How to Close Up an Unused Fireplace – Step by Step Guide and Top Tips

Are you wondering how to close up an unused fireplace? Most of us have houses with fireplaces. Quite a number use them regularly while others have never bothered going near them, and are almost wondering aloud what they should do about them. However, before doing anything to the chimney and fireplace, every bit of information for this kind of task must be available. 

How to Close Up an Unused Fireplace

Learn how to close up an unused fireplace with our top tips below.

If this is the case, then there is no cause for worry as there are very many ways that you can close it up. Since a fireplace is also a very important component of the house, Apart from adding beauty, it is also used for providing heat for the house during the cold season or chilly evenings. What’s more, a fireplace should also be well maintained. However, the task of maintaining it could be more than you can handle or the rework on the house has rendered your fireplace obsolete.

Many people always find themselves in a dilemma about a fireplace that has fallen into disuse. What do you do with it? The initial thing to do is to get out everything from it, then proceed to clean it thoroughly, before covering it up with something solid. It could be a board or tile for that matter. You will most likely cover the top permanently to block any dirt or blast of cold air from seeping through unawares. The following great tips can help you with some of the best ways for closing up a fireplace that is no longer in use.

Time Frame

Before determining how to go about your chimney, there is a need for you to ascertain how you will handle it. If you will close it temporarily or permanently for good.

Get the Chimney Bottom Insulated

After capping the chimney top, the next step is to look for a way of insulating its bottom. However, it all depends on what you want. Whether to insulate it on a permanent or temporary basis. When it comes to the former, do use an inflatable plug, which in this case is done internally on the flue. Afterward, they are inflated to prevent any air from going in or leaving.

If you want it permanently insulated, then you will use an insulation foam plug, putting it at the chimney bottom then plastering it to seal it permanently. 

Book Shelf

Your bookshelf might be getting full this time, thus, you might not know where to store the extra books. Look no further as your fireplace can be converted with much ease into a bookshelf where you can put forth your extra collection. The books can be arranged neatly by stacking or you can construct a small shelf. 

Decorative Purposes

One of the best ways for closing up any fireplace that has fallen into disuse is by decoration. Using neat piles of logs. It will always give an impression of lighting the fire. You can arrange the pieces of logs randomly and horizontally. 

If you want the room to look more appealing, arrange extra pieces on either side of your already stacked pile. Throw in some extra basketful of bundles of chopped firewood. Moreover, it is also possible to use decorative items such as sculptors, candles, or figurines will cover your unused chimney just fine.

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Suppose the fireplace is in the children’s bedroom, you can paint it with their favorite colors and put some additional toys, which they love to make it look cute. 

Using a Sealer for your Fireplace

This sealer could be a balloon chimney, and comes in a variety of sizes, and is dependent upon what is known as a flue.

You could also go use the rectangular shaped balloon, which works by pressing itself on a damper. Covers for chimneys come in different sizes and names. They include. Fireplace or chimney pillows, fireplace or flue blocker, stopper for the draft, and plug for the fireplace. 

Pillows are very important in reducing any external noise that may come through the chimney, pillows may also prevent any droppings or debris especially birds, which would have nestled inside from falling off into your house. Another way is using a decorative cover that has been fitted at its mouth. It works best for those people who would want to continue using the fireplace but do not feel inclined to uninstall.

Displaying Seasonal Items

You can turn your unused fireplace into a perfect display for displaying different decorations when celebrating some of the most important events in your life.

Display Mirror

Many at times, you might not feel like cleaning your fireplace regularly even though you no longer use it. This whole process could be tiring. Instead of lamenting, you can get creative by strategically putting a mirror at the opening, just for aesthetic value. 

How to Cap off Your Chimney with an Airbrick

The main purpose of an airbrick when closing off your chimney is to allow proper air circulation between that particular room and the chimney from the top, through channels such as flue. Airbricks will also prevent any moisture to accumulate, and around the areas of deposits hence, making them damp.

Another way is covering it using a cowl that has been ventilated. It allows for sufficient circulation of air. When you want to insert the frames, and would like to lay down your bricks, and all you have is a sizeable fireplace then you will only need to use about two of them. They are then fixed together with the frames overlooking either the door or it could be a window inbuilt through using the bricks. 

The two are later enjoined and are then screwed together internally. 

Laying down the Bricks   

When in the process of laying down the bricks inside, then set it off about half inches from the plastered area. Nonetheless, for the best possible outcome, let the air brick protrude a bit from the plastered areas. 

