Fireplace Insert Fix

About: I am a full time employee, a single mom, and I love to cook and do things around my house.

I took an unused fireplace and made it useable in case of an emergency.

Step 1: This Is Unsafe!

Check out your fireplace. If you have a concrete insert, you could be putting your entire house in danger! I had never used the fireplace in the 5 years I lived here. I had a chimney sweep clean it out, and he told me to fix it or replace the insert.

Hmm, $15 and some time or at least&300 for a new insert and who knows how much for hiring a professional? Guess which I picked

Step 2: Tools Needed

All you need is:

  1. fireplace mortar (under $5 a tube).
  2. a caulking gun (anywhere from $3-$20, depending on the quality you want). I went with the $10 mid grade gun, since I had never used one before.
  3. a putty knife.
  4. a large sponge.
  5. a bucket.

You can go to you tube to find out how to use this contraption, or someone may have an instructable here, since it comes with no instructions.

Step 3: Cleaning

  • Clean the inside of the walls with soap and water and a big sponge.
  • Keep wringing out the sponge and change the water as needed.
  • You might have to do this several times. Mine was filthy. The sweeps clean out the shaft, but not the insert!
  • Let dry.

Step 4: Add Caulk

  • Slightly dampen the crack you need to fill, one at a time.
  • Fill the crack with a bead of caulking. don't make it too thin else you will have to double your efforts.

Step 5: Smooth Caulk

  • With a barely damp putty knife, smooth caulk so it is even with the existing concrete.
  • Hopefully you used enough caulk to fill the crack the first time through.
  • If it is a deep crack, you can need to add a second layer of the caulking.

Step 6: Repeat

Do the previous steps of:

  1. Dampen
  2. Fill
  3. Smooth

For each crack you have.

It is best to do one at a time, so you don't have to panic about the caulking starting to dry before you get to it.

Step 7: Dry Time

  • Let the caulk dry for a minimum of 24 hours, but no more than 30 days before curing.
  • If you had a deep crack and have to double layer, this is where you would do another caulking step and the dry caulk step.

Step 8: Curing

  • Build a fire to cure.
    • According to the instructions on the caulk, you build a low fire, about 200 degrees, to dry the caulk.
    • Then you use a high fire, about 500 degrees, and keep that for about an hour and a half.
  • If the caulking doesn't fall out, you are good to go.
  • If it falls out, you need to repeat the process, making sure you get the caulk in the crack. It happens sometimes.



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