Stone Fireplace Mantels- More Than Just A Shelf

Stone Fireplace Mantels- More Than Just A Shelf

Stone Fireplace Stone Fireplaces Stone Veneer

Perhaps the most important and necessary accessory associated with a home’s stone fireplace is the mantel. Nothing completes the fulfilling picture of a welcoming hearth more than that focal point that can be created by what is showcased on a mantel. While the family photographs and other personal items that grace this special shelf can tell the story of a home’s occupants, the way a mantel is constructed and the materials with which it is constructed can also speak volumes about a home, its occupants, and the homeowner’s personal sense of style and design.

In an effort to learn more about mantels, specifically handcrafted, wood mantels, North Star Stone recently spoke with Gerry

Gerry, in our Libertyville Stone Fireplace Showroom

Gerry, in our Libertyville Stone Fireplace Showroom

Hamm, owner of G.H. Woodworking and Sawmill, Inc. in Wauconda, IL. Self-taught, Gerry is a mantel expert as well as skilled carpenter and craftsman who we regularly recommend to North Star Stone customers seeking the perfect mantel to compliment the exquisite look of our highly customizable stone veneer products.  Gerry’s beautifully constructed mantels can be found in homes all over the Chicagoland area. 

Choices are many when it comes to selecting and or designing the perfect wood mantel. Personal tastes vary and fortunately there is a wood option out there for everybody. One may prefer the outdoorsy look of rugged, reclaimed timber while something more traditional and refined like Cherry or Alder is more in step with a home’s decor. When it comes to creating mantels for his clients, Gerry utilizes his 25 years of experience as well as his love for reclaimed materials such as repurposed wood. Gerry is also a fan of white oak (Quercus alba), which comes from the tree of the same name.  Indigenous to the United States, Gerry likes working with the white oak because of its versatility, beauty, and weather resistance. Never one for taking the easy road when it comes to constructing his one-of-a-kind pieces, Gerry finds that the more challenging a piece is to create, the more satisfying it is.

Check Out Some Of Our Stone Fireplace Mantel Options

 

White Oak Tree- Gerry's Favorite Type Of Wood For Fireplace Mantels

White Oak Tree- Gerry’s Favorite Type Of Wood For Fireplace Mantels

When it comes time to design or purchase the perfect mantel for your home Gerry has some practical advice to share. According to Gerry it is important to realize that the mantelpiece “is a focal point and should be in contrast to background – so it sticks out!” Fortunately, when paired with stone veneer, which allows for an abundance of color customization, it is easy to ensure your mantel stands out beautifully. Working with a designer can also ensure the mantel you select is unique to you and your home and not of the cookie-cutter variety. Additionally, even though a mantel can be as long as one wishes, Gerry explains that a typical mantel is between 60 and 66 inches in length. Widths can also vary depending on one’s needs. Gerry also suggests that if you plan on placing your television on or near a mantel to make sure that a “power source is available.”

Taking the time to find a quality, beautifully crafted fireplace mantel will not only help bring your own personal seasonal expressions to life but will also add charm and character to your home for the rest of the year as well. If you are interested in adding a custom mantel to your new stone veneer fireplace, call our stone experts at North Star Stone at 847-996-6850.

 

More Than Masonry – The Beauty and Versatility of Pre-Fabricated Fireplaces

More Than Masonry – The Beauty and Versatility of Pre-Fabricated Fireplaces

Home Improvements Stone Fireplace Stone Veneer

Fireplaces aren’t just for homes with brick and mortar chimneys and hearths anymore. In fact, homes that do not even have chimneys can enjoy the beauty and comfort of a fireplace. With skilled assistance the options for installing and owning the fireplace of one’s dreams is easier then one might think. To learn more about the versatility of today’s wide array of fireplace options and accessories, we took a moment to speak with Neal Kaplan of Fireplace Plus. Founded on the idea that the public deserved higher-quality fireplace options, Neal and his family have owned and operated Fireplace Plus in suburban Vernon Hills, Illinois for 25 years, with another location in Downtown Chicago. Here at North Star Stone we have had the pleasure of being able to collaborate with Neal, who has helped us beautifully bring to fruition some of our customized stone veneer fireplace projects. Neal graciously took a moment out of his busy day to share with us his knowledge and experience in the sophisticated and highly creative world of fireplaces.

