fireplaces in brisbane
Ask the Inspector, blog, Building Inspection Tips

Fireplaces In Brisbane – What To Check Before You Buy

Fireplaces In Brisbane – An Asset or A Liability?

Fireplaces are a fantastic asset, even in Brisbane. Not only do open fireplaces add aesthetic value to you home, but you can also enjoy cosy nights in during winter with your family. Got a fireplace in your prospective new home? You should know fireplaces in Brisbane need regular inspections to make sure they are up to standard. It’s also crucial to get a professional to look at the fireplace in any home you plan to buy.

Why are Brisbane fireplaces inspections so important?

If you don’t book in an inspection, your fireplace could be defective and downright dangerous. If fireplaces in Brisbane malfunction, the worst case scenario would be a chimney fire, which could be catastrophic. You want to avoid a potential hazard, and that’s why it is imperative your full pre-purchase building inspection covers your fireplace.

Build-up of creosote

Working fireplaces in Brisbane can, over time, accumulate a build-up of creosote. Built-up creosote and dirty chimneys can lead to fire and damaged structure. A good chimney sweep will clean out the flue and take note of excessive creosote build-up. That said, you won’t know if the previous owner of your property scheduled regular chimney sweep visits. All good reason for you to schedule in a full pre-purchase chimney inspection with Action Property Inspections.

Dodgy installation

Something else to consider is the condition of your furnace. Do you know your fireplace’s story? It could be the product of a dodgy do-it-yourself job. An inspection will identify whether the installation of your property’s fireplace has been adequately managed. You need to be safe in the knowledge that your fireplace does not pose danger, and that is hard to tell with the untrained eye.

Inadequate insulation

Your chimney, walls and roof may be in need of insulation. Flue liners and insulation act as a vent to exit the smoke created from your fireplace. Such insulation also acts as a heat protector for your exposed chimney.

How do you know if your fireplace and chimney insulation needs replacing? You won’t, and that’s why you need to call in the experts who are trained to examine fireplaces in Brisbane. A full pre-purchase building inspection with Action Property Inspections will check your fireplace insulation and tell you whether work needs to be done.

What else is covered in a Brisbane fireplace inspection?

In some pre-purchase building inspections, Brisbane fireplaces can be overlooked. That’s not the case with Action Property Inspections. This is an example of what Action Property Inspections include:

Inadequate heat shielding

Fireplaces in Brisbane and chimneys require appropriate heat barriers to protect the surrounding combustible framing. You want your fire to stay in your fireplace, and not the rest of your house!

Broken hearth and surround

A hearth is a non-combustible material that sits under your fireplace to protect the floor and surrounds. A hearth can be built from brick, tile, slate or stone. A cracked or damaged fireplace hearth can happen due to structural movement or wear-and-tear. Such breaks could be hazardous because the protection of your combustible surrounding material is compromised.

Missing grates

Fireplaces in Brisbane require grates. The purpose of a grate is to contain the fuel for your fire; wood blocks for example. Usually made of a heavy metal such as iron, a grate protects the back of your fireplace and acts as a decorative feature, too. Without a grate, there will be no airflow underneath the logs on your open fire. Without a proper airflow, you will not be able to maintain a decent fire.

Damaged mantel

Your mantel is not only a decorative feature, but another protector for the combustible material surrounding your furnace. You want to minimise any sort of fire danger when you use a fireplace in Brisbane. If your fireplace mantel is damaged, the surrounding areas become more susceptible to fire and heat damage. Your building inspector will check for even the tiniest of cracks.

Never assume fireplaces in Brisbane are safe

When you buy a property, you must never assume your fireplace is safe. Although as a Brisbane home owner, you may not use fireplaces continuously, that doesn’t mean you should forego an inspection.

Don’t think a quick check over your furnace will suffice. You need a qualified inspector to conduct your interior and exterior house inspection, which must include your chimney as well as your fireplace.

A trained inspector will gain access to your roof if it is safe to do so. An inspection ensures there are no cracks in your chimney, which can lead to a fire from heat transfer. Your inspection will check the following:

Missing chimney tray

A chimney tray collects liquid and distributes vapour. What this means is no direct contact between the vapour and liquid phase as the heat passes through the chimney tray. If you don’t have one, your chimney walls will be exposed and damp will build up.

Inadequate weep holes

Fireplaces in Brisbane need chimneys, and chimneys are not waterproof because brick is a porous material. Small weep holes are required to allow rain water to drain out. Weep holes also act as a vent to allow air to flow through to help dry the chimney. A building inspection will identify whether such weep holes exist and, if they do, that they are sufficient for the structure.

Deteriorating mortar joints

Chimneys are not going to last forever and do wear out over time. A common problem is deteriorating mortar joints. If left untreated, a deteriorating chimney can cause significant and expensive damage.

Missing capping

Any expert will tell you, a chimney cap is essential for any Brisbane fireplace owner. A cap works by keeping birds and small creatures out, but also acts as extra protection from crazy weather storms, which are frequent in South East Queensland.

Call in the experts

Buying a property is one of the biggest investments you will ever make. Don’t get caught out on budget inspections that may miss out on your fireplace. Some pre-purchase building inspections completely overlook fireplaces in Brisbane. That’s not the case with Action Property Inspections.

Action Property Inspections have been in the business long enough to know that fireplaces are among the most hazardous spots in your Brisbane property. You are, quite literally, playing with fire if you choose to forego your fireplace inspection.

Buying property with fireplaces in Brisbane? Contact Action Property Inspections today on Freecall 1800 642 465 to book in your check-up.


About Andrew

Andrew Mackintosh has been answering home inspection questions in the greater Brisbane area since 1995. He has personally carried out over 20,000 building inspections and is a licensed builder and licensed building inspector, Member of Queensland Master Builders Association & Institute of Building Consultants.Being the business owner and the inspector, Andrew is passionate about providing clients with excellent customer service, value for money, honest, unbiased, thorough inspection and reporting in a professional and timely manner to allow clients to make informed decisions when purchasing property.