What is the plywood cover over my fireplace?

Squidley

New Member
Jul 16, 2019
5
?
Hi there! I recently bought a house built in 1980, and I’m finding that the previous owners made some strange fixes.

One odd feature in the house is this plywood cover on the top of our fireplace. It seems to have holes for ventilation. We knocked on the wood, and it is hollow except for a brick column in the middle for the chimney (I assume).

Any ideas on why this is here and whether or not I can remove it? I’d like to have brick laid all the way up or sheetrock over the top.

Thank you in advance!

-Haley
 

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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,451
central pa
Hi there! I recently bought a house built in 1980, and I’m finding that the previous owners made some strange fixes.

One odd feature in the house is this plywood cover on the top of our fireplace. It seems to have holes for ventilation. We knocked on the wood, and it is hollow except for a brick column in the middle for the chimney (I assume).

Any ideas on why this is here and whether or not I can remove it? I’d like to have brick laid all the way up or sheetrock over the top.

Thank you in advance!

-Haley
Is it a brick or a metal firebox?
 

Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
1,466
Marshall NC
That is a weird one. Those look like ventilation holes. But those little holes, even with a lot of them, not much air can flow through. If you tear out that plywood I would like to see what is behind it. Weird.
 
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jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
4,324
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
Picture is cut off at the bottom.... if there are air intakes (other than combustion air intakes) at the bottom of the unit, it's probably one of those funky old heatilator-style things.

Post some better pictures, though the sweeps will probably be able to tell without them.
 
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Squidley

New Member
Jul 16, 2019
5
?
Picture is cut off at the bottom.... if there are air intakes (other than combustion air intakes) at the bottom of the unit, it's probably one of those funky old heatilator-style things.

Post some better pictures, though the sweeps will probably be able to tell without them.
Ahh okay, I just added more pictures below to show the firebox.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,451
central pa
It is metal
In that case I assume those are vents for the heated air that passes between the inner and outer wall of that firebox. If that is the case what you have is a pretty severe fire risk and would be absolutely horrible for that TV as well.
 

Squidley

New Member
Jul 16, 2019
5
?
In that case I assume those are vents for the heated air that passes between the inner and outer wall of that firebox. If that is the case what you have is a pretty severe fire risk and would be absolutely horrible for that TV as well.
YIKES. That’s what I was afraid of. Guess we’re getting an expert out here...
 

Hogwildz

Minister of Fire
Looks like a Fuego Flame, and if it is, it's an ambiance fireplace and not a heater so to speak. They will get cherry red on the top if pushed hard.
 
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