Boston Brick & Stone November 2017



2005 Lincoln Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103 | 626-296-7700 |

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?

Dave Laverdiere

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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A spray bottle filled with vinegar can be an invaluable tool when cleaning your house. A few spritzes of the pungent stuff is an excellent all-natural alternative to expensive chemicals for cleaning windows, eliminating grass stains from clothes, freshening laundry, wiping out carpet stains, and even washing

produce. However, before you go hog-wild blasting everything in your house, you should know about a few things that you definitely shouldn’t use vinegar on. After scrubbing those dirty windows with vinegar and a paper towel, it can be tempting to apply the same technique to your granite or marble countertops. However, the acetic acid in vinegar can erode all types of natural stone over time. This includes the stone floor tiles in your bathroom. Ammonia can be damaging as well — stick to dish detergent and warm water or special stone soap, instead. Many experts argue that vinegar can also strip the finish from your shiny hardwood floors. Others find that vinegar gives them a beautiful sheen. Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry. A cleaner specifically formulated for hardwood floors will keep them in tiptop shape, and you won’t have to worry about any damage. Some vinegar believers have found that it’s not great for egg spills — or egg-related teenage vandalism — either. Pouring vinegar onto a raw egg, or any other protein-based spill, like yogurt, causes the egg to coagulate, making it cling to whatever surface you’re trying to clean.

TESTIMONIALS Here’s what happy clients had to say about our services.


•Inspection •Restoration and repair •Construction •Sweeping


•Inspection, restoration, or repair of an existing structure •Installation or reconstruction of new structures

Project: Install a Brick or Stone Fireplace (Gas)


•Backyard patios •Outdoor kitchens and barbecues •Outdoor steps, walkways, and paths •Retaining walls •Outdoor fireplaces •Driveways

“Outstanding service. Understood immediately what I was looking to have done. Professionally walked me through options. The crew was very skilled, courteous, and neat. I would highly recommend Boston Brick & Stone.” -Homeowner Project: Clean and Inspect a Chimney or Fireplace “Chimney sweep and post sweep repairs went very well.” -Homeowner

HISTORICAL RESTORATION Our previous restoration work includes:

•Restoration of the main lobby chimney system of the El Tovar Hotel on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. •Repair and restoration of chimneys in 56 original historic cabins on the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. •Historical chimney restoration for the lodge in Bryce Canyon National Park. •Faithful restoration of the chimneys on the Nottingham and Arden properties in Beverly Hills.


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MAKE YOUR CHIMNEY SAFE FOR SANTA Chimney Cleaning and Inspection for the Holidays

How Can I Tell if My Chimney Is Damaged? Only an experienced inspector can verify that your chimney is damaged and to what extent. There are, however, warning signs to look out for. Any cracks are an immediate warning sign. You should also look for any painting-over, as it often indicates a crack underneath. How Often Should My Chimney Be Cleaned? The more often you use your fireplace, the more often you need your chimney cleaned. You should clean your chimney at the first sign of smoke buildup. If you start a fire and your house

Santa won’t be visiting houses for another month or so, which gives you just enough time to have your chimney inspected and swept before the big man makes his rounds. We service all types of chimneys, tackling everything from basic cleaning to full fabrication from scratch. If you want to have everything in top-notch shape before Christmas rolls around, you’ll benefit from knowing the answers to these frequently asked questions. Which Type of Chimney Do I Have? There are three basic types of chimneys. The first is a masonry chimney, which is made from bricks, mortar, and concrete. Prefabricated chimneys, on the other hand, are installed as one unit. These are factory-made, including some that are made to look like masonry chimneys. Hybrid chimneys, a very popular style in our area, use masonry at the base of the fireplace and a prefabricated top. The advantage to these models is that they are more resistant to earthquakes. If I Have a Prefabricated Chimney, Do I Still Need It Inspected? The short answer is yes. Even though all prefabricated chimneys are inspected before they leave the factory, they aren’t always installed correctly. In fact, most chimney fires are caused by prefabricated chimneys, making inspection a must.

is smoking, you need a cleaning. All of our cleanings come with a thorough inspection, so you’ll have peace of mind that your fireplace is in tip-top shape.

If you want to light up a fire this holiday season, call Boston Brick & Stone before you begin burning. We’ll make sure your chimney will bring joy instead of worry.


Roasted Parmesan PESTO POTATOES


It only takes 3 ingredients to make these crispy, flavorful potatoes. They’re the perfect side dish for any meal.

• 2 pounds red potatoes, quartered • 2 tablespoons basil pesto • Salt and pepper, to taste • 3 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven to 400 F. 2. In large bowl, combine potatoes and pesto. Toss to coat. Transfer potatoes to large baking sheet or shallow roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Roast 20 minutes and remove from oven. 3. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese evenly over potatoes and put pan back in the oven. Roast for additional 10–15 minutes or until potatoes are tender and crispy. Remove from oven and serve warm.

Recipe courtesy of

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2005 Lincoln Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103 | 626-296-7700 |


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The Importance of a Safe and Sound Fireplace

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What Not to Clean With Vinegar

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Is Your Chimney Safe for Santa?

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Roasted Parmesan Pesto Potatoes

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Thanksgiving at America’s Resort

THANKSGIVING AT AMERICA’S RESORT Carve Your Turkey at The Greenbrier

This Thanksgiving, many Americans plan to go over the river and through the woods to sleep on the air mattress at grandmother’s house. But your family Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be crowded and uncomfortable. For generations, The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, has brought families together for a weekend of true American elegance. The local hot springs have been popular with travelers since 1778, but The Greenbrier didn’t come to life until 1913. The sprawling 710-room national landmark sits on 11,000 acres of rolling hills and has been described as “‘Monte Carlo’ meets ‘Gone With the Wind.’” The blend of Colonial decor and Hollywood Regency flourishes make guests feel as if they have stepped back in time, while still offering all the modern amenities. Mom and Grandma relax in the spa, Grandpa enjoys a round of golf, the siblings all go off-roading in a Jeep, and later, the whole family will face off in a game of laser tag. With 55 leisure activities offered at the resort, make every day as busy or as relaxing as you want before enjoying a gourmet dinner at one of the resort’s six full-time restaurants.

The Greenbrier is a dream getaway anytime of the year, but America’s resort really goes all-out for the traditional American holiday, Thanksgiving. Family members from every generation can find something fun to do before the family gathers together for the massive Thanksgiving brunch in The Greenbrier’s Colonial Hall. The award-winning culinary brigade serves up Thanksgiving classics, like soft rolls and roasted turkey, alongside marinated mussels and ricotta tortellini. Make time for the horse- drawn carriage ride and evening gala, and you have the perfect Thanksgiving.


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