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Smoke marks on fireplace brick- how to remove them

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by paulgp602, Aug 8, 2006.

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  1. paulgp602

    paulgp602 Member

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    I have smoke and or fire black marks on my brick fireplace. I now have an insert but would like to make the brick nice and bright. Can anyone recommend an effective way to clean it? I dont want to remove the insert to do so. Here is a picture before the stove was installed. I didnt have time to clean the brick before the insert was installed or I would have. Thanks for any info.

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  2. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    Rutland makes a brick and stone cleaner. Called Brick and stone cleaner, and Speady white make a hearth cleaner.
  3. paulgp602

    paulgp602 Member

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    Well, that was easy enough. I will check Home depot, they carry Rutland and I actually got my stove glass polish/cleaner there last season. Thanks
  4. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Boy there is a chinney and fire box built incorrectly. Glad you did not continue using it?
  5. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Hey Elk...Well, I agree about the firebox being built wrong, but why do you say that about the chimney. What's clueing you in there? Because of the way the back of the fire box is designed? Educate me here.
  6. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    the brick and stone cleaner is more caustic then the speedy white, but it works well. If you cant find it locally, i will send you a bottle.
  7. paulgp602

    paulgp602 Member

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    Thanks for the offer MSG. I will keep that in mind. What about the fireplace doesnt look right? It was used for years with no problems by the previous owners. I assume it's ok with an insert in it ?
  8. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    One the smoke shelf was not doing its job or you would noy be dealing with cleanning bricks.

    Another posibility would be blocked or restricted passage as simple as birds nest to cresote buildup

    above the opening of the firebox should have 12" to combustiables I see one brick
    If the picture were clearer I could see the back of the fire wall and examine the curbature and look at the position of the damper location

    Judging from the smoke evidence I guessing here from experience the damper should be in a forward position not at the back most position, smoke indicates it to be back. The curbature is to direct the smoke path to the damper which if you follow the curbature would direct the smoke path towards the front the smoke shelf is suposed to contain the smoke till it exits up the damper.

    these are just educated guesses I can not see the details, picture clarity, or the dept of the smoke shelf or the position of the damper
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm guessing Elk is talking about the wood paneling, especially at the top of the fireplace. However, the standard that I see says you only need 6 inches there as long as it does not project out more than 1 1/2".

    Maybe Elk can clarify what his concern is.

    Oh, of course - they changed the standard again! Time to rip out 50 million fireplaces! Excerpts below:

    2111.11 Fireplace clearance. Any portion of a masonry fireplace located in the interior of a building or within the esterior walls of a building shall have a clearance to combustibles of not less than 2 inches (51 mm) from the front faces and sides of masonry fireplaces and not less than 4 inches (102 mm) from the back faces of masonry fireplaces. The air space shall not be filled, except to provide fire blocking in accordance with Section R1003.13.

    Exceptions:
    4. Exposed combustible mantels or trim is permitted to be placed directly on the masonry fireplace front surrounding the fireplace opening, providing such combustible materials shall not be placed within 6 inches (152 mm) of a fireplace opening. Combustible material directly above and within 12 inches (306 mm) of the fireplace opening shall not project more than 1/8 inch (3.2 mm) for each 1-inch (25.4 mm) distance from such an opening. Combustible materials located along the sides of the fireplace opening that project more than 1-1/2 inches (38 mm) from the face of the fireplace shall have an additional cleanance equal to the projection.
    ------------
    Ok, so we have to get out the slide rule! the material cannot project more than 1/8 inch for each inch away from the fireplace opening - which means a total of a little over 3/4" for your trim.

    In any case, it does look like your fireplace meets standards or at least very close.
  10. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Elk, doesn't the code I quoted above apply?

    This is 2006 IBC. 2003 IRC says same thing.
  11. paulgp602

    paulgp602 Member

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    It is from 1952, so maybe code has changed over the years? It works for my insert and the wood doesn't even get warm anywhere on the wall or around the brick. I never used the fireplace so I don't know what would have caused the burn marks. Maybe the previous owners built fires that were out too far onto the hearth?
  12. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Lots of fireplaces smoke, and lots of people don't know how to burn them correctly. The biggest reason many more don't have smoke stains is that people stop using them!
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