apparently we need to parge (crack in smoke chamber, with photo)

warmitup

New Member
Jan 19, 2021
10
Texas
Had originally posted here when discussing smoke smell through the walls into an upstairs cabinet containing a wall opening: https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/what-to-use-to-fill-a-gap-between-lintel-and-marble-tile-facing.185416/

However, we had an inspection that apparently showed cracks in the smoke chamber's mortar (which was apparently non-ceramic, normal mortar). They have recommended parging with ceramic mortar for $900. Have attached a picture.

Would a crack appearing in a smoke chamber have an audible "pop" noise that happened one time? Thanks.

And do these cracks explain smoke smell spreading to that extent?

IMG_0370-preview copy.jpg
 
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warmitup

New Member
Jan 19, 2021
10
Texas
It's the same fireplace from the linked prior thread, if that's what you're asking.

I understood him to mean the inverted funnel between the damper and the flue.
1614033971397.png
 
Dec 14, 2020
108
Lisburn, PA
If that's the case, then the yellow arrow would be how the smoke smell escaped to be more pungent in the wall behind the 2nd floor cabinet...I guess?
View attachment 275159
Yes, yellow arrow may be how smoke is escaping. Your details are probably different than the cross section from Cecure chimney. I would not burn this fireplace without inspecting the "outside" of the brickwork behind the drywall on both the first and second floor.
I'm not familiar with ceramic coatings in a chimney, but if the cracks are before the clay liner and you are getting smoke into the house, something serious is wrong. You could have a bad masonry job. It appears the marble and mantel were a retrofit.
Did you close the gap behind the marble?
 

warmitup

New Member
Jan 19, 2021
10
Texas
Marble and mantel are definitely retrofit, as previous owners hired some people to give the house a facelift prior to selling.

Gosh, that outside brickwork inspection is a pain, as there's no way other than removing the entire sheet rock from the wall (and redoing all the insulation later), right?
 
Dec 14, 2020
108
Lisburn, PA
Marble and mantel are definitely retrofit, as previous owners hired some people to give the house a facelift prior to selling.

Gosh, that outside brickwork inspection is a pain, as there's no way other than removing the entire sheet rock from the wall (and redoing all the insulation later), right?
Did you fill the gap between the brick and marble?
 

warmitup

New Member
Jan 19, 2021
10
Texas
Did you fill the gap between the brick and marble?
Sorry, I had meant to answer this. I haven't yet. I can ask them to just fill it when they parge. Maybe if the smoke smell goes away after the parge and fill.....can you tell I don't want to rip the house up? I know safety comes first, but the house has some nice 1990s textured walls, which is hard to match well upon sheet rock repair.
 
Dec 14, 2020
108
Lisburn, PA
OK, you still have the gap between the tile and brick. I don't see smoke residue at the gap. Inside the cabinet is the place to start looking. Send a pic of the inside cabinet.
 

warmitup

New Member
Jan 19, 2021
10
Texas
It's a built-in cabinet upstairs., and there are some squares of previously cut drywall that I removed to take a picture. There's the old insulation, and I dug through it with a finger to find a blue layer between the insulation and the brick (exterior fireplace brick facing the home).
 

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Dec 14, 2020
108
Lisburn, PA
It's a built-in cabinet upstairs., and there are some squares of previously cut drywall that I removed to take a picture. There's the old insulation, and I dug through it with a finger to find a blue layer between the insulation and the brick (exterior fireplace brick facing the home).
The brownish insulation may be a blown in type which normally would not allow much air to flow.
The blue insulation is probably a foam board which will burn hot with enough air flow.
You can put a panel over the drywall to cover the hole after investigating.
Before spending 900 on lining the smoke chamber, I would enlarge the hole to 12" square and remove the insulation to get back to the brick. If there is a crack thru the brick work, I would want to find it and determine why it happened.
I don't know if a "ceramic coating" can bridge a crack that is subject to heating and cooling and possibly still moving.
 
Dec 14, 2020
108
Lisburn, PA
From DOW Styrofoam
NOTICE: Changes to the International Residential Code require the installation of a water-resistive barrier (WRB) within most exterior wall assemblies in residential construction. The following Dow insulated sheathing products qualify as a WRB when installed according to the installation instructions developed for “installation of foam sheathing as a weather-resistive barrier”: STYROFOAM™ DURAMATE™ Plus, STYROFOAM™ Residential Sheathing, STYROFOAM™ Tongue and Groove, STYROFOAM SIS™, STYROFOAM™ Square Edge, STYROFOAM™ Residing Board, DOW™ High Performance Underlayment, THERMAX™ Sheathing, TUFF-R™ and Super TUFF-R™ and therefore do not require the use of a building paper or a housewrap as a WRB. When a WRB is not needed, these Dow foam sheathings may be installed according to standard installation instructions for foam sheathing from Dow. Be sure products and installation instructions meet code requirements for your particular location. Note: WEATHERMATE™ and WEATHERMATE™ Plus Housewraps have already qualified as water-resistive alternatives to the prescribed felt (see Evaluation Reports NER-593 and NER-640 for approved alternative). CAUTION: This product is combustible and shall only be used as specified by the local building code with respect to flame spread classification and to the use of a suitable thermal barrier. For more information, consult MSDS, call Dow at 1-866-583-BLUE (2583) or contact your local building inspector. In an emergency, call 1-989-636-4400.