Time to replace all the bricks

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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Hearth Supporter
Dec 28, 2006
20,937
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
My oh my. Cleaned out both stoves and swept the chimneys. This year was 100% shed cured Douglas fir on a relatively old cat and the chimney was pretty clean. Thinking the use of the new mini split helped avoid some of those extra long and low burns that tend to build up chimney deposits.

I only had to clean ash twice this year. At the ash line most of my bricks are broken and the bottom bricks have eroded significantly. I counted 24 new bricks to get it all but will double check. TSC doesn’t stock firebricks until November! I definitely do not recommend the soft pumice bricks. The standard hard bricks in the barn stove look like new.

This stove was installed 11 years ago and sees 4-5 full cords per season running 95% low and slow.

0EF08D6A-1591-4F90-802F-668BF04F2569.jpeg EF8129AB-AE69-4FE1-8877-D500E7AFE8E2.jpeg
 
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My oh my. Cleaned out both stoves and swept the chimneys. This year was 100% shed cured Douglas fir on a relatively old cat and the chimney was pretty clean. Thinking the use of the new mini split helped avoid some of those extra long and low burns that tend to build up chimney deposits.

I only had to clean ash twice this year. At the ash line most of my bricks are broken and the bottom bricks have eroded significantly. I counted 24 new bricks to get it all but will double check. TSC doesn’t stock firebricks until November! I definitely do not recommend the soft pumice bricks. The standard hard bricks in the barn stove look like new.

This stove was installed 11 years ago and sees 4-5 full cords per season running 95% low and slow.

View attachment 313648 View attachment 313649
I actually find the pumice brick last longer in most cases. They don't crack nearly as easily. But I guess it doesn't matter in the princess either one is approved.

I would look for higher quality ones from a brick yard though. Plus they will probably cost much less there even for the higher grade ones
 
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Masonry supply stores are usually half the cost. Ace Hardware sells them by the case. That’s the next best thing around here.
 
Out west masonry yards are rare. I’ll see what I can find.

I suppose that’s one benefit of a soapstone stove, no firebricks to crack in my last heritage stove.
 
Out west masonry yards are rare. I’ll see what I can find.

I suppose that’s one benefit of a soapstone stove, no firebricks to crack in my last heritage stove.
No instead the stone of the stove body does.
 
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No instead the stone of the stove body does.
I kinda left that out there like bait. My stone stove didn’t crack but had other failures.

These firebrick aren’t supposed to last forever. The side bricks are only supported at the top and bottom so are really easy to crack.
 
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Mutual Materials https://www.mutualmaterials.com/branches/tacoma-parkland-wa/ dominates the west in terms of firebrick. I'm into masonry heaters, and I've noticed the heater builders will use these Mutual Material brick, but they prefer others. These Mutual bricks are probably what is sold at most masonry stores here in the west.

Firebrick can in general be graded into 3 categories, 1) light duty, 2) medium duty, and 3) super duty. As the duty status goes up so does the price (usually). Light & medium duty are what are usually bought for wood stoves (and masonry heaters). The super duties would be something that might go in a kiln to melt metal.

This company https://www.alsey.com/ makes good firebrick (medium duty) but they are in Illinois.
And so does this company https://www.wgpaver.com/ but they are in Ohio (light duty brick).
Harbison-Walker Refractories https://thinkhwi.com/ is a company I have worked with (in Salt Lake City, Utah). They have good bricks but $$. They are national (based out of PA). Maybe some dealer in your area (?).
 
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I used mutual materials for my cultured stone hearth slabs. It’s been about a decade though so I forget the details. Not a cheAp memory.
 
I kinda left that out there like bait. My stone stove didn’t crack but had other failures.

These firebrick aren’t supposed to last forever. The side bricks are only supported at the top and bottom so are really easy to crack.
I know most don't crack it was just laid out there so perfectly i couldn't resist lol
 
So, old thread, but I thought it was better to get this tidbit here rather than starting a new thread.

I just cleaned my stove and chimney.
For the first time I took out all the bricks. When I brush the creosote from behind the shields, a lot of it falls behind the bricks (there's 1/8-1/4" of space between the top of the bricks and the steel wall). As a result creosote was piling up there and staying there.
I got about 3/4 of a gallon of creosote flakes out of it after taking all the bricks out.

That's the intro to this question:
I see that some have a little (not much) erosion from the surface exposed to the fire.
Do folks here ever flip bricks to extend their life?

I put them back in the original orientation, but if that's an okay thing to do, maybe next time (in a few years time) I'll consider doing that.
 
If they are otherwise solid but with just an ugly or eroded front face I wouldn't feel bad at all about selecting the better face to face the firebox.
 
Ok. I don't care about ugly but some are somewhat eroded. Otherwise quite solid.
Thanks
 
I pulled my firebricks out just now to clean behind them. I have a 2 year old PE32. I’ve read all the horror stories of people having rust holes in their stoves from creosote corrosion (not usually a BK stove but still) and just wanted to be cautious.

Anyways, 3 of my rear firebricks are cracked in half. At least one was already that way, and the other two I might have cracked pulling them out. They were kind of stuck in there.

Should I replace the cracked bricks? Seems as though there isn’t a cheap, exact replacement. Using the same material as factory. I see whole sets of bricks going for $300. Lol. Not ready for that quite yet.
 
That will work for two of them. Unfortunately only two of the bottom bricks are the same size as the side bricks. I agree though, the bottom bricks get so packed with ash that it doesn’t matter as much.

I guess it doesn’t matter having one cracked brick on the back or side wall. That’s how it was last burning season. I load N/S, and one time I pushed a piece of wood in there a little two hard and cracked a brick.
 
I was just down at Ace and they have Rutland 9x4.5” bricks (what most of mine are) for $42 a case. There are 6 in a case.
 
Turns out the pumice 9x4.5” fire bricks are available online for the same price as the clay bricks at Ace. So I’m ordering a case of 6.

The PE32 has some places on the side walls of the stove that are really hard to clean. Stuff drops down from the top and you have to pick it out from a tiny access point in the front. I got a skinny wire brush with a long handle and that seems to do an OK job.

Behind this shield

Time to replace all the bricks
 
Yes, and from there it often drops behind the bricks for me. So that's why I took out all the bricks this summer to clean behind it.
 
Turns out the pumice 9x4.5” fire bricks are available online for the same price as the clay bricks at Ace. So I’m ordering a case of 6.

View attachment 327759
Do you mean the Rutland ivory bricks? They are made of ceramic according to Rutland, not pumice. If you shop around you can find US Stove pumice firebrick for about the same price.

US Stove pumice firebricks
 
No rust for me.
A lot there depends also on the microclimate in the stove, both temps during operation (maybe some creosote still evaporates from behind the bricks), and during when it's cold (humidity - I take the stove pipe off, cap both (stove and thimble) open ends, plug the air inlet, and put damprid in the stove.