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Common bricks will crack and spall in direct contact with flame. This is less a problem with fireplaces than with pizza ovens, where brick shards will end up in your pizza toppings, so it just depends on your tolerance for the look of cracked and chipped brick in your outdoor fireplace.
You might have noticed the red brick firebox. It's regular solid facebrick (no cores) laid in regular Portland cement mortar. They didn't have firebrick in 1760 and my customer didn't like that "ugly yellow firebrick". I told him facebrick couldn't take the thermal shock and would crack and spall, but I couldn't convince him. A year after I built the fireplace he called to tell me how much he enjoyed the fireplace and oven. He said five of the brick in the fireback had cracked and the face had spalled off another one. "It's great", he said. "The fireplace is only a year old and it already looks as if it's 200 years old." Another sort of customer would have had me back out to replace brick six times.
the reason i am trying to find alternatives is that here in OZ firebricks are around the $4-5 mark EACH , makes for a pretty expensive fireplace, especially when you have to for out for another 200 odd for an oven.
so even though the bricks will not get as hot as in an oven I still require the same bricks and can't use insulating bricks or some other type. Might see if i can get thinner firebricks which i would assume would be cheaper. I did a bit of ringing around and found firebricks for 3.30 each which is a bit better.
On the up side the colour of firebrick will actually fit in well with the bricks I am using around the fireplace
Might see if i can get thinner firebricks which i would assume would be cheaper.
Unfortunately they will likely be more expensive...at least they are here...for us they end up to be about twice as much for the "splits"
"Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity. " Charles Mingus
"Build at least two brick ovens...one to make all the mistakes on and the other to be just like you dreamed of!" Dutch
after much reading on the net I have found that i can use dry pressed clay bricks. because it will not be subject to the same intens heat that a pizza oven is you can use the pressed clays instead of firebricks, this is what all older fireplaces are made from.
ordering a bunch of them tomorrow and then next weekend construction of the fireplace begins
You might want to look into a cob or clay oven instead of brick if firebricks are to expensive. I will be using firebricks for the floor and a clay dome myself since a 100lb bag of clay is less then 20 dollars and firebricks are 1.50 each.
I also am planning to have a fireplace under the oven for non-oven nights and that will require firebrick and high temp concrete/mortar so my budget can not take more for the oven. :}