For decades, Neal and his team have been providing the Chicagoland area with the extremely safe, high quality pre-fabricated wood burning, direct vent and vent free fireplaces. One of the amazing benefits of pre-fabricated fireplaces is that not only do they install quickly but they allow homeowners to have the look and feel of a beautiful fireplace without the expense of having to construct a brick and masonry chimney to support the smoke and other exhaust that comes with a fire. What is even more amazing about these pre-fabricated fireplaces are the great options available:

Wood burning. Heating power and sophistication are considerations when selecting the right wood-burning fireplace. Wood burning fireplaces allow users to take advantage of a renewable resource while also enjoying the pleasant aroma of burning wood. Design options exist to fit every taste. Fireplace Plus specializes in products by IHP/Superior. Nothing goes together better than the warmth of a roaring wood fire and the luxury of a dignified stone fireplace.

Pre-fabricated firebox

Pre-fabricated firebox

Direct Vent

A direct vent fireplace is a fully enclosed chamber that draws combustion from outside air. Natural gas or propane is used to keep the fire burning. Beautifully complimented by a stone fireplace, there are many styles and sizes of direct vent fireplaces available; classic or modern, the choices are endless. When it comes to trusted brands, Neal at Fireplace Plus prefers Napoleon. For those considering the direct vent route, recent government safety mandates have made it a requirement that all fully enclosed, direct vent fireplaces have a safety screen in place.

Pre fabricated stone fireplace

This is direct vent and has gas and logs.

Vent Free

Vent free fireplaces, like their direct vent cousins, also use natural gas or propane. However, they do not require a chimney or vent, which makes them quite unique. Generally compact, a vent free fireplace can go almost anywhere in your home. Styles and sizes are also plentiful. If shopping at Fireplace Plus you can find vent free fireplaces from Lennox Hearth, Napoleon and Empire.

stone veneer fireplace wood

Non masonry firebox that burns wood

Custom Doors

The fun doesn’t end once the fireplace has been selected. Next comes finding the perfect doors to compliment your new fireplace. Fireplace plus specializes in doors and offers an extensive variety from custom and semi-custom to premium. When it comes time to selecting the right door, Fireplace Plus will come out to your home and measure your space at your convenience.

Other Options

Once your perfect fireplace has been installed, don’t forget to beautify your fireplace even further by adding stone veneer. Not only does stone veneer act, feel and look like real stone – it is highly customizable. Pick from a palette of colors and stone styles to add elegance, sophistication and charm to your home’s fireplace. When considering stone veneer, remember that North Star Stone and their highly experienced staff are happy to assist you with your stone selection and installation needs.

There is nothing more natural than gathering around the warmth and light of a beautiful fire. So why shouldn’t every home have that special space to call their own? If you are considering adding a fireplace to your home, why not call Fireplace Plus? To learn more, visit their web site at: firesidecollection.com. And don’t forget to visit North Star Stone when it comes time to complete that look of distinction and refinement that comes with a custom stone fireplace.

4 Great iPhone Apps for Home Improvement

4 Great iPhone Apps for Home Improvement

Houzz- NSS Stone Fireplace Stone Veneer

You may find that like many iPhone enthusiasts you just can’t get enough of all those cool apps currently available for the iPhone. Additionally, if you’re a homeowner or a do-it-yourselfer then North Star Stone is here to share with you 4 fun and helpful iPhone apps that you might find useful for those around-the-house projects you find yourself facing in the near future. Even better – most of the apps we discuss can be downloaded for free! Keep reading to learn more about these useful tools that can all be accessed by the touch of an icon.

 

Houzz Interior Design Ideas by Houzz Inc.

Bring the beauty and expertise of Houzz.com to your iPhone or iPad. Houzz leads the world of home design assistance with its near endless database of over 7,000,000 photos. From stone to stucco, plants to pillows create a virtual idea book where you can save your favorite pictures and products. Intuitive and convenient, this invaluable app provides users with several ways to find what they are looking for. If you need a little help executing or narrowing down your design vision you can join the Houzz community where you can share advice, ideas and more. Even better, this app is free!

The Woodshop Widget by Grand Unified LLC.

If carpentry work plays a part in your home improvement plans then check out the Woodshop Widget. The Woodshop Widget offers users various utilities to make working with wood easier. For $3.99 users gain access to tools that help determine wood’s movement or if it may grow or shrink depending on certain environmental facts, another option helps convert decimal measurements into fractions or vice versa and even more useful is woodworkers can investigate various species of wood before selecting the right one for the job – the Woodshop Widget has information on 288! But it doesn’t end there; if your phone isn’t handy, the Woodshop Widget even has an online companion site and can be found at woodshopwidget.com.

