THE MASONRY MONTHLY
2005 Lincoln Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103 | 626-296-7700 | www.bostonbrick.com
The Centerpiece of the Home
The Importance of a Safe and Sound Fireplace
The holiday season is upon us, and that means more people will be turning on their fireplace for the first time in months, or perhaps for the first time ever. Infrequent fireplace use has the tendency to create the largest issue in warmer climates. This is why we regularly emphasize the importance of fireplace inspections, especially before the holidays. Now is the time to address any potential issues. Fireplace maintenance is a lot like preparing for a road trip across the country. You take your car to the mechanic and have everything checked out before the big trip. That way, you’re ready to travel, knowing your car won’t break down on you. The fireplace is often the centerpiece of the home. If people aren’t gathered around the TV, chances are, they’re gathered around the fireplace. It’s a tradition that goes back thousands of years. A fireplace is not just a source of warmth. It’s a source of comfort. When it comes to home fireplaces, it’s important to remember that your home is made of the same material fire thrives on. Our job is to make sure the fireplace and chimney structure is contained, so it can do its job. That way, it won’t negatively affect the surrounding structure or the people who live there. We can never overemphasize the catastrophe that results from an improperly maintained fireplace. If a water pipe bursts, you’re not going to drown or be injured. The damage may be extensive, but it’s often more manageable. When it comes to fire, or even a gas leak, the consequences can be fatal. Maintaining your home’s fireplace goes beyond safety. Fireplaces are a source of great value. When a home goes on the market, buyers often gravitate toward homes with fireplaces. They might not even intend to use it, but they’re willing to pay for the option.
home sellers to ensure these aspects are emphasized during the selling process. We make sure everything is in working order, and that fireplace looks fantastic. Now, there are a lot of people who live in homes with fireplaces and never use them or say they never use them. They assume that because they don’t use the fireplace, regular upkeep isn’t needed. But because homes are bought and sold, keeping a fireplace in both functional and structural order works to every homeowner’s advantage, regardless of use. You may not use your fireplace, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be used in the future. Another thing to consider is structural safety. Functionally speaking, an unused fireplace poses no real hazard. However, structurally, an unused fireplace may be a different story, particularly in older homes. Homes built prior to 1934 were not reinforced, and neither were chimneys. It wasn’t until after 1934 that building codes began to change, reflecting the realities of living in Southern California. Many craftsmen of the day were from back east, where seismic activity wasn’t a major issue. Their standards for construction were different. Softer mortar was regularly used, and structures weren’t generally reinforced. As a result, in recent years, chimneys have collapsed and fireplaces have crumbled.
This holiday season, before friends and family gather in your home, consider you fireplace. Is it ready to serve as the centerpiece of your home?
A fireplace helps make the home feel more established. It evokes a higher level of quality and craftsmanship in the home. We do a lot of work with
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