just referred to those as the fireplace doors personally.
     
  11. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Is the door assembly made of metal? If it is, then I don't think that mortar is the answer. You may need to trim it out with strips of stone, like brick molding on an exterior window, and then use mortar between the trim and the stone. There are other ways, as well.

    I probably shouldn't say anything else until you post your picture.
     
  12. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Yup, the fireplace facade is aluminum.

    Jay
     
  13. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    [Cliff Clavin] Be careful there Jay, the melting point of aluminum is 660°C (1220° F) [/Cliff Clavin]

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Hahaha, I've been known to have rip roaring fires when camping, especially winter camping. I'll have to control myself here [​IMG]

    Jay
     
  15. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    You want pictures!:

    Webshot's link

    I went to Lowes to ask about mortar and a person told me that the gap is not supposed to be sealed. Of course,the fire needs oxygen, but the door itself is vented under the doors and the doors aren't air tight to begin with...

    Jay
     
  16. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    So, is this gap supposed to be open or not? I would think the fire would have enough vents in the door to breath and I hate when smoke builds up enough that it starts to seep up outside the fireplace itself, if this is in any way avoidable. (Other than having smaller fires [​IMG] )

    Jay
     
  17. Nate Anderson

    Nate Anderson Screenwriter

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    The gap is supposed to be closed. So what we need to figure out is what you need to use to close that gap.
     
  18. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    As mentioned above by BrianW, I could use a mortar and perhaps a backer rod that will withstand the heat involved...

    Jay
     
  19. Dave Hahn

    Dave Hahn Second Unit

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    Except for an errant puff now and then, smoke shouldn't seep out of the fireplace at all. I've found through the years that some fireplaces draw better than others. You might want to try keeping the fire as far to the rear of the firebox as possible. This should help to keep the smoke going up the chimney and not into the room.

    I don't want to sound like a dud or a know-it-all, but do you know when the last time the chimney was cleaned? When I was a vol. fireman we went to many, many chimney fires during the winter months. Sometimes they broke through the chimney into the house or attic and caused extensive damage. You may want to consider having the chimney cleaned, or cleaning it yourself. You can buy a chimney cleaning kit at a hardware store, make sure you get the brush that fits your chimney flue. They come with either chains or poles; I like the type with poles. It's messy and you have to go on the roof, but will save big bucs in the long run. Also, you might want to try to not to build fires where the flames are so tall that they reach up into the damper/chimney as this is the main cause of chimney fires.

    Edit: Stupid me, I just saw that you posted a link to pictures. Now I see what you've been talking about. (I'm kind of dense -- needed the pictures) This appears to be a common add-on fireplace door unit. You can use the screens by closing them, either to stop sparks from exiting the fireplace when you use certain wood that causes this, or for the end of the night when you bank the fire and go to sleep. People use the doors to stop the fireplace from sucking up heated room air and pumping it out into the night. They are also great to use at the end of the night as an additional safety factor. Personally, I never cared for fireplace doors. They kind of defeat the purpose by closing the fire away from you. I like to feel the heat and smell & hear the fire. They are good for safety reasons when you are done for the night or going out.

    As to filling the gap: You do not have a sealed, fireplace insert, you have fireplace doors with screens. With all due respect to Nate, the gap does not nor should not be sealed. It is not designed for that. The frame just holds the doors and screens in place and is fitted to the sides of the opening for cosmetic reasons. If it were a sealed unit, then yes, the gap should be closed, but it's not and it doesn't. If it bothers you, I suppose you could use either portland or quickset cement and close it in, but it is not necessary.
     
  20. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Thanks Dave for the good advice, it is always appreciated.

    As far as the last time the owner cleaned the fireplace, I can't say, but he told me that he never really used it. From my inspection of it when I was looking at the place, I would say that is very accurate, there is hardly any sooting of the outer rocks and the hearth itself is pretty clean. There were no large stacks of firewood anywhere on his property nor any signs of small chips and wood pieces one would see in any piles of wood. He didn't even have a firelog holder inside. I know he's lived there since the 70s so it's been a bit since the fireplace saw much use. However, being my first home, I have some weird desire to keep it as pristine as possible, which extends from my Home Theater to my house, so I will look into fireplace maintenance as much as anything else I am currently working on and will have more threads on this topic here on AHL. [​IMG]

    Jay
     

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