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How to Wall Mount a Fireback

Georgian Shell Fireback by Pennsylvania Firebacks

Traditionally used in the back of fireplaces to radiate heat out into the room, cast iron firebacks are increasingly popular as wall decorations.   While used both indoors and out, kitchens, especially over the range, are a probably the most popular place to mount a fireback.  They make a stunning focal point on a backsplash.

Cast of iron with both modern and traditional patterns and designs featuring everything from animals to plants to coats of arms to flags, firebacks come in arched topped, square, and rectangular shapes.

Antique ones are available, but replicas created with original molds have all the charm of the antiques at a more reasonable price.  To appeal to current aesthetics, firebacks with less complex designs have been developed in recent years.

Whether you have plaster, drywall, brick, stone, or tiled walls, you can mount a cast Iron fireback on the wall.  Although they can be attached to the wall during new construction or remodeling, they can also be mounted within existing homes.  However, due to their substantial weight (even small ones can start at 45 pounds), they require special mounting considerations.

TIPS

  • To support their weight, always attach to wall studs or framing on drywall.
  • Use appropriate molly bolts or screws for the type of wall to which you will be attaching the mounting hardware.  As an example, for a masonry wall, use Tapcon screws.

Below are five possible ways to attach, fasten or mount a fireback to a wall or as a kitchen backsplash.

Mount a Fireback with Wall Brackets

Attach Firebacks with Wall BracketsMounting the fireback with wall J brackets has the advantage that it can even be used with brick or stone walls.  The disadvantage, that the brackets are visible, can be mitigated by having a local blacksmith custom craft ones to work with your room’s style or by painting them to match the fireback.

 

Recess Mounting for Firebacks

Use Cast Iron Rated Construction Adhesive to Mount FirebacksIf you want one recessed, between the studs nail a sturdy board at least the length and width of the fireback.   Use PL Premium Construction Adhesive (or a similar product rated for cast iron and your weight load) to attach the fireback to the sturdy board.  Then the tiles or other decorative surrounds can be added.

Unfortunately, this mounting method is not appropriate for very heavy firebacks.

Mount a Fireback with Angle Iron and Construction Adhesive

Use Angle Iron and Construction Adhesive to Mount FirebacksCut an angle iron to match the width of your fireback.  Molly bolt or screw the angle iron to the studs or framing.  Then, positioning the fireback on the angle iron, use PL Premium Construction Adhesive to affix it to the wall.  The angle iron will help support and distribute the weight.

Mount a Fireback with Heavy-Duty Mirror Hangers

how to fasten fireback to wallHangman Heavy-Duty Mirror and Picture Hangers will hold up to 300 pounds. One of the mounting pieces affixes to the back of the fireback and the other to the wall. A removable bubble level is included so you can mount a fireback level instead of off kilter.

 

Float Mounting

Universal Z-Bar Heavy Duty Hanging HardwareUniversal Z-Bar picture hanging hardware is designed to support heavy metal art and will float the cast iron work of art up to an inch off the wall for more depth.  It has a Z bracket that attaches to the wall and a U bracket that attaches to the back of the fireback.  The U bracket then interlocks into the Z bracket.

 

 

 

 

Consult with your builder for the best mounting option given your particular setting, fireback, and preferences.

Posted in Decorating Tagged with:

How Chimney Fans Work

How chimney fans work

Chimney fans work by employing mechanical venting to overcome fireplace and chimney gravity drafting deficits. When they are turned on, chimney fans, attached atop the chimneys, create a partial vacuum in chimneys . Exhaust gases from the wood or gas fireplace rush into that vacuum and flow up the chimney and out the sides of the vents in the fan.

Difference Between Gravity Venting and Mechanical Venting

Open-fired hearing appliances like fireplaces can be vented by gravity venting or mechanical venting.

Gravity venting is also called natural venting. To create a draft, gravity venting uses the difference in gravity of cold vs. warm air. The disadvantages of gravity venting alone is that it is very sensitive to indoor and outdoor temperatures, barometric pressure, wind, and airflow obstructions within and around the chimney and house.

Mechanical venting uses a fan or blower in-line or at the termination point to create a proper draft. The mechanical venting can overcome any problems of gravity venting and can adapt to changing conditions such as exterior winds or temperatures. An Exhausto – Enervex chimney fan is a powerful type of mechanical venting.