A leveler is most important and will ensure the whole process is sufficient enough and that it is also standard. Furthermore, place the airbrick right in the center. It should be in a lower position not be obstructed by any skirting.  

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Applying Render on the Already Bricked Fireplace

The next crucial step after the brickwork is to rake its joints a couple of millimeters. This gives ample opportunity to apply the render. Thereby, becoming very strong in the process and being able to carry its whole weight. 

Any rendering process will involve the evenly spreading of both sand mixture and some cement on both the chimney and fireplace bricks, using the trowels normally used for plastering. Alternatively, you could also render using the trowels for laying down bricks as well. Do not also forget to apply a leveler to ensure everything is in its rightful position. If you come across any depressions, then what you do is to add a little bit of render until it becomes evenly spread.

Smoothening the Surface that has Been Rendered

Continue smoothening the already rendered platform until it smoothens out, then use afloat, which is either made of wood or plastic. Give the render ample time to harden out before starting the smoothening process. To ensure that the process is ready, the moment you move the float around the rendered surface, it does not peel off, and every pinhole ends up filling up with all that has been left behind by the rendering process.  

Continue rubbing it steadily with a little bit of firmness in a move that is circular, while gently applying pressure for the smoothest surface. Generally, this should take about 3 millimeters below the level of the plastered area. Proceed to gently rub the new surface like before. And for such a task, a nail would be better suited, as it gives a better finish for applying skim. Another simple term used for plastering.

Applying Plastering Techniques and Some Finishing Touches on the Closed Fireplace 

When in the process of purchasing skim, do not ever worry about the one that is most suited for your task. The majority of dealers can always advise you accordingly. Therefore, when plastering the fireplace, always remember to mix the skim until it becomes creamy. Then go ahead and plaster with the help of a trowel specifically meant for plastering.

After completing the plastering process, let it dry for a few minutes then smoothen it with the trowel again. This should be done in the shortest time possible.  This is just to erase any marks from the rendering process when you wait for the plaster to harden. Since the whole process is very delicate, you must dedicate ample time to ensure that the whole process runs smoothly and is completed in time.  

After the process has been completed, you can put now put skirting boards in their rightful place. The air brick will also be covered using a grill. They come in many forms of plastic models or brass design. Besides, there is always an option for screwing or gluing them. And at this point, you will put a cap on top of your flue. 

Steps on Blocking a Fireplace    

Start by measuring its mouth then calculate the number of bricks needed for the task at hand. 

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Use a ventilation cover or any other related material to seal off the chimney. Thirdly stack up the bricks at the mouth. The next step is to fix the airbrick in a low position so as not to be obstructed by anything. Besides, the air-brick should protrude externally and slightly. It should also be on the same line with other surfaces on both sides. 

Tie in the bricks on other surfaces using frame cramps. After the new bricks have dried, you can now apply to render on the surface and make sure that it is lower than the flush face of other surfaces. This will create more space for plastering.

After the render has completely dried up, and for you to get the desired outcome, you can now apply to skim as a finisher and to create a surface, which is breathtakingly smooth.

Install a Door and Make it a Store

If you are finding so cumbersome to clean the fireplace now and then, you can install one of those decorative or sliding doors at the opening of the fireplace. It can even act as a place for storing some of your things.

Clean out Sealing Method

You may find that some chimneys can be cleaned externally from the house. Others can be done internally through the basement in the home. If you are to do it externally, then you will have to loosen the cap used for cleaning out the chimney. This allows excess moisture to seep through and go out.

On the other hand, you might want to insulate any corresponding horizontal barrier, with the help of a vapor, which is a line internally. It makes your house not to lose any further air. In case you are doing the cleaning down in the basement, then you should tape before completely sealing the areas being cleaned to prevent further circulation of air from either going in or coming out.

That’s it on How to Close Up an Unused Fireplace

A caulk of beaded butyl rubber can also be used to seal off all three sides of the chimney from the top. Thereafter, cover it with a metal piece, so that together with the butyl rubber are in the same position. Gently press the metal until it completely goes inside of the caulk bead. The main reason for this is because is to make sure that no rainwater leaks inside.

However, the sealing should not be so airtight as to prevent moisture in the house from escaping into the atmosphere, which might lead to serious decay. After replacing the cap for the chimney, it is now time to close your fireplace damper permanently. Now that everything has been completed, you can rest easy as your problem has been solved.

There are also many fireplace alternatives. An ethanol burner has been designed to facilitate the easy transition of existing traditional fireplaces into clean-burning bio ethanol fireplace. Simply insert, ignite and enjoy.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to how to close up an unused fireplace!

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