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A brickwork or stonework fireplace is not just a beautiful focal point of a room, but also a classic element that deserves attention year-round. While you may not use it during the summer months, maintaining it through this warmer period ensures that it will work smoothly and efficiently in the winter. Here are three maintenance tasks to keep in mind for summer.

How to Maintain Your Fireplace During Summer

1. Clean It Carefully

If you haven’t already, now is an excellent time to clean the fireplace carefully. Doing so is vital because you need to make sure the chimney box is free of soot and built-up debris that could otherwise hinder performance in the winter. Never use any type of flammable solution to clean stone or brick, however, as it can be difficult to remove completely. Similarly, bleach can cause the stonework and brickwork to fade over time. Use a mild solution that is brick- or stone-safe, then dilute it with water. If it streaks, you can add more water. Wipe down the entirety of the structure, ensuring that your fireplace is completely off and cool before starting.

2. Repair Imperfections

Brick and stone are vulnerable to developing imperfections over time. Small cracks can harm the long-term integrity of the fireplace, so it’s important to repair those types of damages before you next use the structure. Since performing masonry repairs can be a messy and complicated job, you’ll want to leave the task to a professional who has the specialty hand tools necessary to complete it. They may also have access to replacement bricks or stones that the average homeowner may not have.

3. Check for Leaks

Bricks and stones are vulnerable to moisture damage, particularly if the materials are older. That can contribute to weakened integrity, especially if the chimney cap is damaged and moisture has seeped inside unbeknownst to you. Rainwater can penetrate the mortar, freeze when it’s cold outside, then cause the masonry to crack. Leaks and freezing temperatures become problematic in the winter, so it’s important to take steps to prevent future moisture intrusion. The cap may require repair or replacement, for example, and your chimney building and repair technician can also check the flashing for cracks. Waterproofing can protect the long-term integrity of the fireplace.

As always, be sure to contact your local masonry experts for chimney repairs, fireplace repairs, tuckpointing, waterproofing and stone work of all kinds! Call Oberer Construction Company today at (513) 829-5270.

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