How Chimney Fans Work

 how chimney fans work - Enervex chimney fan parts

A chimney fan is installed on the top of the chimney, over the flue. It is wired to the home’s 110 volt electrical system and managed by use of a variable speed control that is like a dimmer switch. The switch is normally installed close to the fireplace so its operator and see the results of the adjustments he or she makes. When the fan is turned on, it lowers the air pressure in the chimney, creating a partial vacuum. The exhaust gases rush into the vacuum and flow out of the vents in the sides of the fan.

The homeowner can regulate the ‘pull’ of the fan by adjusting the variable speed control switch. This clever feature allows one to make the flames burn higher or lower, at will, by regulating the speed of the fan.

The chimney fan, by the way, also serves as a chimney cap, keeping rain and snow out of the chimney. The screen sides prevent critters such as birds, squirrels, and raccoons from entering your home via the chimney and fireplace.

Due to the wiring required, we recommend chimney fans be installed by a licensed electrician.

What Fireplaces Are Compatible with Chimney Fans

Now that you know how chimney fans work, is your particular fireplace and chimney compatible with the use of a chimney fan?

Chimney fans will work on the following types of fireplaces and chimneys:

  • Wood-fired fireplaces with single or multiple flue;
  • Gas-fired fireplaces with single or multiple flues or with dampers;
  • Wood stoves and fireplace inserts;
  • Single or multiple-sided fireplaces;
  • Outdoor fireplaces; and
  • Pizza ovens.

 

Enervex Chimney Fans are Guaranteed to Work!

Enervex Chimney Fans come with a six-month money-back guarantee. If one does not solve your chimney draft problem, you can return it within six months and receive a complete refund. In addition, the Enervex Chimney Fans have a ten-year warranty against corrosion and a two-year warranty against defects in workmanship and materials.

Posted in Using Your Fireplace Tagged with:

Hide Fireplace TV for Christmas

Hide fireplace TV for Christmas or incorporate existing mirrors or art work.

What to do with the television above the fireplace, or other existing wall decorations, when you decorate for Christmas.

You’ve put a good deal of thought into the selection and placement of your wide-screen TV, mirror or other artwork over the fireplace mantel. As Christmas approaches, you don’t really want to have to take it down to have a holiday-inspired mantel. Instead, here’s how to camouflage or transform existing above-the-fireplace televisions, mirrors and artwork to incorporate them into your Christmas decorating scheme. Add a layer instead of removing the existing TV, mirror or wall art above the mantel.

How to Hide Fireplace TV for Christmas Decorating

You have two options here: camouflage the TV so it becomes part of your Christmas decor and becomes unusable for the holidays or (more popular) camouflage the TV only when it is not in use.

For the first option, cover the over-the mantel television in Christmas wrapping paper and add ribbons and a bow. Cluster other wrapped gifts and Christmas balls on the mantel, and your holiday fireplace is ready for everything except watching TV.

Hide TV for Christmas with gift wrap and bow.

Hide TV for Christmas. Photo credit foodlaughterandhappilyeverafter

 

The second option is to hide fireplace TV for Christmas as a gift wrapped present, but in a way that allows you to “unwrap” it for television viewing.  Add Velcro to the back edges of the TV and to the ends of a large piece of burlap or other holiday themed fabric. Staple or sew the ribbon and bow onto the fabric. To hide fireplace TV for Christmas, cover the television with the fabric, attaching it with the Velcro.

Hide fireplace TV for Christmas with a removable Christmas wrap.

Hide fireplace TV for Christmas with a removable Christmas wrap. Photo credit Sand & Sisal.

 

When it’s time to watch TV, simply un-Velcro one side of the fabric and roll it. (That makes it easier to reattach than completely removing it from the television altogether.)

How to hide fireplace TV for Christmas but still watch it

Unwrap for television viewing. Photo credit Sand & Sisal.

 

How to Incorporate Existing Fireplace Mirrors into Christmas Decorating

Removable vinyl decals with Christmas quotes and designs are sure to match your holiday spirit and your existing home decor. Use one of these quotes on your existing fireplace mirror.

Select a quote that speaks to you, in a font style that enhances the look you are going for, and in a color that respects the mirror’s frame as well as your holiday decorating colors.

