Hearth separating from the fireplace


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Old 03-02-21, 04:21 AM
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Hearth separating from the fireplace

I have begun noticing a tiny crack forming when the hearth meets the fireplace. The photo below is not of mine, but it demonstrates what I am talking about.


My home was built back in 1987. I am confident the hearth was simply built directly on the sub-floor. I have caught it really early. I think I could just provide proper support underneath.

I know some cob job ways to do this, but I would like a more professional looking end result in my crawlspace. Ideas?
 
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Old 03-02-21, 08:34 AM
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The first step is to go under into the crawl space and look at the area. Once you know what you are working with you can develop a plan.
 
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Old 03-02-21, 09:34 AM
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Here is a photo from underneath. The dimensions marked correlate very closely to the dimensions of the hearth. I was not surprised about no support posts underneath because I had been under here before. I was surprised at the framing directly below the hearth. What is the reason for the boards inserted on an angle?



 
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Old 03-02-21, 11:24 AM
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First, I would get a long straight edge and a level. I would thoroughly examine the area to determine exactly what is and what is not moving. You want to know if the entire area has moved or if the floor remains level and the hearth only has moved.
 
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Old 03-04-21, 06:48 AM
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I went under the hearth with a 4' level. I watched and listened while my wife walked all around the hearth. There was some creaking, but I saw no movement at all. The creaking sound is actually louder in the house as compared to the crawlspace. I am wondering if the sub-floor needs some screws.

Above I used that photo to demonstrate what is happening. At the time I did not have an actual photo of mine. I have one now.
This is a side view. My wife was doing a white wash of the brick. I tried filling the crack so it was less noticeable. As you can see I did not get it all filled.



Here is a top view. A little less noticeable. My point with the photos is that my damage is not nearly as bad as the one I originally posted. At the top I would say it is about 1/16" wide.




 
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Old 03-04-21, 09:41 AM
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Do you want to support and hopefully stabilize what's there or do you want to try closing the gap? I would go for stabilizing since you've already put things into the crack.

It's tough to repair or brace without knowing what is moving. The edge of the hearth near the fireplace is almost directly supported by the foundation wall and footers below while the outer edge is hanging off of the floor joists.

If you do some digging in the crawl space near the wall you should hit the footer. It would be best to brace from the footer up to the outer edge of your hearth. I might remove some of the planking on the bottom side of the hearth so you have access to have your support bear directly on the masonry. Important: Do not remove all the boards that were used for forming. You're probably OK removing a couple.
 
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Old 03-06-21, 07:58 AM
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Yes, it really isn't too bad at this point. I would just prefer it did not get worse. I will have another look to see where I can provide bracing. I like the idea of going back to the footer.
 
 

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