Stoking up a good fire in your fireplace so that you can keep your house warm has a certain enchantment. Whether you use it to take some peaceful time off on a chilly winter evening or go all out and snuggle up with a good book, a hot beverage, and your loved ones, your fireplace helps make your home feel more, well, homely. 

A particular feeling unlike any other is the warmth of a crackling fire. This makes the fireplace an important part of any home’s heating system, requiring regular upkeep. But, how often do you get this significant aspect of your home inspected, whether it’s inside the house or an outdoor fireplace? How do you determine when your fireplace needs urgent repairs, rebuilding, or replacement? Look out for these important signs that can help you determine these factors:

Cracked Mortar Joints

Stone and brick fire pits frequently require mortar repair. Since stone and bricks are porous, they absorb excess moisture, causing the material to deteriorate over time. Cracks start to appear in the fireplace, usually at the corners or the joints. Also, when creosote, commonly referred to as a wood preservative, is mixed with water, it can permeate the surface and rust metal fireboxes. 

brick fireplace


Spalling Bricks

When bricks absorb water, spalling develops. When a low-grade or sub-par quality mortar is employed (with an inadequate rate of compression), the natural expansion of the bricks isn’t absorbed. In certain other situations, you may leak into the fireplace. 

In any case, the bricks may begin to flake and peel, affecting the surface. Spalling will cause the brick to crumble if not fixed and may require the help of masonry services.

Chimney Fire

A chimney fire occurs when flames ignite within the chimney rather than the fireplace hearth. When you notice something like this, it’s a sign that your fireplace needs to be restored, replaced, or completely rebuilt. Wait until your fireplace has been fixed before using it. If you continue to use it, it is harmful and can cause property damage. 

Professional fireplace services can repair or rebuild brick liners, allowing them to sustain the same amount of heat as they did before. They can also assist in determining what caused the chimney fire and ensuring that the restoration prevents it from happening again. 

Rusted Damper

When your fireplace damper begins to rust, it usually indicates too much moisture in the room. If it frequently gets stuck, is difficult to operate, or fails to close properly, the flue liner may be broken. This could be dangerous, so make sure to have it routinely checked by a reputable fireplace expert.

Damaged Chimney Crown

The chimney crown is the concrete casing that sits atop the chimney. When this is destroyed, your fireplace’s first line of protection against the elements—such as snow or rain—is compromised. Water seeps through a cracked crown and into the liner and chimney, causing severe damage if not repaired quickly. 

House Gets Smoky

When you light up a log in your fireplace, you want the area to be filled with warmth rather than smoke. This not only contaminates everything in the house, but it also has a detrimental effect on people’s health. When you use your fireplace, your home may get smoky due to various factors, including the inaccurately sized flue.

White Stains

Have you observed that your fireplace’s brickwork appears to be covered in chalk or a flour-like substance? This white residue indicates that moisture is present within the bricks, driving the salt out of the masonry. When you see white discoloration on your fireplace, you should seek repair or rebuilding services.

Things To Look Out For

  • Check for masonry damage: loose mortar joints or masonry cracks are two things you might want to look out for. Examine the backing, walls, and base of the firebox for spalling and deteriorated mortar. 
  • Test your damper: Your damper should be simple to open and close. A jammed or difficult to open and close damper could indicate rust which indicated dampness.
  • Look for water damage: Examining your fireplace for moisture or water damage is crucial for keeping it in good working order. Even if you can’t see any water, you may hear it dripping. A musty odor coming from your fireplace is a symptom of mold or mildew and, as a result, undesirable moisture. 


Maintaining a fireplace after an undesirable situation can be a hassle. Stone Solutions Maine offers the solution to your fireplace problems. They offer various masonry services, gardening,  landscaping, and can also help you set up outdoor fire pits. Get in touch with them today!