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Brick "roof" over direct vent fireplace


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I see some direct vent fireplaces constructed like this where brick is laid over wood framing to create a sloped roof. While I can't say I've ever seen it happen (yet) I have to believe that water seeping through the mortar joints will eventually rot out the waferboard, causing the brick to fall in on top of the fireplace. I typically recommend installing a metal roof when I find these situations.

Have any of you guys ever actually seen a failure in a similarly constructed home?

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Jim, it's possible but doubtful. As I recall, these fireplaces started showing up around here about a dozen years ago. I was still building homes then as well as inspecting them. In new neighborhoods I can say with all certainty that the standard practice I saw was to build a wood-framed enclosure for the fireplace assembly and simply lay brick on the waferboard used to enclose the top. The home in the photo is 10 years old.

With inspections, I have seen ONE home where I felt sure that a problem existed. It was on a concrete slab, and the MDF used as the "legs" for the mantel surround were puffy from moisture absorption. There was no other explanation other than leaks thru the brick that were allowing water to reach the slab.

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  • 2 months later...

I see some direct vent fireplaces constructed like this where brick is laid over wood framing to create a sloped roof. While I can't say I've ever seen it happen (yet) I have to believe that water seeping through the mortar joints will eventually rot out the waferboard, causing the brick to fall in on top of the fireplace. I typically recommend installing a metal roof when I find these situations.

Have any of you guys ever actually seen a failure in a similarly constructed home?

Click to Enlarge
tn_20131017161018_DSCN1591.jpg

56.17 KB

Never seen that. Builders are too cheap around here to use brick for anything other than the front of a house-and that is getting less common.

Water will seep through the mortar joints and is will behave like stucco since the brick and mortar are probably directly in contact with the felt. I know you said you have seen the brick placed directly on OSB, but can builders really be that stupid in your area?

I would contact the Brick Industry Association and see if they have any input.

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