Smoke Chamber Repairs Can Make Your Fireplace Safer & More Efficient

Is creosote an ongoing problem for you? Does it seem like your fireplace gets smokier and smokier every year?

It’s impossible to see what’s going on inside your chimney when it’s in use, but if it seems like every time you schedule a cleaning, you’re told you have a good deal of creosote built up inside, or you have a house filled with smoke every time you light a fire, there’s a good chance your smoke chamber needs to be repaired and coated smooth.

What the heck is a smoke chamber?

The smoke chamber is the section of your chimney that’s just below the damper and above the firebox. Typically, this area is constructed of corbeled brick, which basically just means the bricks are stacked on top of each other to achieve a funnel shape.

What you end up with is an area that looks like an upside down staircase.

What Is The Purpose Of A Smoke Chamber In The Fireplace?

The whole point of this upside down funnel is to take the smoke, gases, and byproducts of the fire and move them swiftly through the chimney and out of the home. Think of it as a funnel into the flue.

The trouble is, each “step” in the upside down staircase creates resistance and slows the smoke down, rather than directing it up into the flue. As that smoke lingers and cools, it settles on the walls of the smoke chamber, forming creosote and soot buildup.

In some instances, the smoke and byproducts have such a challenging time getting up through the smoke chamber that they actually end up coming back into your home, hence your smoke problem.

Do You Really Need To Fix Your Smoke Chamber?

Okay, so a defective smoke chamber means you’ll need more routine cleanings and you might have smoke coming back into your home when you light a fire. But is fixing your smoke chamber really necessary?


Here’s why: The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) has found that the third leading cause of chimney-related house fires is, you guessed it, defective smoke chambers.

The smoke chamber is a “high heat” area, and when you pair that with the high flammability of the creosote that’s built up inside of the smoke chamber as a result of turbulence and resistance, you’ve got the perfect makings for a chimney fire.

Likewise, if the smoke chamber is worn in any way and has any gaps, cracks, or openings in it, heat can make its way to nearby wood framing and other combustible materials in the home.

That’s why the NFPA 211 book of codes and standards (which is basically the chimney sweeping Bible), states that,

“The inner surfaces of the smoke chamber shall be parge coated smooth, with an insulating refractory mortar…”

and the International Residential Code (IRC) states that,

“When the inside surface of the smoke chamber is formed by corbeled masonry, the inside surface shall be parged smooth.”

See, it’s not just us…

All of the industry organizations that are truly concerned with homeowner safety emphasize the importance of repairing defective and damaged smoke chambers.

How Do You Fix A Smoke Chamber?

This flaw with the design of the smoke chamber is, thankfully, easily fixed using Chamber Coat, a refractory smoke chamber restoration system that we use here at Wright’s Hearth, Heat & Home.

In accordance with the NFPA requirement, this repair system makes use of a refractory mortar, which means a highly insulating material that’s able to take the heat.

…’Cos if you can’t take the heat, get out of the smoke chamber. (Is that how the saying goes?)

How Does Chamber Coat Work?

This highly insulating material is applied to the smoke chamber by trowel or hand, filling gaps, cracks, and openings, and providing a smooth, seamless surface that looks less like an upside down staircase and more like an upside down slide.

If we were given the option to take the stairs or take the slide, we know which one we’d choose…and that’s the preferred option of the smoke in your fireplace, too.

Why Is Chamber Coat The Best Repair Method?

Okay, so now you know how repairs work, but what makes Chamber Coat the very best option for parging your smoke chamber? Let’s take a look:

  • It’s highly insulating and prevents heat in the smoke chamber from transferring to nearby wood framing and combustibles.
  • It strengthens the smoke chamber.
  • It leaves you with a better performing and safer fireplace system — one with better draft and decreased creosote buildup.
  • It brings old corbeled smoke chambers up to code.
  • It’s backed by a 20-year material warranty when professionally applied.

In short, it’s the very best, which is exactly why we use it. After all, our clients deserve nothing less than the best.

Let Our Professional & Considerate Team Take Care Of Your Smoke Chamber

Is your smoke chamber a threat to your home’s safety and your enjoyment of your fireplace? Call Wright’s Hearth, Heat & Home at 828-687-9002 and schedule an appointment to have your smoke chamber quickly and effectively parged smooth.

We travel all throughout the greater Asheville area and our clients have described us as “extremely efficient,” “professional,” and “considerate.” Best of all, with Wright’s Hearth, Heat & Home, “no mess is ever made,” so you don’t have to worry about a thing.

Give us a call or request an appointment online today for family-focused, expert care from the licensed, insured, and certified chimney professionals in the Wright family. We look forward to being your local source for reliable chimney and fireplace expertise!


If there are signs of deteriorating masonry with your chimney system, you may need our masonry repair and tuckpointing skills. Ask us more about these chimney and fireplace repair services now.