 

The Family Handyman DIY Tip Genius by Readers Digest

The Family Handyman DIY Tip Genius just might become your go-to app when it comes to getting a little extra help around the house with those DIY projects. Need some advice on how to better clean your gutters or maybe you need a little help picking out the perfect paint? Have a plumbing or appliance question? No problem with the DIY Tip Genius! Can’t figure out how to keep your stone mulch clean? Then Family Handyman DIY Tip Genius has you covered – in addition to providing help with many other outdoor or landscaping tasks. You’ll also find useful videos. Download this app for free and gain access to free tips or you can download the full version for $4.99 where you will be able to access more information.

 

Stanley® Level by Black & Decker

Next time you have to hang a picture or ensure that mantel overlooking your stone fireplace is straight, just grab your iPhone and access the Stanley® Level app. Trusted for their quality products, Stanly® has joined the app craze. After a simple calibration your level is ready to use. You can even change the color of your level to fit your personality.  What makes this app even better is that it can be all yours for free!

 

We hope you find these apps make your future home projects easier if not much more fun to tackle. If beautifying your home with highly customizable stone veneer is on your home improvement or DIY radar, then take a moment to visit North Star Stone and see what we have to offer. Tell your home’s story by selecting the perfect stone for your home’s interior or exterior. To learn more about what many homeowners in the Chicagoland area have already discovered call: 847.996.6850 and speak to one of our custom stone veneer experts.

And don’t forget to follow us on Houzz!

How To Easily Clean Stone Veneer

How To Easily Clean Stone Veneer

Home Improvements Stone Exterior Siding Stone Exteriors Stone Fireplace Stone Fireplaces Stone Interior Stone Veneer

Like many homeowners, you have made the decision to beautify your home with stone veneer. Maybe your have decided to add stone to the exterior of your home to various accent points or perhaps to highlight some of your home’s unique features. Or maybe your stone veneer is in your backyard where you chose to use it to help create a tranquil sanctuary. Here your stone can be seen on retaining walls, railings, or an outdoor fireplace. Then again, your stone might be inside your home where it is adding beauty and value to your kitchen, bathroom, or wine cellar. Either way, inside or outside, a time will come when you are going to need to wash your stone veneer. Despite the elegant complexity of how your stone appears, we are happy to tell you that cleaning your stone is far from complex and is actually quite easy. Keep reading to learn more.

diy-stone--fireplace1

What you will need:

Mild dishwashing detergent: It is very important to never use harsh cleaning materials or products that contain acid, ammonia, bleach or the like. Products containing these ingredients are way too harsh and can damage your stonework. Lastly, concrete cleaner is not recommended for stone veneer. An important note on cleaning products containing acid: cleaning products containing acid should always be avoided as they can easily strip the color from your stone and make it look dull.

Sponge or cloth: Use what works best for you. Remember to use soft products as not to scratch your stone.

Bucket: Fill your bucket up with water and use it to mix your cleaning solution and help rinse your sponge or cloth. Make sure to use clean water when rinsing

Backyard hose: Fortunately, to keep your exterior stone veneer clean, you do not need to rely on a heavy-duty pressure washer; for your stone veneer a simple garden hose is all that is needed.

Soft bristled brush: Never use a scrub brush with metal bristles as this kind of brush can easily scratch and damage your beautiful stone. A soft-bristled, nylon brush will do the trick. Remember to never apply hard pressure when using a brush for cleaning.

Ladder or step stool: For those hard to reach places

Rubber gloves: Optional

What to do:

Read these instructions thoroughly before you wash your stone veneer.

Fill a bucket with clean water.

Add some mild dishwashing detergent to create a gentle cleansing solution.

Use a clean cloth or sponge containing the solution to thoroughly wipe down your stone. Use a brush to gently remove any dirt or mud. Keep in mind this mild solution will not remove stains like tar or oil that may have gotten on your stone during be other home improvement projects.

Rinse your stone with the hose.  If indoors, use a clean cloth or sponge to remove any of the cleaning solution.

Let dry.

Important – A note on how to clean newly installed stone: If your stone is newly installed and wet mortar or grout has gotten onto the face of the stone, let it dry to a point where you can easily scrape it off with a masonry brush. If you try to wipe off wet mortar or grout it will smear and will be extremely hard to remove completely. Do not use water. On the flip side, if you wait too long, you will not be able to remove the grout or mortar, so make sure to remove it the same day as the installation of the stone veneer.