 

Vinyl Christmas decal on existing fireplace mirror.

Joy to the World decal on fireplace mirror. Photo credit antsi-pants.

Note how the red echos the red in the lanterns and candles.

Repurpose existing fireplace mirror for Christmas decorating

Re-purpose existing mantel mirror with removable vinyl Christmas decal. Photo credit makeit-loveit.

Th black lettering matches the mirror frame.

 

A more traditional way to incorporate an existing mantel mirror is simply to add a wreath to it.

Wreath on fireplace mantel mirror

Traditional wreath on existing fireplace mirror turns it into Christmas decor. Photo credit homegoods.

 

 Deck out Existing Fireplace Wall Art for Christmas

Sometimes the easiest way to transform existing fireplace wall art for Christmas it to add hanging individual letters that spell out a short holiday word such as JOY, NOEL, or JOLLY. The example below uses a tryptych or three-panel work.

Three letters transform existing fireplace wall art into holiday decor.

Three letters transform existing fireplace wall art into holiday decor. Photo credit pinterest.

 

Another option is to wrap the existing fireplace art work as a present, just as the televisions at the top of this post are gift wrapped.

 

There is no need to remove the wide screen television from above the fireplace or take down the existing fireplace mirror or wall art to get the fireplace decorated for Christmas. Add a holiday inspired layer – whether gift wrap, wreath, hanging letters or removable Christmas vinyl decals – instead.

Posted in Decorating, Holidays Tagged with:

How to Clean Slate Fireplace

Slate-Hearth

Want a clean slate fireplace hearth or fireplace surround? Here are the instructions you need for routine slate cleaning, deep cleaning, stain removal and polishing. Choose from either inexpensive home cleaning remedies or more expensive but powerful commercial slate cleaning products.

Natural slate is a durable product with an earthy, welcoming vibe. Because it is porous, however, it tends to absorb moisture and stains. And dust and dirt can accumulate, especially in the corners, and over time become difficult to remove.

Routine Cleaning of Slate Fireplace Hearths and Surrounds

  • Dust, sweep or vacuum the fireplace slate.
  • For routine cleaning, use a cloth to clean slate with a few drops of dish washing detergent or Spic and Span in a half bucket of water. Rinse with clean water; then wipe dry with another cloth. Allow to dry overnight before using additional cleaners or polishing.

Clean slate with soup and water for a routine cleaning

How to Deep Clean Slate

When the surface is thoroughly dried after a routine cleaning, try either of the cleaning processes recommended below:

Commercial products to clean slate

  •  Using a soft cloth, wipe the slate down with a thin layer of teak oil. With another clean cloth, remove any excess.

Clean slate with teak oil.

How to Remove Stains from Slate Hearths and Fireplace Surrounds

If the deep cleaning left any stains, try any of the procedures listed below to get stains off of slate:

  • One method of removing stains is to clean slate with a paste mix of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Wait until the bubbling ceases, then apply the paste to the stain. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then wipe off with a clean, moist cloth. Do not get this paste mixture on grout between slabs of slate.

clean slate stains with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda paste

  • If oil stains are the issue (popcorn and nachos by the hearth come to mind), a product specifically designed to remove such oil stains, such ad StoneTech Professional Oil Stain Remover, is recommended. Follow the directions exactly, and this product really does the job!How to remove oil stains from state
  • If soot and smoke stains are the primary problem, you can clean slate with Paint N Peel without using harsh chemicals.

Remove soot and smoke stains with Paint N Peel

  • For persistent stains that don’t respond to the hydrogen peroxide paste, scrub with Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) carefully following manufacturer’s directions.

clean slate with trisodium phosphate

How to Polish Slate

Some of the commercial slate cleaners include a polishing agent. And if you have used teak oil to clean slate, that often provides a sufficient gloss.

For a bit more gloss on your slate, we recommend Black Diamond Wet Look Natural Stone Sealer. Because slate is a porous stone, it will not leave the “wet” look advertised, but it will give a good sheen. It also seals it from future staining.
How to add sheen to clean slate

In the eighteenth century, slate hearths were polished with hot mutton fat. As a 21st century alternative, we recommend teak oil or furniture polish.

 

Posted in Fireplace and Chimney Maintenance Tagged with:
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