Need New Prefabricated Fireplace Refractory Panels? Our Professional Crew Can Help
If you have a prefabricated fireplace, then your firebox isn’t made up of firebrick walls like a traditional masonry system’s would be. But this isn’t something to worry about, as long as you have heat-resistant refractory panels installed.
These panels are known for being durable and effective at keeping your home safer when fires are lit. Unfortunately, though, that doesn’t mean they’re immune to damage. If your refractory panels are showing signs of wear, don’t wait to have an expert look things over.
Are you in the Hillsborough area? Be sure to reach out to the team here at Highpoint for any and all of your chimney and fireplace repair needs.
What Are Fireplace Refractory Panels?
Fireplace refractory panels are heat-resistant panels that line the walls of a prefabricated fireplace’s firebox. They are typically made of ceramic or other refractory materials, which can withstand high temperatures without cracking or breaking.
Why do I need fireplace refractory panels?
Quick answer – because flames could quickly spread to the rest of your home if these protective barriers aren’t in place. The main purpose of fireplace refractory panels is to protect the fireplace from heat damage and to help ensure safer operation, so your household doesn’t face increased risks.
Consider this – a fire in your fireplace can burn to temps of at least 450 degrees Fahrenheit. While fireplaces are enjoyable features of our homes, it’s always important to remember that you are burning a literal fire in your living space – and all proper precautions need to be in place to ensure everything is done safely.
In addition, refractory panels also help to reflect heat back into the room. This is a huge perk for those looking to get the most heat possible and save on energy bills.
How Do I Know if My Refractory Panels Need to Be Replaced?
Now, as with all of your fireplace’s parts and components, over time, your refractory panels can wear down or become damaged. By scheduling annual inspections, you can ensure issues are spotted promptly and addressed, long before any other parts of your home and chimney experience damage. But there are things you, as a homeowner, can be on the lookout for too.
- Cracks or gaps: Is there an obvious crack or gap in your panels? Then, stop using your fireplace and call in an expert to look things over. They can replace the panel, then help you figure out the cause of the damage, so it doesn’t happen again.
- Warping: Warping in your firebox typically is caused by an inability to handle the heat your fireplace is producing. It could be that you’ve experienced a chimney fire, or maybe your panels are built from a less-reliable material. Either way, getting a professional sweep’s eyes on the issue is a must.
- Discoloration: Like with warping, any sign of discoloration is also typically related to excessive heat exposure. In addition, it could mean your panels have faced some type of moisture-related damage. Or maybe they’re just old and can’t do their job anymore.. Let our techs take a look, and we’ll get to the bottom of it.
- Loose panels: Do your panels seem to be loose or look like they’re shifting? Oftentimes, this has to do with incorrect installation, but it can also mean they’ve faced some damage and need to be replaced.
If you notice any of these signs, do two things right away. First, stop lighting fires for the time being, so your home and family aren’t at risk. And second, call in our team of certified techs to look things over. We can inspect the issue, determine the cause, fix or replace your panels, then apply any preventive measures to avoid issues from recurring again down the line.
One thing is for certain – the sooner you call us in, the better. Best case scenario, only a minor repair is needed, but the longer you wait, the worse the issue is bound to get – and before you know it that damage will spread. Play it safe by getting us on the case right away.
What Can Cause Damage to My Refractory Panels?
Now, if your refractory panels have experienced damage, our sweeps are more than equipped to get them replaced and to ensure your firebox is in good condition. All that said, isn’t it better to simply avoid damages in the first place? We think so – which is why we’ve got the most common causes of refractory panel damage, so you know what to avoid.
- Heat exposure: So, obviously, your refractory panels can stand up to some pretty high temperatures, but if something like a chimney fire occurs, then they could face warping or deterioration. Do what you can to avoid creosote buildup, and make sure your system is getting regular professional inspections and sweepings.
- Old age: As with most things in life, age can take a toll on your refractory panels and trigger cracks and decay. Because of this, having them replaced before age can run them down is important for keeping the rest of your chimney and fireplace system in tip-top shape and free of damage.
- Moisture exposure: Like heat, moisture can also cause damage to refractory panels. It doesn’t matter what type of system you have – masonry, prefab, wood-fueled, gas-powered, etc. – water is not its friend. If your refractory panels face water damage, they could break down and leave your household vulnerable.
- Lack of maintenance: Regular inspections, cleanings, repairs, and maintenance from a professional can go a long way in keeping your entire system running stronger and more reliably for the long haul – refractory panels included.
- Improper installation: Incorrect installation will lead to inefficiency, dangerous hazards, and premature breakdowns, since poorly installed panels can shift or become loose. Fortunately, this is an easy issue to avoid – simply hire our crew from the very start.
