Repairing the opening of my fireplace

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breckrider

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Bricks above the opening have fallen out. I don't know how to get them back up there. Do I put some sort of bracing across the top of the opening then build up? Do I mortar or use some sort of adhesive?
 

Jeff Handy

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Post some pictures.

Are these fallen bricks from above the front face, or are bricks falling out from the top of the firebox inside?
 

bud16415

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Bricks above the opening have fallen out. I don't know how to get them back up there. Do I put some sort of bracing across the top of the opening then build up? Do I mortar or use some sort of adhesive?
A photo would be of great help. Most of the time there is a steel plate or angle iron used as a lintel that supports the bricks above the opening.
 

breckrider

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IMG_20200105_155913242.jpg IMG_20200105_155922122.jpg IMG_20200105_155930169.jpg IMG_20200105_155935878.jpg IMG_20200105_155922122.jpg IMG_20200105_155913242.jpg IMG_20200105_155922122.jpg

Here are the pictures. The bottom of the fireplace is filled with the old bricks. Obviously, some of them are broken. I'm sure that once I lay them out, I can peace the broken ones back in place.

There's nothing left of any kind of support at the top of the opening.

This was originally a coal burning fireplace.
 

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Jeff Handy

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Hire a pro, not something you can just mess around with, that is a funeral or house fire waiting to happen, IMHO.
 

bud16415

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Do you plan on using the fireplace or will it just be decorative? As mentioned above IMO this is not going to be a working fireplace without some serious redesign by a pro. I wouldn’t build a fire in it even if it were repaired.


If you just want to rebuild it as a decorative feature, I can see doing that as a DIY project depending on your skill levels.


I would build or have a weld shop build a 4 sided box (.5” x 4” steel bar) to reestablish the front opening and provide support for the fallen bricks above. The box could be grouted in place and then the bricks reset trying to match the old mortar.


Once I got it looking good I would cap it solid from the roof. Find an old grate for inside and some birch logs to make it look like it is ready for a fire.


I have a feeling if you contact pros and want a working fireplace they will suggest ripping it all down and building new.
 

Jeff Handy

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If the firebox is collapsing, there is a strong chance the chimney has major flaws also.

It looks like Uncle Joe or Cousin Moe did some older “repairs” on those bricks that caved in.

And might not have paid any attention to what they couldn’t see from their recliner.

So you might be missing some bricks higher up, or at least have open mortar joints, letting flue gases or sparks or fire escape into your house structure.
 

breckrider

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I'm not planning on ever having a fire in it again. Just want it decorative. I can fabricate a metal
frame for the opening then put the bricks back in with mortar or stone adhesive then tuck point
the mortar into the joints.

Sound ok?

If the firebox is collapsing, there is a strong chance the chimney has major flaws also.

It looks like Uncle Joe or Cousin Moe did some older “repairs” on those bricks that caved in.

And might not have paid any attention to what they couldn’t see from their recliner.

So you might be missing some bricks higher up, or at least have open mortar joints, letting flue gases or sparks or fire escape into your house structure.
 

bud16415

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sounds like a plan. post some pics as you go about it.
 

Jeff Handy

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Like bud advised, cap the chimney.

No need to have heat wasted going up there.
And future owners will see that it can’t be used for a real fire.

Or maybe you could put in a gas insert, with its own stainless vent running up the old chimney?
 

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