When we woke up in the morning after we had our first fire in our fireplace, we realized there was a little soot on the ceiling above the fireplace. Which also kind of explains the big smoke stain on the brick (you can see in this before photo of the living room). Alex did a little more research and found out that the hearth opening to our fireplace was too large in comparision to the opening on our chimney. The dynamics of home airflow get a little confusing from here, but basically we needed to make the hearth opening smaller so that the smoke would have time to travel up the chimney (instead of into our living room).
So we took a trip to Woodland Stove and Fireplace to see if they had a Smoke Guard we could install. Here is a link to what a Smoke Guard looks like, it's basically a steel beam that goes across the top of the fireplace that makes the opening smaller. Woodland didn't have a Smoke Guard in stock, but said they could order one for around $100, but we wouldn't get it in time for Thanksgiving. The gentlemen working there were really nice, and even taught us more about airflow and how our nearly 90 year old chimney system works. They also planted the idea that we could likely make a Smoke Guard ourselves... DIY Project?!?! We love them!
Alex went to the ol' Home Depot and got what we needed to make the Smoke Guard. Here is Alex with the 2 pieces of steel construction joists. These joists will be sandwiched together to make the Guard.
After taking measurements, Alex retreated to his 'Gentlemen's Cellar' (did you hear? Man caves are out, Gentleman's Cellars are the new thing) in the basement to cut the steel. Just an FYI, our basement is unfinished, Alex uses the large room with our boiler as his sort of Gentlemen's Cellar/ workroom.
Alex had to cut the steel using a hack saw and some heavy duty metal snips.
Alex took the 2 halves and pressed one inside the other to make the Smoke Guard more rigid.
Alex used Rutland High Heat Silicone and guide screws to secure the 2 halves together. Then used the black High Heat paint for a fancy finished look.
After he applied the silicone, he used a work clamp to tightly press the 2 halves together to allow for drying.
After drying, Alex applied the High Heat paint (because we didn't want a chrome Smoke Guard in our living room).
He used Loctite Adhesive and the High Temperature Silicone to seal and adhere the Smoke Guard against the brick.
Then it was time to install the Smoke Guard!
He used a rubber mallet to wedge the steel smoke guard into place.
He used the Silicone again to seal all the gaps around the front and back of the DIY Smoke Guard- this is a must so no air/smoke can flow through.
Here is what the fireplace looked like before. We featured the fireplace damper control in the last blog, but you can tell the difference in the 2nd photo with the Smoke Guard.