Custom Masonry and Fireplace Design San Diego

Custom Masonry, Chimneys, and Fireplaces
Craftsman Style Home
 Fireplace and Chimney Restoration

                                     Relining your chimney

Is Your Chimney Safe? ~Article by Paul Walker

Most older chimneys in the Craftsman Era of San Diego, primarily to the end of the 1940s, were built without a proper flue lining.

What does this mean?
Well, in modern construction, new masonry chimneys need to keep a minimum clearance of two inches away from the house. This ensures that there is a two inch gap between the chimney and the house .We would then have four inches of solid masonry, some masonry fill and a properly designed flue, which is around an inch and an eighth thick. This gives us around six inches of masonry plus two inches of clearance from the flame to anything combustible.

In contrast, the older chimneys were typically constructed of a red sandstone brick ,that was built touching the house wooden siding or studs. Furthermore, over the years, the masonry joints between the bricks have eroded, typically because the chimneys having not had spark arresters on them for many years and the creosote creating corrosive acids that eat away at the masonry. Or the bricks may have settled or cracked creating gaps. This potentially allows the combustion gases to begin pyrolyzing the timber and could eventually lead to a fire . Also if there is excessive creosote build up, there may be a chimney fire and any voids could also possibly lead to this fire spreading to your property.

How Do I know If my chimney is safe?  > Diagnosing Chimney Problems
If your fireplace has no damper, this is typically a sure sign of no flue lining!

If you look up inside the chimney and all that you see is Red brickwork, or you look down it and see the same, then this is considered unlined. This can be a very dangerous situation and the chimney should not be used until it is inspected by a chimney profesional and deemed if it is safe to use. I have had clients tell me that the fireplace has functioned this way for many years without any problems. I like to use the analogy of driving a car built pre forties and imagining that this car would be as reliable and safe as a modern car. Also, that without any maintenance, that this car would be safe to drive at all!

The Cure - Relining your chimney 
After inspecting the chimney to ensure that the chimney is a good candidate for the type of repairs needed, we will come to your home and typically in one day:
  • Remove the old firebox
  • Plaster the smoke chamber with refractory mortar
  • Drop a new stainless steel liner from the top down, seal it in place and fill any voids around the new flue with insulation
  • Build a new solid concrete crown on the top of the chimney to stop moisture entering the system.
  • On top of the crown we will place a spark arrester and a top mounted damper.This will allow you to seal the fireplace when it is not in use, saving energy loss form other heat sources.

Upon arrival to your home, we place plastic, carpet and plywood on the floors to protect them from damage.We will also typically build plastic tents to the nearest doorway to help prevent the dust travelling throughout the entire house. Upon completion, all debris is removed and the job site will be left clean and tidy.
You would not know we had even been there except for the fact that you now have a safe, reliable, functioning fireplace.

I personally perform the work, so you know the expert is performing the job and you are in safe hands.

> Email us now to set up an appointment

 Or call Paul Walker on 619 884 6492
to set up an appointment time .


San Diego Masonry Contractor: Paul Walker
Trained in England, he has 24 years of experience in masonry construction. The first five years were in and around London, where he served working with tradesmen who passed down their skills and knowledge acquired from previous generations.

Paul has been building fireplaces in San Diego since 1992 and is a recognized expert in fireplace refacing, fireplace repair, and relining chimneys to prevent fire hazards.  

He is trained in all areas of masonry construction focusing mainly on the comprehensive aspects of  fireplace and chimney construction, including outdoor cooking ovens and barbeques using real stone stonework, True stone, Rox Pro rock, Eldorado and Cultured stone.

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"We take pride in our work and guarantee quality craftsmanship."

- Paul Walker

  • New construction masonry fireplaces
  • Chimney inspections
  • Acquire permits from city
  • Reline existing chimneys
  • Reface with brick, tile, veneer stone, precast mantles
  • Repair existing chimneys, crowns
  • New dampers, Spark arresters, Heat shields
  • Custom Masonry Barbeques
  • Expert Masonry brickwork, wainscots, piers
  • Eldorado and cultured stone specialist Truestone,Rox Pro rock
  • >Masonry cooking ovens
    (Pizza Ovens)

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Licensed C29 Masonry Contractor # 851233

Liability Insurance $2 million/$1 million per occurance
Member Golden State Chimney Sweep Guild California
licensed C29 masonry contractor # 851233
Liability Insurance $2 million/$1 million per occurance
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