Is Parging A Fireplace Necessary?

fireplace parging

Parging a fireplace is the process of creating a new firebrick or tile on top of an old one, creating more living space. It can also be used to protect the inside of your fireplace from potential damage. To parge, place bricks or tiles in front of the opening and set them off to each side using mortar or by hand. The height can vary depending on what you are trying to accomplish and how much work it will take.

Why do I need to parge my fireplace?

Different fireplaces have different needs. If it is cracked beyond repair and there is a hole in the back, you may need to mortar it up with parge. A tile or brick will expand when fired, so if your were to put fire to that area again you would find a large hole left behind from the change of heat and pressure. The mortar will fill in any cracks and help prevent further damage from happening.

How much work to I need to do?  

It depends. If you are doing this as a last resort, it will take some time to complete. It depends on the kind of bricks or tiles you have, the size of the opening and how far it is from the other masonry. It also all depends on what is needed and how severe the damage is in each case.

How do I know if I need parge?

It depends. For example, a tile in front of an old fireplace will expand when fired and can crack the bricks, especially if you are using bricks in areas where the temperature is high or there has been some expansion. A brick may also break or crack up from time to time. So look to see if there is damage or wear and tear from firing in spots that you need to protect and what other options you have.

How do I parge?  

Place the brick or tile on top of your old brick and mortar it using a tapping motion or by hand. The mortar should be dry before you place the brick on top or it will just fall in. You can also fire into the fireplace prior to fireplace parging which will help prevent any damage. Do not fire too hot when doing this as you do not want to crack the bricks underneath.

Why don’t I parge a fireplace every time I fire?

If you fire often and have a damaged fireplace in some areas, you are going to have problems. Putting bricks or tiles on top of old ones will give you more room, but it also leaves holes behind. If your hearth isn’t up to code and is too small, parging can save your life.