Prefab Refractory Wall Replacement

Refractory Panels That Need To Be Replaced
We start out with a prefab chimney that needs to have the refractory panels replaced.

Highlighted Back And Side Panels
        The back & side panels are usually the ones that need to be replaced.   There will be times that the floor panel will need to be replaced as well.

Remove Panels That Need Replacing
        Remove the panels that need to be replaced.   You will have to remove the side panels to access the back panel if it needs to be replaced.   All dust and debris should be removed once the panels are removed.   Note: The back and side panels are approximately 1" thick - while the floor panel is approximately 1-½" thick.

All Panels Have Been Removed
        Here all of the firebox refractory panels were removed.   Note: If your replacing one or all of the panels, it's a perfect time to inspect the metal box which houses the refractory panels for any areas of concern e.g. separation, warping or any signs of damage.

Replacing Those Panels
        Replace all refractory panels that were damaged.   When putting the panels back, install them in the reverse order that they were removed.

Panels Replaced In Firebox
        The above photo shows the prefab chimney firebox with the refractory panels replaced.   The hearth screen was also replaced, which made it safer and more functional.

Refractory Panels Painted
        The above photo shows the prefab chimney firebox with the refractory panels painted.   Some of our clients want the panels painted (ONLY using "high heat"paint ).   Not using "high heat" paint will cause the paint to blister up and will NOT look very good at all.   It is VERY labor intensive to remove the blistered paint and can be very expensive.   Having the firebox panels painted will mask any soot or carbon staining.   We recommend using black, otherwise the staining from burning either gas or wood will be visible after the first few fires.   We also recommend two or three coats minimum for adequate coverage.   Painting the panels will not influence the performance of the fireplace but will add to the beauty of it!

        After the new panels are installed, the fireplace cannot be used for 24 hours so that they can reach room temperature.   Then, you must have at least 6 small kindling fires in order to cure (harden)  the new panels, or they will crack prematurely.

        Our industry recommends replacement of the panels if the cracks are the thickness of a dime or more.

        Most manufacturers will no longer sell just the individual panels, and now require you to buy the entire set of panels -- even if only one panel is cracked.  

We Can Replace Your Prefab Panels!

        The firebox in your prefabricated fireplace is built out of strong, heat-resistant refractory panels.   These panels are made out of materials that are specifically designed to stand up to the heat in your fireplace, but like anything that’s under consistent stress, the panels will begin to wear.   When your panels begin to show signs of wear, you will need to have the refractory panels replaced with properly sized and installed new panels.

        Apex Duct And Chimney Cleaning technicians routinely repair and replace factory-built fireplace units, including prefab refractory panels.   When we perform your chimney inspection, we will inspect your firebox and assess whether the panels have worn to the point where replacement is necessary in order to maintain a reasonable level of SAFE use.   But if you notice cracks or abrasions in the walls or floor of your firebox, call Apex Duct And Chimney Cleaning, immediately - it’s NOT safe to use the fireplace if cracks are allowing heat and debris to gain access to the combustible materials around your fireplace.   We want you to be able to enjoy your fireplace without putting you and your family at high risk.

Why Do Refractory Panels Wear Out?

        There are many reasons why the refractory panels in your prefabricated fireplace may begin to fail.   User error can contribute - if you burn materials other than seasoned cordwood in your wood-burning unit (like papers, cardboard and brush).   Burning these materials can cause the fire to get excessively hot very quickly, which can lead to cracks in the joints of the refractory panels.

        But these panels can and will also wear down simply from repeated use.   Cracks can develop in the panel joints, and the surface can start to chafe and deteriorate with years of fires.

        Pre-fabricated fireplaces are great products, and with regular maintenance, bring many years of enjoyment.   But homeowners should expect to replace the refractory panels in the firebox at some point, in order to maintain an acceptable level of SAFETY.

When Do I Need To Have My Refractory Panels Replaced?

        According to the chimney industry, the general rule is to replace refractory panels when cracks in the panels have reached the thickness of a dime, or when the surface of the panels has reduced a quarter inch or more in thickness, due to wear and deterioration.

        Not sure if your factory-built firebox needs some attention?   Our technicians can help you assess the state of your panels, and replace them if needed.   Call us if you have any concerns - we look forward to assisting you!   Call us today to schedule your appointment!

        A hearth screen provides an extra level of safety as well as beauty to your fireplace.   Check with our skilled staff at Apex for the best information about this simple but skilled chimney installation.

To go to the Prefab Chimneys  page.
To go to the Prefab Chimney System Characteristics  page.


        If you would like to schedule an appointment with our company the following TIPS  will help assist in the completion of your scheduled appointment.

(Source:   CSIA, NCSG, CCP, GSCSG, NFI, PERC, NFPA, PFI, AGA, HPBA, FIRES, USFA, Cal/OSHA )   External Links

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