The sides and back wall of a typical wood-burning Fireplace Mantel are constructed using fire bricks and mortar. Over time, excessive heat can adversely affect cement mortar, causing the joints to crack or flake. If you notice bits of mortar on the floor of a Fireplace Mantel, caulk the cracks using a silicate-based refractory cement caulking that resists heat. Preparation is the key to effectively caulking the cracks in a Fireplace Mantel.
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1.Put on work gloves, a dust mask and safety glasses. Protect the hearth and adjacent flooring or carpet, using a drop cloth. Open the Fireplace Mantel screen fully and remove the log grate from the Fireplace Mantel.
2.Remove ashes and debris from the floor of the Fireplace Mantel, using a wet-dry vacuum. Remove soot from the mortar joints at the sides and back walls of the Fireplace Mantel, using a stiff-bristle brush.
3.Inspect the vertical and horizontal mortar joints for cracks or flaking. Remove loose mortar at these areas, using a 3-inch cold chisel and hammer. Use the brush to remove any residual mortar from the areas of repair. Clean up the debris with the vacuum.
4.Set up a caulking gun with a tube of silicate-based refractory cement caulking. Cut off the tip of the tube to make a 1/8-inch opening, using a utility knife.
5.Caulk the prepared areas in the mortar. For the best results, use a continuous motion as you draw the tip of the tube along a crack. You may need to use multiple layers for wider cracks. Allow the caulking to dry before using the Fireplace Mantel.
Install mortar at joints where existing mortar is missing or flaked out when preparing a crack for caulking. Mix the mortar to a medium consistency, similar to pudding, and install it using a grout bag. Allow it to fully cure before caulking the joint.
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