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Please note: this page contains reviews and opinions sent in by Berkeley Parents Network subscribers. Your own experience may be different. Please always check references first!
Repairing a Fireplace
||Building a New Fireplace|
We have a gas fireplace. We turned it off for a while because we weren't using it and the remote was acting funny. Now, a few months later, we can't get it to start. Do you have experience and can help us? Or can recommend someone who can? I don't even know where to start looking for help.
You can find the control box/remote sensor on the bottom of your unit, just take off the bottom grate and look in the area where you light the pilot. You should see a black plastic box, about 5' x 5'. See if you can slide it out enough (careful, there are wires) to open it and check or replace the batteries. Once you're sure you have good batteries in there, replace the box, turn your fireplaceo to the pilot setting, push in your pilot dial and wait 15- 25 seconds for the gas to start flowing. Then pump your ignitor a few times fast. It should start right up (if not, you may have to click the ignitor more, about 15 times).
Once the flame catches, keep holding in the pilot dial for another 15-25 seconds to let the sensors heat up inside the fireplace (this keeps your gas on). Once you let go of the pilot dial, turn it to the ON position. Your pilot should stay lit (if not, try again). Then set your thermostat on your unit and you should be good to go. Good luck! D. Archer
Our home was built in the late 1920s (like most in the area). The fireplace looks perfect from the outside, but inside several bricks have come loose & fallen to the area where one would put a fire. Have quit using for fear of proper function & don't want to damage more. Has anyone had this type of repair done? How is the work completed? Would you reccomend the company that repaired your's? Thanks.
Our brick chimney is a prominent architectural feature of our home. He took it down to the roof line (damage was above that area), rebuilt the chase, replaced the flues, repaired the interior chimney and 2 fireboxes, sliced the original bricks to a thinner size, then reapplied the brick as a veneer on stucco. It matches the original chimney structure very well.
Jason is very professional. He explains everything clearly and thoroughly and returns call and emails promptly. His prices are competitive. I highly recommend him! --Ann S.
After the last earthquake, we noticed large interior (plaster) and exterior (stucco) cracks around our fireplace. I'd like to have it inspected. Who does this work? Any recommendations? Thanks!
We are looking for a contractor experienced in strapping chimneys. We called a couple people and no one seems to want to do it or aren't experienced in strapping a chimney. Additionally, we need some repair work done on our fireplace. Anyone have a similar experience or a good, responsive, knowledgeable contractor they can recommend? Lori
Our Chimney has exterior cracks above the roofline (we have been told it is safe to use the fireplace). We would like to have someone fix the Chimney cracks. We received a bid from a contractor who recommended taking down the brick to where the cracks start, and then re-building the brick. However, we have heard that some Chimney contractors will do a stucco facade over a stovepipe -- the advantage being that it would be less likely to come down during an earthquake. Does anyone know of a contractor who specializes in this? We asked first contractor but he does not do any other type of chimney building -- he will just re-build the brick. Murphy
We have an old red brick fireplace that we'd like to make look contemporary by covering it with some other type of material (not paint). We're thinking about concrete or tile but not sure who to talk to or where to go. Please let me know if you've done this, how it turned out, and if you have any recommendations. Thanks!
Hi We need a custom fit glass door for our fireplace. I'm having trouble finding a company that does this. Do you know of a company or person who can do this? Have you ever ordered custom fireplace doors online? Thanks
I'm looking for someone who can create an antique brick faux finish for a big red brick fireplace I have. It's one of those large hearth fireplaces that people used to cook on (complete with an iron pot hanger) but I need to lighten up the dark red brick with a faux antique finish. Thanks for your suggestions.
All the DIY websites said that you must thoroughly clean the brickwork using a rather strong solution of TSP before applying sealant to both the bricks and mortar joints. (Strong means eight parts water to one part TSP.) I did this - using appropriate caution with the stuff - and WOW, what a difference it made in the color of the bricks! Most of the dark color was ancient soot and grime.
So I suggest you try this first to see if you still want to apply a faux finish. If you still do - here's another tip. I wanted to darken parts of my fireplace to create contrast. The experts I consulted said that only way to do this is with paint - you can't really stain brick. Get some masonry paint in the color you want, then thin it with solvent to a 1/4 concentration (or less). I applied it with a combination of sponges and brushes, and dabbed with rags to get the effect I wanted.
If you have sealed your bricks first, it's easy to wipe the paint off (while it's still wet) if you don't like the effect. So experiment! Good luck, Becky
Help! We recently had to demolish our stone fireplace mantel because it was unsafe. Now we are starting from scratch. We have a 1911 Berkeley bungalow with a lot of painted white wood trim in the living room. We are trying to figure out if we should just buy a simple white wood mantel from a dealer or if we should have one built for us? Does anyone have any recommendations on style, places to buy or carpenters to hire? Rattled about a new mantel
We have two fireplaces in our 1908 craftsman home that have been sadly mistreated. We have some DIY amateur masonry repairs and horrible paint jobs. We'd like to cover the brick with tile and are looking for a recommendation of a ''tiler'' to do the work. Can you recommend a contractor to do this work? I'm not actually sure what the trade is...am I looking for a tile guy or gal or something else? Thanks!
I'm looking for someone that help me design and build a wood fireplace surround for my existing fireplace. The existing surround is the original from 1940 but is very plain and simple. I have an idea of the style that I would like but need someone that's good at design and can build the surround and mantle. I wasn't able to find any recent postings. Has anyway done this? Thanks for your help. Karen
We need fireplace mantels/surrounds on two new fireplaces. We are looking for a carpenter who is not only a fine craftsman but who is good at design as well. There have not been any posts for carpenters in the past 2 years. Any current recommendations?
So I've checked the archives, but can't seem to find quite what I'm looking for. The interior of our fireplace needs work ... basically the marble that runs between the fireplace opening and the mantle is cracked and needs to be replaced, and the bricks that are inside the actual fireplace need repainting and cleaning. Can anyone recommend someone who specializes in this? Standard chimmey cleaners/repair people don't seem to quite fit the bill. Thank you!
We just bought a very old house that has fireplace but we have no idea what the condition is and unfortunately, the previous owners did an ''upgrade'' back in the 70s and put this really ugly fake brick facade around the mantle. We need someone to come in and inspect the fireplace, the chimney, etc. to see if it's in operable condition, remove the insert, repair and clean the stack, and also replace the mantle with a more decorative wood one. The responses in the archives are dated. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks so much! Smokin' in Albany
Does anyone have any experience with building or erecting an outdoor fireplace, either wood-burning or gas? We live in Oakland (flatlands, not in the hills) and are currently redoing our backyard and would love to have an outdoor fireplace, but don't even know if that's allowable. Any advice, recommendations, etc. would be appreciated. Js
Construction costs and air-pollution regs make rebuilding a brick fireplace quite impractical.
- You'll be doing a retrofit and manufactured fireplaces are largely designed for new construction. You can get around the problems this causes if you're flexible, imaginitive, etc. It's critical to get the installation instructions in order to design the installation. The directions come with the fireplace. What we had trouble communicating was that we couldn't decide whether to buy the unit without getting the instructions first.
- The pictures that came with the brochures, and at least one installation we saw in a Bay Area store, included installations that are potentially unsafe and illegal. We found this out when we were halfway into the intallation and after the City of Berkeley had approved our plans. The only hint of a potential problem was one line in the 30+ pages of installation information. In the end, based on advice from a contracting engineer (my dad), we rebuilt part of the wall with metal studs and fireproof sheetrock, This was a total pain; nevertheless, we love the fireplace!
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