Outdoor Fireplace Repair, Maintenance, Costs & More

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According to an EPA survey, more than 17.5 million fireplaces exist in American homes. This growing trend is not surprising, given the numerous benefits and charming ambiance these structures can bring to your house.

However, with the increasing number of outdoor fireplaces, it becomes crucial to highlight the significance of proper maintenance. This article explores the ins and outs of outdoor fireplace repair, maintenance, and associated costs. We also discuss the common issues with most outdoor fireplaces and how to address them.

Outdoor Fireplace Anatomy

An outdoor fireplace.

Outdoor fireplaces have three main components that work harmoniously to provide warmth, ambiance, and comfort to outdoor living spaces. They include the following:

1. Base

The base forms a sturdy foundation for the entire outdoor fireplace. It’s made from robust materials like concrete, stone, or brick and ensures the stability and durability of the structure.

2. Firebox

This is the core of the outdoor fireplace and provides the space where the actual fire burns. It features fire-resistant materials like refractory brick, cement, or other fireproof material and safely contains the fire, preventing it from spreading.


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3. Chimney

The chimney provides an efficient ventilation pathway, promoting proper airflow for optimal combustion while keeping the outdoor space clear of smoke and fumes.

The outdoor fireplace also includes various parts that increase its functionality and aesthetics. Some of these additional parts include:

4. Hearth

A hearth of an outdoor fireplace.

Beyond adding aesthetic appeal, the hearth serves as a protective barrier, preventing sparks and embers from reaching the surrounding area.

5. Mantel

A mantel on an outdoor fireplace.

The mantel is a surface for displaying decorative items and protects the fireplace interior.

6. Chimney Cap

A chimney cap.

The chimney cap is a covering installed on top of the chimney. Its primary function is to shield the chimney opening from rain, snow, debris, and small animals.

Common Issues with Outdoor Fireplaces

Like most structures, outdoor fireplaces are not immune to problems over time. However, understanding these problems and their potential causes is crucial for timely detection and appropriate resolution. Here are some of the common issues:

  • Smoke and Soot Accumulation – This is caused by poor chimney draft, obstructed chimney, and inadequate fireplace height.
  • Debris and Leaves Blockage – Neglected maintenance and a damaged chimney cap can lead to blockage caused by debris and leaves. 
  • Brick, Mortar, and Stone Damage – This problem is caused by constant exposure to harsh weather conditions. Continuous use can also deteriorate the outdoor fireplace’s bricks, mortar, and stones, making them weak and damaged over time.
  • Operational Problems in Gas Fireplaces – An ignition system malfunction commonly causes operational problems. Faulty igniters or control modules can hinder the fireplace from starting or maintaining a flame, making it challenging to heat efficiently.


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So, how do you know you have these problems? Here are signs that indicate the common issues mentioned earlier with outdoor fireplaces:

  • Excessive formation of dark stains on the fireplace exterior.
  • Presence of smoke within the seating area due to restricted airflow caused by debris blockage.
  • Visible cracks or bricks that feel loose to the touch.
  • Lack of a flame or a flame that is smaller than usual.
  • Detection of the gas smell outside the fireplace.

How to repair outdoor fireplace

As outdoor fireplaces age and experience wear, repairs become essential to maintain their functionality and safety. Below are key steps for outdoor fireplace repairs:

Step 1. Identify the Problem

Carefully inspect the outdoor fireplace, looking for the signs mentioned above. This will guide you to the specific issue that needs attention.

Step 2. Gather Appropriate Tools and Equipment

You’ll need basic tools like a flashlight, chimney brush, gloves, and safety goggles for cleaning and inspection tasks.

You will require tools such as a chisel, mortar mix, trowel, and masonry sealant for repairs. For gas fireplace problems, specialized tools like gas leak detectors and ignition system tools may be necessary. 

Step 3. Specific Repair Processes for Different Issues

The repair processes for various outdoor fireplace issues will differ based on the identified problem. Cleaning the chimney and ensuring proper ventilation is vital for smoke and soot accumulation.

However, you can clear debris blockages by carefully removing obstructions from the chimney or flue. Masonry damage may require repairing cracked bricks or stones with appropriate mortar and sealant. Gas fireplace issues might involve troubleshooting the ignition system, checking gas lines for leaks, and ensuring proper gas supply.

When to Call in Experts for Assistance

While you can tackle some outdoor fireplace repairs, certain issues are best left to the expertise of professionals. If the problem is complex, extensive, or involves gas-related concerns, we recommend calling qualified technicians or chimney sweeps.

In short, if you are still determining if you can handle the repairs independently, it’s time to call a team of professional contractors for the job. 

Gas fireplace repairs, in particular, should always be handled by licensed professionals to ensure safety and compliance with regulations. These projects can be dangerous and thus require professional services. 


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Outdoor Fireplace Repair Cost

Understanding the costs associated with outdoor fireplace repair is essential for budgeting and making informed decisions. Below are factors influencing repair costs, average costs for common issues, and ways to save on outdoor fireplace repairs.

Factors Influencing Cost

Various factors influence the repair cost of your outdoor fireplace. They include the type of fireplace, extent of damage, materials, parts, and labor charges.

Ways to Save on Outdoor Fireplace Repairs

Below are tips to help you save during your outdoor fireplace repairs:

  • Regular maintenance
  • DIY for minor repairs
  • Compare quotes
  • Address arising issues promptly

Average Repair Costs for Various Fireplace Types

Here are the average repair costs to assist you when budgeting for your fireplace repair:

Woodstove Fireplace Repair

Woodstove fireplace repairs range from $2,000 to $4,500. However, the average cost for common issues, such as repairing cracks, damaged bricks, or replacing firebox components, falls around $3,250.

