Residential FAQs

What is the initial bake out schedule for Alsey products?

We suggest a rate of 1°F per minute to 212°F with a 1 hour hold at 212°F.  Continue heating at a rate of 1°F per minute to 1000°F, then increase the rate to no more than 5°F per minute to operating temperature.

How to avoid thermal shock in Alsey products (high silica)?

The heat up schedule should consider the physical states of silica more than alumina.  Alumina has no changes at temperatures between 0°F - 2910°F.  Silica (quartz) has two significant changes in physical state in this range.  One around 1060°F where low quartz transforms to high quartz with a 5% increase in volume.  Another around 1600°F when high quartz tranforms to low tridymite with a 12% increase in volume.  This means there is the possibility of lining wall to buckle and/or spall as you heat up.  We recommend every installation to have 1/4" minimum expansion gap every 4' when heating to 2000°F (fireplace installations).  When operating closer to 3000°F we recommend 3/8" minimum expansion gap every 4'.  Also, do not exceed 10°F per minute.  Most gas fire applications have an immediate jump to 500°F or more; this should be avoided in the initial bake out by using a lower BTU heat source.

Does Alsey firebrick come in sizes other than standard 9x4½x2½" straights and 9x4½x1¼" splits?

Yes, refer to "Smithfield Unbranded Medium Duty Firebrick" to find a listing of "Additional Fireplace/Wood Stove Sizes" that are available in High-Duty.  If further shapes/sizes are needed please see Jet D.P. high duty for 100+ options.

Does Alsey firebrick meet standard building codes?

Alsey firebrick conforms to all applicable building codes; including The International Code Counsil, The International Residential Building Code, and The National Fire Protection Association.

What is the standard color of Alsey firebrick? Does Alsey firebrick come in other colors?

The standard color for Alsey firebrick is light buff; although there may be slight differences in color due to the natural variations of the raw materials.  Alsey firebrick does not come in other colors but can be stained using Alsey Firebrick Stain and Color Enhancer.

Can Alsey firebrick be used as a cooking surface?

This product has not been rated nor is it regulated by the FDA.  Our firebrick are currently being utilzed in installations as a cooking surface.  When constructing a floor/cooking surface, our larger firebrick have become more popular than the traditional 9" straight firebrick.

Can Alsey firebrick be used outside?

Yes.  However, your firebrick will have better longevity if it is covered / protected from the elements.

Can Alsey Hi-Cast Refractory Castable be used as a mortar?

No, Alsey Hi-Cast Refractory Castable is intended for casting pieces or patching large areas.

What is the difference between Alsey Hi-Cast 45 and Alsey Hi-Cast 60?

Alsey Hi-Cast 60 has a higher service temperature rating and is stronger. (See respective data sheets).

Can Alsey Hi-Cast Refractory Castable be used as a cooking surface?

This product has not been rated nor is it regulated by the FDA.  We do not recommend it.

What are typical applications for refractory castable?

Alsey Hi-Cast Refractory Castables can be used for domes, walls, floors for pizza ovens / bread ovens (see cooking surface note), wood stove inserts, fireplace inserts, etc.

What is the thickest joint I can use with Air-Set mortar?

We recommend 1/16 - 1/8"; definitely no greater than 1/4".  At 1/4" you could experience shrinkage and cracking.

What causes Air-Set mortar to set-up slow?

High humidity and cold temperatures can delay set-up beyond 5 days.  In this case we suggest a torpedo heater with Visqueen hood to drive off moisture to allow mortar to set-up.  The use of additives could also slow set-up or compromise set-up entirely.

Can Air-Set mortar be used outdoors?

No, do not use in outside installations.  This mortar is water soluble and will eventually erode if exposed to rain or snow melt.  Please use a hydraulically setting mortar for outdoor applications.

Does Air-Set Refractory Mortar meet building codes?

Yes, Alsey Smithfield Air-Set Refractory Mortar conforms to all applicable building codes; including The International Code Counsil, The International Residential Building Code, and The National Fire Protection Association.

What do I do with the liquid on top of the Air-Set mortar?

The liquid on top of the mortar is Sodium Silcate that comes out due to normal settling  and shipping of the product.  This Sodium Silicate can be stirred back into the mortar immediately, can be poured off into a container to be added in after stirring, or can be poured off completely and not utilized.  If you decide to pour off the excess there is still enough Sodium Silicate in the mortar to be effective.  Most people pour it off and save it in order to add some back in to get the mortar to the consistency they desire.

Can Flue-Set be used outdoors?

Yes, Flue-Set is a hydraulically setting mortar that is non-water soluble.

How can I slow the set-up of Flue-Set?

The addition of Citric Acid or .10lb of baking soda to 100lbs of Flue-Set will retard set-up.

How do I introduce water into Flue-Set?

Start with 1/2 of the material and mix with 1/2 of the water.  Add extra as needed.  Do not retemper!

What is the coldest temperature I can use Flue-Set?

Mortar should be utilized at temperatures above 32°F and temperatures should not be allowed to fall below that before mortar is able to set-up.

Can Flue-Set be used to parge smoke chamber?

Yes, please note that firebrick must be very clean (all soot must be removed) or Flue-Set will not stick. 

What are common issues with Flue-Set curing?

Flue-Set sets up unusually quick and will begin set-up within 15 minutes of mixing.  (The addition of Citric Acid or .10lb of baking soda to 100lbs of Flue-Set will retard set-up and allow more time to construct.)  A soft Flue-Set joint is usually caused by retempering.  Flue-Set must NOT be retempered; this ruins the mortar and it will not set-up properly.  To repair a crumbling and degraded joint that has been retempered; grind or rake out joints with a screwdriver 3/4" to 1" deep and repoint with Flue-Set that has been mixed properly.

Can I use Alsey Firebrick Stain and Color Enhancer in vent free fireplaces?

Alsey Firebrick Stain and Color Enhancer is formulated for use in vented fireplaces.  For vent-free option see Inventory #2A4150 Vent Free Black.

Can I use Alsey Firebrick Stain and Color Enhancer on any firebrick?

No, Alsey Firebrick Stain and Color Enhancer is specifically formulated to coat Alsey Firebrick.

How do I apply Alsey Firebrick Stain and Color Enhancer?

After laying up the brick, use a painters brush to individually paint each brick.  For a monochromatic look for the bricks and mortar use a large sponge to apply over entire firebox.

Can I stain my firebrick prior to installation?

Yes, but please note when wiping mortar joints transfer of color will occur.

Can I mix/blend the Alsey Firebrick Stain colors?

Yes, Alsey stains may be mixed to create custom colors.  However, do not mix any other products or additives with our stain.

What is the coverage of 1 quart of Alsey Firebrick Stain and Color Enhancer?

One quart of Alsey Firebrick Stain and Color Enhancer is enough to accomplish 2 coats on approximately 75-100 firebrick.

How do I clean up Alsey Firebrick Stain?

Alsey Firebrick Stain and Color Enhancer is water soluble.

What is Dry Milled Fire Clay?

20 mesh dry milled plastic fire clay.

Is Dry Milled Fire Clay a mortar?

No, there is no setting agent in Alsey Dry Milled Fire Clay.

What is Dry Milled Fire Clay used for?

Old time masons have added portland and sand to create a mortar.  This does not comply with building codes (see fireplace bulletin).  Currently it is used as a loose insulating layer to set bricks in, it is used extensively in foundry and pottery work, and used in manufacturing processes for other products.