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Question DetailsAsked on 10/26/2016

Firebox (interior walls) can be easily moved inside wood burning fireplace with a poker. Is this common?

My wife noticed the interior walls moved when she touched them with a poker. It appears the fire brick is not attached to anything but perhaps just sitting inside the fireplace. Is this common? Should we have someone come out and inspect/repair before burning another fire? Thanks in advance.

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1 Answer


IF a "readyset" type - sheet metal firebox with fake brick formed into the metal - sometimes the sides will "tin can" a bit - move in and out a fraction of an inch in the center like squeezing a large plastic or metal bottle will dish in and out. Should not move at all at corners or front edges ifthat is the case.

But if actual fire brick, definitely should not move - could be the bond with the backer (which can be regular brick or a metal "firebox form" has deteriorated, but actual brick should not move at all. Other possibility is that the firebox and chimney foundation is sinking but the chimney above the firebox is being held up by the house (or is a metal ready-set type) so the firebox wall bricks are settling away from the rest of the firebox - also not a good thing because it owuld open up cracks at the top of the firebox that could leak fire/heat.

If that is the case I would definitely NOT use it until it is looked at - if the firebrick is moving, it will have to be removed and redone, which is likely to be on the order of more than a few hundreds of $ - not a minor patch or grout repair.

Masonry (a mason who does chimney repair) would be your normal Search the List category for this repair. Some Chimney Sweeps also advertise/do this sort of woprk but the problem is you do not know if they are truly qualified - so I would go with an experienced chimney/fireplace mason.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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