The fireplace is the center of the house, creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere that truly makes the house a home. Historic fireplaces, even more so than others, with their unique characteristics and personality. Regardless of their charm, this pinnacle of the home is not immune to problems, especially historic fireplaces. There are a lot of things to consider with a historic fireplace restoration project, so where do we begin?
It is important to maintain your historic chimney for both safety and aesthetic reasons; either or both might lend to considering restoration.
Safety Reasons for Historic Fireplace Restoration
If you experience smoke entering the home while using your fireplace or notice traces of gasses, those are indications that restoration and repairs are needed. Older fireplaces can have cracks, damages, chimney obstructions, or creosote buildup that cause larger issues and are not always easily seen with the common eye. In an effort to avoid extensive chimney repairs or masonry work, it is highly recommended to have your chimney and fireplace professionally inspected each year.
Aesthetic Reasons for Historic Fireplace Restoration
Though not as time-sensitive as safety reasons, aesthetic reasons for restoration are often just as important, especially in historic homes. Sometimes visible damages require repairs in addition to the fireplace seeming outdated compared to other home decor. Fireplace restoration can be as simple as repairs to the mantle or as complex as tile and masonry work. There are endless possibilities to refresh everything from the mantle to the masonry that can update the fireplace while preserving its unique history.
Start with the Chimney Liner
Regardless of the reason for your project, the chimney liner is a great place to start. Many historic chimneys do not have chimney liners, so while they are beautiful, they are not functional. It is difficult to install a chimney liner in a unique historic chimney, but it is not impossible. There are options to use the existing chimney shape to create a unique liner and design a flue liner rendering your fireplace operable again. This is the best place to start with your restoration project, so it provides a foundation for the remaining repairs and remodeling.
Follow with the Firebox
After safely lining the chimney, focusing on the firebox is a great next step to honor the home’s history and add charm. Many historic homes host a firebox still in its original form or a similar design. Each time period showcases a different architectural style, and the fireboxes mirror these styles. For example, Victorian-style homes boast square fireboxes with decorative and intricate mantles, while bungalow-style homes display more rounded fireboxes with extensive brickwork and masonry. The difference in these two styles alone is a great example of restoring historic fireplaces to their unique beauty and mirroring the history of the home in the fireplace.
Can I Add Fireplace Restoration to My DIY Project List?
It might seem tempting to tap into your creative side with your historic fireplace restoration project and do it yourself, but we are going to discourage taking on the entire project alone. It is a great opportunity for you to be artistic and showcase your DIY skills by choosing the aesthetic changes to the fireplace. The unique challenges with historic homes, however, are best left to the professionals. Let us save you from dangerous and costly fire-causing mistakes. Give us a call today to schedule a visit from one of our professionals.
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