How often do I need to clean my stone? As often as you feel cleaning is needed.

Clearly the ease of cleaning stone veneer is just another reason why this highly versatile and customizable product is such an excellent option for improving the home. If you would like to move forward with your stone projects then give North Star Stone a call and see why Chicagoland has chosen us for their stone veneer needs. For more information contact us at info@northstarstone.biz or call 847-996-6850 for a free estimate on your new interior or exterior stone.

Watch the North Star Stone blog next week we will discuss sealers and enhancers.

A DIY Stone Veneer Installation- Step By Step

A DIY Stone Veneer Installation- Step By Step

Stone Fireplace Stone Interior

For those unfamiliar with stone veneer and seeing it for the first time, it would probably seem inconceivable that a novice do-it-yourselfer would be able to install such a stunning and elegant home update on his or her own with very little help. One such accomplished do-it-yourselfer, a client of ours named Grant, did just that. An emergency room doctor by day, Grant decided he was going to update his old fireplace with versatile and highly customizable stone veneer. Continue reading to discover why and how with a little time, patience and energy Grant was able to rejuvenate his family room and implement his vision of a beautiful focal point that will be in keeping with this tranquil lakefront property.

Below is a picture of Grant’s original fireplace and his starting point. Grant’s former fireplace is an inviting canvas for the stone that awaits.

diy-stone-veneer6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this next image, you can see where grant has taken off and removed the original marblesque veneer that surrounds his original fireplace and covers the hearth. With some assistance, he frames the fireplace using 2” x 4” pieces of wood. Grant also decides to create a pocket for the fireplace mantel. This will insure a secure fit.

diy-stone-veneer-5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the frame is in place, it is time to place a material called Durock (see below) where the stone veneer will be placed. Durock is a cement board that will speed up the installation process as it negates the use of mesh, which is commonly used to get materials, like stone, to adhere. Also note that Grant made sure to install a plate in order to create a platform from which to hang his television from as well as a place to feed his television cables through. When asked how he learned to carry out this project, Grant explained that he turned to YouTube for videos on how to install stone veneer.

 

diy-stone-fireplaces4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before continuing, Grant makes the smart decision of protecting his floors with tarp, which is also where he will lay out his stone. This will help give him an idea of placement prior to installation.

 

diy-stone-veneer-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halfway done. Grant has placed his hearthstones, which he was able to size properly by using a cutout. Grant selected ledge stone that was then custom colored by selecting between two samples in North Star Stone’s showroom. It is looking amazing! Ledge stone is one of North Star Stone’s most textured stones, which is evident by how natural it looks. You can see how the stone surrounds the bottom half of the mantel. This process will be completed on the top of the mantel as well.

diy-stone-veneer7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quite the sight to behold, Grant’s stone veneer fireplace looks beautiful. All that is needed now is to hang the television. The stone is installed perfectly and reaches to the ceiling to create a place where one’s eyes will naturally gravitate.

diy-stone--fireplace1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four days later and Grant, a truly creative do-it-yourselfer, has completed a magnificent stone fireplace he can be proud of. Lovely!

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If you would like to undertake your own stone masterpiece, we can help. Our experts are here to help provide you with the stone you need as well as the techniques to help create your own beautiful focal point. For more information contact us at info@northstarstone.biz or call 847-996-6850 for a free estimate.

Does My Stone Fireplace Have To Extend To The Ceiling?

Does My Stone Fireplace Have To Extend To The Ceiling?

Stone Fireplace Stone Fireplaces Stone Veneer

Let’s assume you are ready to update your fireplace and you currently have a wood surround with tile around the firebox. Or maybe your fireplace just has drywall and a little tile around the firebox and you are looking at a big blank wall. One other option we sometimes come across is a brick fireplace and the height of the fireplace is only 48” high. What do you do?

wood drywall around fireplace

Generally in our Chicago area market and from the pictures we see on Houzz and Google images, most fireplaces do extend from floor to ceiling. It is what you expect to see. What we call a half height fireplace looks half done. Some say it looks like the homeowner ran out of money or tried to save a buck.

