What are Pre-Cast Fireplaces and what does a homeowner need to know about them
There are a number of types of Pre-Cast Fireplaces and Chimneys. The one that is most common in this area is the Rampart General Pre-Cast Fireplaces which were built in Santa Ana from the mid 1960’s to the early 1990’s. They are often located in neighborhoods with hundreds of these tract homes.
The chimneys and fireplaces were built at a factory and dropped off at the building site. They often look like a light tan or off-white painted brick, but that is just the color of the cement. Sometimes homeowners have painted them for various reason, including to cover cracks. Sometimes it will look like an antenna has been added, but this is sometimes to stability the chimney.
Almost all of these chimneys are located on an exterior wall and stick out from the wall. In many cases, the exterior chimney is very narrow above the shoulders of the chimney, and often much narrower than standard masonry chimneys.
Rampart General is out of business, and there is no recourse against the manufacturer. There are some communities where the homeowners association has paid to repair these chimneys and fireplaces.
There are 3 major problems with these chimneys and fireplaces:
- Cracks in the outside of the chimney. These often appear as long vertical cracks and are located where the rebar is placed. If these cracks are not repaired before they become too large, it may be necessary to tear down the chimney and rebuild it. Even hairline cracks need to be inspected and repaired as soon as they are seen.
- Cracks in the insulation (breast plate) located directly above the opening of the fireplace.
- Cracks to the inside of the chimney flue, which may require a video (level 2) inspection to detect.
If you have a chimney that may be a Rampart General, you can send us pictures and we can confirm this.
We specialize in repairing these and will be glad to give you a free estimate.
Lucky Sully Chimney Sweep