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staestc 10-31-2008 04:15 PM

New Fire Bricks with Cracks
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I managed to pick up 20 fire bricks today to measure and play with so I can design before I start building.

For those in the north Texas area, I picked them up from Gartex Masonary Supply in Garland on Plano Road. About a block north from 635.

The bricks are standard duty fire brick, some are stamped "Butler", cost $1.10 a piece, measure nominally 9"x2.5"x4.5", and weigh 6 lb 13 oz.

There is a lot of variability in the bricks themselves, and I will have to hand pick ones for the hearth floor, then take much care in leveling them and making the heart flat, but not so variable that it will be a problem.

My concern is that most all have some kind of visible cracks in them. 90% of those are minor little cracks that are only noticable because I was looking so closely, but a few, maybe 10%, have cracks that may be more of a concern.

The posted pictures are of the worst one (only maybe one other is this bad), and another that has the Butler stamp.

What I would like to know, is it to be expected that there will be little visible cracks in fire brick? If so, do those little cracks make a difference when cutting, and do you have to pick bricks to avoid them, depending on what you are doing?


egalecki 10-31-2008 04:43 PM

Re: New Fire Bricks with Cracks
I had some as bad as that- I just cut them in half and used them. I didn't notice a problem during the cutting- the only problem was getting the ones with dinged up corners where I wanted them. You might want to use the worst ones for wedges- the ones you put in last to lock in a course, or cut to a smaller size so your seams don't line up too much.

Les 10-31-2008 06:43 PM

Re: New Fire Bricks with Cracks
On the west coast, I didn't experience that at all. I had some chips and dings, but no cracks like that. I would think that if it is true refractory brick, it should serve the purpose. As Elizabeth said, use the bad (of the bad) for the cuts.


staestc 11-01-2008 03:54 AM

Re: New Fire Bricks with Cracks
Thanks. I was just worried I would get an OMG!! I've never seen a brick that bad or something similar. Most of them are much better, but they do vary in thickness and number of dinged corners. I will have to very carefully select for the hearth floor! :)

Oh, and since I only picked up a sample of 20, I figure they did not come off a new pallet, and may have been bumped around a bit more than usual.

The place I found is cool though. They have just about everything for ovens and fireplaces including clay flues, dampers, angle iron, etc. They also have some brick that it really nice that I have not seen at other brickyards that I may use for arches and the like.


drogers 11-02-2008 09:49 AM

Re: New Fire Bricks with Cracks
Are there other sources in your area that might offer better quality ?

egalecki 11-02-2008 10:41 AM

Re: New Fire Bricks with Cracks
I had to pick through mine pretty carefully do to the floor too- they aren't all exactly the same size, and they seem to have been extruded- some of them are sort of bent, like playdoh does when you put it through the playdoh machine. As long as they're pretty consistent, you're ok. And most people set their floor in a mix of dry fireclay and sand, and then wet it, so if you have a few that are a little higher, you can work them down. Better to do that than have to use a sander/grinder on them.

Just be sure you do a trial layout to certify that you'll be happy with what you see!

1.10 per is pretty good. I paid 1.20 for mine.

christo 11-02-2008 12:03 PM

Re: New Fire Bricks with Cracks
I was pretty lucky. The source for bricks I found had very regular bricks, all with nice sharp corners....

I'd look around for some other masonry supply stores and see if you can find something better. You might even find red ones!!!


Frances 11-03-2008 12:50 AM

Re: New Fire Bricks with Cracks
Yours look exactly like mine did... and cost a lot less, too!

I was lucky to get seconds from a place in Germany, and they still cost over 2 USD per brick!

staestc 11-03-2008 04:37 AM

Re: New Fire Bricks with Cracks
I plan on checking out a few other places that I have heard have fire brick before I purchase the big lot. This weekend I found out that there is a Building supply about 15 minutes from my house that I did not even realize existed, and they are reported to carry fire brick! :)

I am going to stop by there on the way home and see what they have.

Thanks all,

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