If your fireplace is drywall and is currently about 48” high you can easily add stone veneer to the entire wall of the fireplace from floor to ceiling. Typically any old tile, fake brick and old wood surrounds are removed. A wire mesh and skim coat of mortar is applied to the work area. In this case the typical width of a fireplace is anywhere from 5’-7’ wide. If your fireplace is only 5’ wide and you have the opportunity to widen the fireplace to say 6’ without any inference like windows or outlets, make the fireplace wider. After the wire mesh and skim coat of mortar are applied, a mantel should be installed. Finally the stone is installed from the floor to the ceiling. The last step is to install the hearth. The most affordable option is to use hearthstones from the vendor that made your stone. Limestone is a beautiful option and is much more costly. Some clients like granite, but we don’t see that used for a hearth very often.

stone veneer fireplace

If you don’t want your fireplace stone to be flush against the wall, you can easily build a frame using 2 x4’s and covered in Durock. The top ledge of the frame can use the same stone as your hearth. Building a frame about 3” away from the wall provides the illusion that the stone veneer is real stone.

Another case is if you have brick that is approximately 48”. Now you build a frame with 2×4’s and Durock to cover the upper part section above the brick so the Durock and brick are flush. Then the stone is applied to the new surface creating a stone fireplace from floor to ceiling.

For more information about adding stone to your fireplace, visit our stone fireplace FAQ page or contact us at info@northstarstone.biz or call 847-996-6850 for a free estimate on your new stone fireplace.

Get Your Custom Stone Veneer Shipped To Your Door- No Matter Where You Are

Get Your Custom Stone Veneer Shipped To Your Door- No Matter Where You Are

Stone Fireplace Stone Fireplaces Stone Veneer

Are you having a difficult time finding the perfect blend of stone style and stone color for your new stone fireplace?  At North Star Stone, we can walk you through the steps so you feel comfortable placing a custom stone veneer order that we will be hand colored and manufactured.  Using our freight brokers, we will then find the low cost carrier to deliver the stone to your home.  Depending on where you live, the total turn around time is usually less than two weeks.

Shipping 3stone veneer fireplaceThanks to Houzz, Google, Pinterest, FaceBook and other websites, new customers are calling us with requests to custom color and manufacture stone for their fireplace, wine cellars and interior walls. Clients find our images on the above Social sites and fall in love with both the color blends and textures of stones that we can produce.  Frequently we will even create a new stone veneer color to meet the needs of the client.  It just takes a little time on the phone to discuss your project and define your expectations for the color and texture.

Find The Best Stone Veneer For Your Fireplace

A stone fireplace, stone accent wall or a stone wine cellar is a real focal point and you want the stone to look it’s best. A skilled mason is going to give you the best results. There is an art to selecting the stones to coordinate. The masons are looking at each stone for color, texture and size. The masons make it look easy as they quickly select the stone to lay, but they are the professionals.  However, many DIY people have had outstanding results installing the stone themselves. It just takes time and patience to get a job that you are proud of.

Shipping stone veneerWe have shipped stone from the east coast and as far west as Hawaii and from Northern Michigan to Georgia. If you are having a difficult time find the perfect stone veneer for your new stone fireplace, please contact us. Our phone number is 847-996-6850 or email us at info@northstarstone.biz.

Your New Stone Fireplace: With or Without Mortar Joints

Your New Stone Fireplace: With or Without Mortar Joints

Stone Fireplace

You have finally made the decision to remodel that dated brick fireplace or get rid of that boring tile surround that your builder over charged you for. But now you need to decide if you want your stone veneer installed with or without a mortar joint. We will assume you have already picked your stone veneer in the perfect color of your choice and you or your mason are ready to start the project. Additionally, we are assuming the wall is already prepped and has a scratch coat of mortar and ready for the manufactured stone.

At North Star Stone we feel that a mortar joint adds a touch of class, especially when you are using some of the textured ledge stones like our Mountain Stack or our Wisconsin Prairie stone. We prefer that most of our mortar joints are tighter, usually in the range of ¼” to 3/8” of an inch.

Some stones are typically always installed with a mortar joint. In the case of the stone selection from North Star Stone, the following stone veneers look best with a mortar joint: Cobble Stone, Cut Limestone, River Rock and Fieldstone.

Stones almost always installed without a mortar joint include our manufactured stone styles of Narrow Profile and Castle Rock.

The textured ledge stones such as our Drystack stone, Mountain Ledge Stone, Mountain Stack Stone and Wisconsin Prairie Stone can be installed with or without a mortar joint. 

Visit our showroom or look at our stone fireplace pictures and our stone exterior images to decide what works best for you. (One word of caution, in the Midwest where we have a lot of harsh weather, all of our exterior stone projects are installed with a mortar joint. The exception is of the stone veneer is being applied over an existing masonry wall).