- Outside Impact: If something heavy collides with your refractory panels, they could become loose or start cracking. Most often, this is due to the homeowner carelessly tossing in heavy wood logs. Your panels are durable, but they’re not indestructible, so always use your system with care and precaution.
Can I Replace Fireplace Refractory Panels Myself?
Like with many fireplace and home maintenance needs, this is technically a job you can attempt yourself. That said, would we recommend it? Not so much. Unless you have in-depth knowledge of chimney systems and know for sure that you can get the job done correctly, this is one task you should always leave to the pros.
- Incorrect installation can lead to hazards like home fires, gas leaks, and more.
- Incorrect installation can invite more damages over time – both to the panels and the rest of the chimney system.
- Incorrect installation can lead to inefficiency, which means less heat for your home and more overall energy waste.
- Incorrect installation can cost you more over time when you end up experiencing home damage, higher energy bills, and more.
- Incorrect installation can put those living in your home at risk and increase the risk of poor indoor air quality and health issues.
All in all, it’s a process that requires skill, knowledge, and proper equipment to get done just right, and since even a minor mistake can lead to some big issues, we wouldn’t advise taking any chances. Our techs would be happy to help you out – schedule with us today.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace Fireplace Refractory Panels?
We know this isn’t an answer homeowners like to hear when they have a question about cost, but… it all depends. It’s hard for us to give you a solid estimate for your refractory panel replacement services because prices can vary on a number of factors – and the last thing we want to do is give inaccurate pricing info.
What can affect your final bill?
- The panel type. There are different types of panels that are made from a range of different materials, all of which vary in price. Remember that more expensive models tend to last longer and offer better protection, though, which may be the more cost-effective option over time.
- The size of your fireplace. Obviously, a bigger fireplace is going to need bigger refractory panels. And if your panels require more material, the cost of the job is likely to go up.
- The labor involved. Labor costs vary based on who you hire and how accessible your fireplace is. Every company is going to offer different price points. Be advised, though, that if a price seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you want quality service, you’ll need to pay for quality care.
Also, it’s worth noting that some homeowners attempt to save money by tackling this job on their own. While this may save you some dollars on labor costs initially, it tends to be a more costly move as time goes on. If any part of the installation process was done incorrectly, you’ll end up experiencing damages or other hazards, all of which will need to be addressed by a professional – and will cost you some significant dollars.
You’ll also want to consider how a DIY attempt may affect your warranty. Oftentimes, these are only valid if a professional tech completes the installation job. Overall, usually trusting an expert from the start is the better – and more cost-effective – way to go.
Fireplace Refractory Panel FAQs
Our goal is to answer any and all of your questions about chimney and fireplace care, so you can use your system as safely as possible. Here are a few more common questions we get about refractory panels. Anything we’ve missed? Please reach out! We’d be happy to speak with you soon.
What should I look for when purchasing new fireplace refractory panels?
There are lots of things to consider when purchasing new refractory panels, such as what size is best for your firebox, what material they’re made from, how thick they are, the insulation rating, and more. We suggest consulting with our techs to ensure you get the right fit for your needs and setup. We can also get them properly installed, so you don’t experience issues or hazards later.
Can I paint my fireplace refractory panels?
No, this is not recommended. Painting the panels can inhibit them from properly doing their job, and chances are that the paint will peel and crack when exposed to the heat anyway. And if you’re looking to cover up damage or discoloration, this is definitely not the right call. Rather, give us a call, so we can assess the damage, then install new panels, as needed.
All that said, if you wanted to paint just to change the look of your fireplace, there are other safer options for getting that update you’re hoping for. For instance, a new fireplace surround or a new mantel can enhance and personalize the look of your space significantly.
Are there any safety concerns with fireplace refractory panels?
Only if they’re not taken care of. If your panels are damaged, incorrectly installed, or loose, they could put your home and system at risk if you continue lighting fires.
That said, having correctly installed refractory panels will make your system a lot safer for use than if they were missing altogether. So, just be sure to trust a tech that has your best interests in mind from the start – like one of the crew members here at Highpoint.
How long do fireplace refractory panels typically last?
Well, it can vary – based on what the panel is made of, how often your fireplace is used, whether or not damage has occurred, and if you invest in regular maintenance. Typically, though, they should last a couple of decades, if properly taken care of.
Give Our Techs a Holler
We’d love to have your back when it comes to anything chimney or fireplace. Our repair services are exhaustive, ensuring you’re totally covered from your firebox floor all the way up to your chimney cap. Customer service is our top priority, and we put in the time and effort to ensure we’re educated, certified, and up to date on all industry news – all so we can better serve you.
Call us at 908-864-4114 to get started, or you can book online with us today.