What Not to Burn in a Fire Pit Infographic

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You know what’s not safe to burn in your fireplace indoors, but with a fire pit outdoors, you can burn anything, right? Not so fast. Check out the infographic below to learn more.

What not to burn in your fire pit

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Many of the same safety rules that apply to indoor fireplaces also apply to outdoor fire pits. Because you’ll be standing around the fire, you will just just as susceptible to toxic fumes from plastics, treated wood, etc. Avoid burning newspapers and catalogs that have a lot of ink, especially colored ink. Treated wood, plywood, and painted wood will also give off noxious fumes when burned, so stick to regular firewood or untreated lumber.

Accelerants like gasoline are always dangerous. If you want to use something to get your outdoor fire started, using something slow-burning like charcoal lighter fluid, and add it before lighting the fire- never add accelerants to an already-burning fire. And of course, don’t use any accelerants with indoor fires. That’s just a recipe for disaster.

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What is a Summer Fireplace Screen?

Birds in Branches Summer Fireplace Screen

In the summer, you probably are not using your wood burning fireplace either for heat or for ambiance.

Without active fire, you really don’t need a mesh-screen fireplace screen to protect people, pets, or your floors from heat or sparks.

Some people choose to omit a mesh fireplace screen altogether during warm weather.  But let’s face it: a fireplace without logs and a screen, instead of being a worthy focal point of your room, is really just an empty hole.

That’s what summer fireplace screens are for!  They are like screen-mesh fireplace screens, only without the mesh.  They, therefore, provide all the architectural interest and visual appeal of an accessorized fireplace, but without the protective mesh.  Minus the mesh, they have a more open, lighter appearance, making them fitting for summer.

Summer Fireplace Screen

The iron and copper Filigree Fireplace Screen has a dramatic copper center medallion.

Another popular use of summer screens is with gas fireplaces.  Since they have glass panels, many people choose not to use mesh-fireplace screen.  But summer fireplace screens complete the look of a gas fireplace, giving it the visual charm of a wood-burning fireplace.  In addition, a summer screen offers more options for home decorating than the typical black-box gas fireplace.

Antique Copper Tuscany Summer Fireplace Screen

The Tuscany Fireplace Screen, which is available in custom sizes, in an outdoor finish, or even with mesh screen, is available in seven different, hand applied finishes.

Summer fireplace screens are available in single panel and three-panel styles.  They come in just about every imaginable style and metal finish from traditional black to warm copper and bronze to elegant gold.

Looking for additional options for adding eye-candy to and enjoying your fireplace in the summer?  Don’t forget to add a Fireplace Candelabra behind your summer fireplace screen to create the glow of fire without the heat.

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How to Fix a Leaking Chimney

chimney leak in rain

One of the most common maintenance issues with chimneys is leaking during rainy weather. Like all other parts of your home, your chimney will degrade over time due to damage from the sun, rain, and freeze-thaw cycles. Fixing a leaking chimney can range from a simple afternoon’s worth of DIY work to complex repairs. The extent of work required will depend most of the source of the leak.

Diagnosing the Leak: Starting at the Top

Custom Band-Around Chimney Cap

Chimney caps such as Band-Around Caps keep rain, birds, and other animals out of your chimney.

If water is coming down your flue (and making an annoying drip-drip noise), you may simply need a chimney cap to keep rain from falling down the chimney. A chimney cap is a metal covering with screen sides and a lid that fits over your flue or flues. The lid keeps rain from falling down the chimney, and the screen sides allow smoke to exit while preventing birds and other animals from getting into the chimney.

  • Prepare. To diagnose your leaking chimney, you’ll need to inspect it from the roof. Make sure you take all the necessary safety precautions when using the ladder and climbing on the roof. If you’re uncomfortable getting on top of your home, call a brick mason or roofer.
  • Inspect the crown. When on the roof, start your inspection at the top of the chimney. Look for cracks, missing pieces, and crumbling concrete on the crown, which is the concrete slab that forms the top of the chimney. Cracks less than 1/4-inch wide can be repaired with CrownCoat, and CrownSeal can repair larger cracks and even missing pieces of the crown. If the crown is so deteriorated that even CrownSeal can’t fix it, you’ll need to contact a brick mason about a replacement crown.

    chimney crown

    The chimney crown is the concrete pad that makes up the top of the chimney. Cracks often form over time that will need repair.

  • Inspect the brick and mortar. Start at the top row of bricks and work your way around and down, looking for cracks in bricks and mortar. Over time the mortar in particular will degrade and crack. Cracks 1/8-inch or less in width can be easily repaired with CrackMagik. For larger cracks, consult a brick mason as you may have structural issues with your chimney.
  • Inspect the flashing. Check around the base of the chimney where it meets the roof for dried up or missing caulking and rusted or out of place flashing. Many flashing repairs can be done with FlashSeal, a heavy duty fiberglass-based sealant that comes with a 7-year warranty. FlashSeal doesn’t require any difficult metal working or messy tar like typical flashing repairs.

    use flash seal to fix chimney flashing

    FlashSeal uses fiberglass and a durable sealant to fix chimney flashing with a 7-year warranty.

Once you’ve addressed all the cracks and flashing problems, consider installing an outside-mount chimney cap. An outside-mount slips over the top of your chimney like the lid of a shoebox, and the large lid overhang keeps water off the crown and sides of your chimney. By keeping water off the brick and mortar, you’ll prevent water damage, saving you from leaking chimneys in the future.

Posted in Fireplace and Chimney Maintenance

Crazy Redneck Fire Pits: An Infographic

crazy redneck fire pits

If you think the “think green” movement is a recent phenomenon in our society — think again. Please meet the American Redneck. For decades rednecks have practiced “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” only their version is “Recoup, Rig, Repurpose.” Nothing illustrates redneck recycling better than redneck fire pits.

Since most rednecks love nothing more than sitting outside after a long day relaxing with a beer next to the fire, fire pits are the perfect redneck yard accessory. And the redneck fire pits are as interesting as the rednecks themselves. You know you’re a redneck when your backyard barbecue is made from an abandoned shopping cart, an old tractor tire rim, barrel, or washing machine tub! Even Jeff Foxworthy would be proud to own any of the fire pits we have here.

Check out these 10 creative and crazy redneck fire pits.

crazy redneck fire pits

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Even a red neck fire pit needs protection from the elements when not in use, so recycle an old tarp or use a fabric fire pit cover.

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