Stone Fireplaces With Mortar

Stone Fireplaces Without Mortar

Remodeling Your Two Story Fireplace

Remodeling Your Two Story Fireplace

Stone Fireplace Stone Veneer

Many of the new homes built in the last 15-20 years have great rooms with ceilings ranging from 14’-28’ feet high. The most common ceiling heights are 18’ high with a fireplace set on wall usually 6’-7’ wide and set between two very large windows.

Typically these large fireplaces are flush against a wall and covered in drywall with a mantel, or if you have a builder upgrade you are looking at a very large brick fireplace that matches your home’s exterior. The good news is with stone veneer, you can tastefully create a beautiful new stone fireplace in a wide range of stone styles and colors. As you create your new stone fireplace you can add a wood mantel or possibly hang a TV over the fireplace.

This Blog post will discuss the best styles of manufactured stone that you might want to select for your new fireplace.

If your home has a more formal style our cobble stone is elegant with larger pieces of stone that fill the wall and blend together perfectly. Most often the cobble stone fireplaces are lighter in color so they don’t dominate the formal setting. If you have ceilings that are exceptionally high, you might want to add some field stone pieces that break up the fireplace and draw the eye upward.

For a causal family room you have more options. Our most popular blend of stone veneer is our Wisconsin Prairie Stone. It has blend of stones offering a medium texture with some strong defined linear lines, yet also offer the irregular pieces of field stone scattered in at about a 20% mix help create both volume and height. The stone can be installed with or without a mortar joint.  (See our related blog post on selecting a mortar joint).

The Mountain Stack stone veneer is the same as the Wisconsin Prairie, less the field stone. Some customer’s find the irregular shapes of the fieldstone disruptive to the clean flow of the Mountain Stack Ledge Stone.

For a family room where you want a more refined look, but you still appreciate some of the texture of the ledge stone family, we suggest the Drystack Ledge Stone and add a mortar joint to help create the feeling of height.

 

You can really use any stone that fits your style, from River Rock to all Field Stone or one of the many blends. This blog article on manufactured stone veneers is meant as guide to help you select the perfect stone for your stone fireplace transformation.

North Star Stone, Inc of Libertyville IL custom manufactures all of its own stone veneer and has the advantage of every batch is custom colored. In the surrounding area we offer expert installation and also can ship the stone. Please contact us for further information at info@northstarstone.biz or visit is at www.northstarstone.biz

Fireplace Safety

Fireplace Safety

Stone Fireplace Stone Veneer Uncategorized

As frigid temperatures, howling winds and deep snows make themselves at home this winter, folks flock to warm themselves in front of a roaring fireplace.

Therefore, it’s a good time to talk about fireplace safety.

Every winter, fireplaces all over the United States glow brightly with the warming flames tickling the hearth.

However, most homeowners are not aware a dirty, soot-filled fireplace can actually cause a fire in their home.

Creosote

As wood burns, providing heat for your living room, it also emits a byproduct called creosote. Creosote forms when firewood burns at low temperatures, causing incomplete combustion of the oils in wood. These oils, or creosote, leave deposits in the chimney and flu after a fire has burned.

After a season of fires in your hearth, the creosote deposits in your chimney can accumulate to several inches. This causes a two-part fire hazard.

1. As creosote deposits collect, they prevent the flow of oxygen to the fire in the hearth. In turn, this prevents the wood from burning at an optimal temperature, causing more creosote to form.

2. A fire in the fireplace produces lots of hot oxygen, and as it comes in contact with the creosote deposits in your fireplace, it can ignite a chimney fire.

In fact, 25% of all residential fires can be attributed to creosote buildups in chimneys and fireplaces.

Safety: Creosote Cleanup & Prevention

There are a number of things you can do to mitigate the chances of a fire starting in your chimney or fireplace.

• Have a chimney sweep inspect and, if necessary, clean your fireplace and chimney once a year.

• Only use hard, seasoned wood. Soft wood still contains lots of moisture and doesn’t burn efficiently, which contributes more creosote to your chimney.

• While burning a fire, keep nearby glass doors open to encourage a strong flow of oxygen, which will burn your wood more completely.

• Never use flammable liquids to start a fire. Also, do not burn cardboard, trash or debris in your fireplace.

• Never leave a fire unattended. Completely extinguish a fire and any embers before going to bed.

• Make sure there are no trees, branches, leaves or other obstructions above your chimney.

• Cover the chimney with a mesh spark arrester

Follow these steps to ensure your home stays safe while enjoying a wood burning fire.