Gas Fireplace Repair

The average cost for common issues like fixing ignition problems, gas leaks, or faulty thermocouples is approximately $1,250. However, gas fireplace repairs are generally less expensive, ranging from $500 to $2,000 but can shoot up to $5,000 in more severe cases.

Electric Fireplace Repair

The average cost for addressing heating elements, controls, or electronics issues is approximately $2,000. Nevertheless, expect to part ways with around $1,200 to $2,800 or more for your electric fireplace repairs. 

Fireplace TypeAverage Repair Cost
Woodstove Fireplace            $3,250
Gas Fireplace Repair            $1,250
Electric Fireplace Repair            $2,000

When to Hire a Professional for Outdoor Fireplace Repair

It’s crucial to hire an expert for outdoor fireplace repairs beyond your skills and expertise. Professionals will guarantee your repair is well done, maintaining the efficiency and functionality of your fireplace.

Risks of Not Maintaining an Outdoor Fireplace

Neglecting your outdoor fireplace poses several risks to your home and your safety. They include the following:

  • Fire hazards
  • Structural damage
  • Gas leaks
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning

Benefits of Regular Maintenance and the Necessity of Professional Service

Here are the advantages of regular maintenance and why professional service is crucial:

1. Detailed Inspection: Professionals conduct thorough inspections to detect and address potential issues early, ensuring safety and preventing costly repairs.

2. Thorough Cleaning and Maintenance: Cleaning the chimney, removing debris, and maintaining various components ensure optimal fireplace performance. Professionals use quality tools and equipment to ensure a thorough cleaning is done safely.

3. Safe and Effective Repairs: Trained experts can handle repairs safely and effectively, ensuring the fireplace operates at its best.

What to Expect from a Fireplace Repair Appointment

During your fireplace appointment, you can anticipate a range of experiences. However, the most prevalent elements to anticipate are as follows:

  • A thorough inspection of the fireplace and chimney.
  • Diagnosis of specific issues and required repairs.
  • Execution of necessary repairs, including cleaning and maintenance tasks.
  • Information and recommendations for future maintenance and safety measures.

Beyond expectations, some questions to ask professionals include:

  • What is your experience handling outdoor fireplace repairs, specifically for my type of fireplace?
  • Can you explain the specific repair process you plan to undertake for the issues identified?
  • Are there any specific maintenance tips or practices you recommend to ensure the longevity and optimal performance of the outdoor fireplace?
  • What safety measures do you follow while performing repairs to ensure the safety of my outdoor fireplace and property?

How to Choose the Right Professional for Fireplace Repair

Selecting the right service company for a successful fireplace repair is important. Consider the following factors when making your decision:

  1. Experience and Expertise – Look for professionals with a proven track record of handling outdoor fireplace repairs.
  2. Licensing and Insurance – Ensure the company is licensed and adequately insured to protect you and its technicians.
  3. Customer Reviews – Read reviews and testimonials from previous clients to gauge their satisfaction with the service.
  4. Cost and Transparency – Obtain detailed quotes and ensure the company is transparent about its pricing and any additional fees.


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What Maintenance Is Needed For Outdoor Fireplace?

Regular maintenance ensures optimal performance and safety. Here are some essential tasks to keep your outdoor fireplace in top condition:

  • Keep the Fireplace Clean
    Regularly clean the firebox, remove ashes, and clear debris from the fireplace to promote efficient burning and prevent blockages.
  • Regularly Inspecting for Damage
    Perform routine visual inspections to check for signs of new damage or wear, allowing you to address issues promptly before they escalate.
  • Sealing and Waterproofing
    Apply a suitable sealant or waterproofing agent to protect the masonry and fireplace components from moisture and harsh weather conditions.
  • Chimney Cap Maintenance
    Ensure the chimney cap is secure and free from debris blockages to prevent water and animals from entering the chimney.

Safety Measures to Keep in Mind

Practicing safety measures when using and maintaining an outdoor fireplace is essential to prevent accidents and ensure a pleasant experience. Here are important safety precautions to remember:

  • Wear protective gear when working on your outdoor fireplace.
  • Maintain sufficient clearance around the fireplace to ensure safety. This involves keeping combustible materials at a minimum distance of 3 feet from the fireplace.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Use appropriate fuel associated with the fireplace.

How to Winterizing Your Outdoor Fireplace in Winter

An outdoor fireplace during winter.

Preparing your outdoor fireplace for the winter season will protect it from potential damage caused by harsh weather conditions. Here are tips to winterize your outdoor fireplace effectively:

1. Protect Your Fireplace from Weather Damage: Cover the fireplace with a waterproof tarp or specially designed cover from snow, rain, and other winter elements.

2. Clean and Remove Debris: Clean the fireplace and chimney before winter to remove debris or soot buildup, reducing the risk of moisture-related damage.

3. Store Firewood: If your fireplace uses firewood, store it in a dry, covered location away from the elements to maintain quality and avoid potential water damage.

4. Disconnect Gas Supply: Turn off the gas supply, and if possible, disconnect the gas line during winter to prevent gas leaks and ensure safety.


Proper outdoor fireplace repair and maintenance ensure your fireplace and chimney’s safety, functionality, and longevity. Also, regular inspections, timely repairs, and adherence to safety measures help you enjoy the warmth and ambiance of your outdoor fireplaces while preventing potential hazards.

Ensure you schedule annual inspections and cleaning by a professional to identify and address issues early. Keep the fireplace and chimney clear of debris and clean out ashes regularly. Additionally, invest in a high-quality cover to protect the outdoor fireplace from harsh weather conditions and extend its lifespan.

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Thomas Green

Thomas has worked in the Chimney & Fireplace field for over 12 years. He is an expert in his trade and loves to help People with their needs. Thomas Write helpful articles so that homeowners can make the most informed decisions about their fireplace and chimney.