Charming Outdoor Brick Fireplaces
Outdoor brick fireplaces can add the most traditional warm atmosphere to your backyard. Brick fireplace designs help you create just the right style to complement your home. You may choose to build a fireplace for your outdoor haven. On the other hand, if you have an existing fireplace, you may want to remodel brick fireplace or simply clean fireplace bricks.
Why Build Outdoor Brick Fireplaces?
Bricks are made from clay, shale, slate, calcium silicate, or concrete. The most common material is clay. The color of brick varies depending on the material and the amount of heat applied during manufacturing. Bricks are manufactured to a standard size and shape and this makes them much easier to work with than stone. In addition, they are also less expensive than stone. For these two reasons, you too can build a fireplace for your outdoor living room with a good plan and little bit of sweat.
Brick Fireplace Designs
Outdoor brick fireplaces would complement very traditional or even early American minimalist designs. These designs could easily be functional as well as decorative. For example, if you are building an outdoor dining room, then your brick fireplace will obviously be the focus. However, you can construct this fireplace with counter space and storage cabinets. The cabinets may be painted or left unfinished. Unfinished cabinets would complement unfinished teak furniture. As an added contrast, the table could be set with wrought iron candle holders.
Remodel Brick Fireplace
Instead of replacing existing outdoor brick fireplaces, you may simply update the look. One possible option is to add a wood burning fireplace insert. These inserts decrease air pollution from wood burning fireplaces while increasing the heat output for a more comfortable outdoor space. In addition, you can choose an insert that either looks very modern with shiny steel and glass or more traditional with wrought iron.
Other remodeling options include painting the exterior brick. Make sure you DO NOT paint the interior brick, or your fireplace will not be usable any longer. You can create an outdoor entertainment area with a southwestern theme. First, paint your exterior brick a desert sand color, and add azure or terra cotta accent tiles around the mouth of your fireplace and throughout our patio floor. You can also add large brightly colored southwestern vases to your patio, distressed wood table and chairs. You can transform your backyard space to a spicy backyard dining room.
Clean Fireplace Bricks
Depending on what you are trying to remove, you will need to use different methods. If you are trying to remove dirt and dust from your outdoor fireplace, you can fill a buck with dish detergent and warm water. Use a stiff brush to apply the contents of the bucket. Brush off the dirt and dust and then hose off your fireplace.
If you are trying to remove soot, they you are going to need a stronger cleaning solution. Mix a solution of 10% muriatic acid and water. Apply to brick, wait for it to work, and then rinse with water. You will need to neutralize the acid; you can do this by creating a paste with baking soda and water. Apply this paste to the brick and allow it to dry. Use a stiff dry brush to remove the dried paste, and then rinse with warm water.
A second option is to use trisodium phosphate cleanser. Use this according to the manufacturer?s instructions. This compound is very caustic so make sure you are wearing gloves and eye protection. Basically, you will brush it onto your discolored bricks, and allow it to dry. Then, brush it off and rinse with water.
How to Build A Fireplace
Outdoor brick fireplaces can be built with a little planning ahead of time. Before you start working on your fireplace, you must first check local codes and obtain any required permits. I recommend that you start with a kit because the exact dimensions to properly vent your fireplace will already be included. The parts of the construction you may want to undertake include building the foundation and laying the external brick. My web page on building an outdoor fireplace details what you need to build the foundation. Laying the external brick is relatively straightforward because the bricks are all the same size. I recommend that you lay out each section in the pattern you want first, and then mortar them into place. It?s very important to keep the bricks level and square, so make sure you have the proper tools (masonry saw, trowel, level, square, ...) before you get started.