View Full Version : Outdoor fireplace

Jeff Eastman
05-30-2007, 07:15 AM

Dale W. Feb
05-30-2007, 05:58 PM
Hi Jeff,

This fireplace is not approved or listed for exterior application. All exterior fireplaces are constructed with stainless steel. Even the small flakes of steel within the refractory panels are stainless. Although covered and somewhat protected, this systems listing and warrantee just went out the door (that’s right, it's already outside).

Fuel for Thought,
Dale W. Feb,
F.I.R.E. Certified Inspector
ICC Certified Inspector
IAPMO Certified Inspector

Thom Walker
05-30-2007, 06:03 PM
Welcome Dale.

Rick Hurst
05-30-2007, 06:04 PM
That mantle is a real head banger I bet.

Bob Harper
05-30-2007, 08:44 PM
Thom, you sound as if you don't know Dale when you welcomed him. If you click on the FIRE Service banner on this site, it will take you to his site. Dale is THE foremost authority on fireplaces in North America, bar none. I thought I knew a little about Fps until I met him. Then he confirmed I only knew a little about Fps. We are now best friends and chat weekly. He monitors this site but rarely has time to chime in. He travels a lot investigating unfriendly fires, incidents, consulting, teaching, etc. in addition to doing Level II inspections.

Check out the FIRE Service and sign up for the class. It will change the way you do business.

While I may seem like the loud mouthed know-it-all about venting and fireplaces, primarily because I respond on almost every post, Dale is the guy I go to for answers. He's the real deal.

Yes, that Fp is considered outdoors. FYI, Heatilator launched the Out42, which was the first stainless steel fireplace intended for permanent direct exposure outdoors. It was followed by gas variants such as the Dakota then other mfrs got into it.


Thom Walker
05-30-2007, 09:00 PM
I obviously don't know Dale. I just saw the 4 posts and didn't remember anyone else welcoming him, so I did. :) :o I take it back, Dale.:D

Bob Harper
05-30-2007, 09:59 PM
Thom, it isn't a problem man. When we switched over to this new format, we lost all our totals. Jerry Peck needed scientific notation to track his posts. It's cool.

Scott Patterson
05-31-2007, 07:39 AM
Ya know, that fireplace might not be rated by the manufacturer for an outside application as pictured, But! I personally just don't see much of a problem. Heck it is sheltered by a large roof line and it is in the high desert of Nevada. I bet that it sees more moisture from the combustion process than from rain. Yes, I understand the warranty, etc, etc, is out the window.

As for the mantle, I can't find anything that say it is not allowed to be that size.

You can backup whatever you say about the fireplace but you will have a difficult time with the mantle I'm afraid.

If it was me I would note that the FP is not rated for this type of installation and that any manufacturer warranty is voided. That is about all that I might say. Without seeing the entire house, age, condition, etc, it is hard to render an opinion.

Scott Patterson
05-31-2007, 08:23 AM
Thanks everyone for your comments.

This is an one year old home.


Why would you not recommend replacing the fireplace? One of the components (see picutre is rusting) as well as the warranty will be voided.

As I said, I (Me) just don't see it as that big of an issue. I would report that according to the manufacturer this is an indoor fireplace, and the patio installation is outdoors and this will most likely void the warranty. The rusting will happen on an indoor fireplace as well, H20 is produced during the combustion process. I really doubt that the FP in your picture has seen any measurable amount of rain hitting it since it was installed.

From a logical view: So we have a voided warranty, what does this mean? It means that the manufacturer will have nothing to do with the product if it fails. How often do we see units like this fail? Not very often, most of the time FP problems go back to the installation.

If you want to recommend that it is replaced that is your privilege, and I'm sure many home inspectors would do the same. But, whatever you do PLEASE do not Recommend Further Evaluation.

Scott Patterson
05-31-2007, 08:26 AM
After looking at the big picture of the area that you provided. I would have more of a concern with the tiles on the patio. Those look like common interior floor tiles. They are slicker than snail snot when wet! Outdoor tiles have a textured surface and should only be used in outdoor or wet applications.

Scott Patterson
05-31-2007, 08:48 AM

That mantle is wrong, wrong, wrong.....

And how would you support that statement?

Is this an opinion?

Bob Harper
06-02-2007, 04:04 PM
It doesn't matter much unless you burn a fire in that Fp. Then, heat can get drawn up that gap in what is termed "second chimney effect" and ignite combustibles up in the chase. The listing should address how to seal this gap. I know Heatilator, Heat&Glo brands state to use a high temp silicone rated 300F on their gas units and Rutland fireplace mortar or equivalent on their woodburners. The problem with cementitious sealants is they crack over time.

Dale W. Feb
06-03-2007, 08:47 PM
Gambling is not for everyone. You should be recommending further evaluation by a F.I.R.E. Certified Fireplace & Chimney Inspector.

The big problem with this exterior application is the premature failure of the product. Not being exposed direct to rain is not the issue. It is exposed to the elements and the moisture in the air. I don’t think that Scott understand how much rain and moisture we can get in the high deserts. We have to ask ourselves, if this system fails, what is the risk to the occupants? If our client chooses not to act on our information, we can call it a suicide. If we make a mistake and a structure fire results, they may call it criminal negligents. Doing what the real estate agents want, might even be considered a conspiracy. Doing what is right for your client is called professional.

The gap between the black face of the fireplace and the veneer appears larger than ¼”. If this is accurate, then caulking is not recommended. Any gap over ¼” needs a backing material to maintain its integrity.

What really concerns me is the question that has not been raised. Was there combustible material located behind the veneer? This veneer appears to be man-made. This means that there is a framed backing material. The backing will be wood or steel. Which one is it? If it is wood, then it is in direct contact with the black face of the fireplace. No combustible material is allowed in contact with this black face. There are two actions of heat transfer in this application. There is conduction of heat from the black face to the framing and there is radiant heat exposure to the veneer, which then conducts again to the framing. The end result could be a structure fire.

Now, I repeat myself, I think it might be wise to recommend further evaluation by a F.I.R.E. Certified Fireplace & Chimney Inspector to confirm or deny this application. I hope no one bought a house, because after a structure fire, it’s considered a poor investment.

Jim Gecz
06-05-2007, 04:13 PM
While I may seem like the loud mouthed know-it-all about venting and fireplaces, primarily because I respond on almost every post, Dale is the guy I go to for answers. He's the real deal.

Do not be fooled by Bob's modesty, which is real.

While Dale is the single best reason I have gotten so involved in fireplace inspections, Bob is the single best reason I come back to this forum. Both pros.

Thank you both.

Dale W. Feb
06-05-2007, 05:09 PM
I agree,
Bob is a great resource for all of us. I'm not sure what we would do without him on the F.I.R.E. Educational Development Committee. He is also a good friend who is always willing to share with others.

Thank you Bob!

Bob Harper
06-06-2007, 08:20 AM
OK, now I have to write TWO checks......

thanks Guys. I think its safe to say we all learn from each other here, which was Brian's intent with this forum. Therefore, I thank Brian!