Fire cement – its uses and limitations

Fire Cement is a ready-to-use putty which is heat resistant up to 1250oc. There are a number of manufacturers and brands and it’s available in different sizes in both black and cream. The cement can be used to seal joints in wood stoves, especially around the area where the flue rises out of the top of the stove. It can also be used to repair firebricks. Fire cement when dry is a non-flexible solid sealant (unfortunately “high temperature” flexible silicone sealants degrade above 300 degree Centigrade which is above the normal operating temperature of your stove). The expansion and contraction of your metal stove as it heats up and cools down will inevitably crack any fire cement around joints on the flue and stove pipe.

Cracks in fire cement, or even where it has fallen out, are only a critical issue if smoke is coming through. Assuming your flue and stove are correctly installed and properly maintained, the negative pressure within the flue will draw smoke and fumes up your chimney, preventing any problems and any smoke coming out. But do remember to have your Carbon Monoxide alarm properly located and test it regularly; it provides an immediate warning of any problems.

It’s a routine and simple job to redo the joints with inexpensive fire cement (typically £2.50 for a small tub). First ensure the area is clean, free from dust and rust. To use, wear a latex glove and apply a liberal amount of cement on one finger. Then work the cement well into the cracked or damaged area. As soon as possible, gently heat dry the repaired surfaces, gradually raising the heat to full operating temperature over 3-4 hours. Apply further cement to any fire cracks that may appear.

Use straight from the tub! We always have stock of fire cement in our showroom.


Fire Cement



 Lime mortar and plaster for fireplaces

As part of our stove installation service and where we are “knocking out”, enlarging or building a fireplace, we can offer the option of having the fire opening rendered in Lime (to be precise that’s a base coat of a lime and hemp mix with a lime plaster finish coat).

Lime is a traditional building material with a number of advantages over modern materials:

– it breathes and lets moisture out so is particularly suitable for Victorian brick buildings and older Cotswold stone buildings which don’t have cavity walls or damp courses.
– any small cracks that appear as a building settles, typically get sealed up naturally as the lime mortar/plaster re-carbonates (Lime does not “dry out” in the way we’re used to with modern materials. It sets through a process of carbonisation as it is exposed to Carbon Dioxide CO2 in the air)
– lime is a softer material than modern cement and plaster which means it will give rather than cracking Cotswold stone
– it is a traditional material free of any chemicals, particularly suitable for older buildings and new environmentally friendly buildings. It is usually required for any Listed building.
– using Lime to render a fireplace takes no longer than using sand and cement


There’s one thing to watch out for when choosing to have a fireplace rendered in Lime. Lime takes longer to set through the process of carbonisation than the time sand and cement takes to dry out. So, to minimise the risk of plaster cracking, instead of recommending the stove in a newly rendered fireplace isn’t used for 1 week, we recommend the stove isn’t used for 4 weeks.

 Is the Government going to ban woodburning stoves?

Err, no. Not at all.

We really shouldn’t be surprised anymore at how news headlines often distort facts, but the negative publicity about the really positive things included in the Government’s consultation paper published in May 2018 on its 2018 Clean Air Strategy has certainly been puzzling!!

The full story is here: and Chapter 6 is the interesting section on “Domestic burning”

Here’s our summary of the key points:

1. Good news – from 2022 only new efficient, high-performance woodburners can be sold. But there’s no suggestion that existing woodburners installed before 2022 cannot continue to be used. Many of these “Ecodesign 2022” stoves are already available; the difference in performance between an Ecodesign stove and a standard woodburning stove is staggering (need convincing? Come and see one in action at our showroom in Stroud).
2. Good news – suppliers will be stopped from mis-selling firewood that they claim is dry or seasoned when they can’t demonstrate it’s actually ready to burn with a moisture content of 20% or less (the plan is that this won’t apply to “bulk” deliveries of firewood for people to dry/season themselves; it’s mainly targeted at garage forecourts etc selling nets of unseasoned logs. Sound familiar?)
3. Good news – local authorities will get new powers to clamp down on illegal domestic burning eg open fires burning wood in urban areas. Open fires and bonfires are absolutely the biggest source of pollution from wood smoke, not properly used woodburning stoves. Local authorities already have some powers to do this but enforcement is difficult and smoke control zones are out of date as towns/cities have developed
4. Good news – certain types of coal with high levels of sulphur emissions when burnt will be banned
5. Good news – people with woodburning stoves are encouraged to get them serviced and swept regularly

What’s not to like?

The government is inviting anyone who’s interested to comment on their proposals before 14/8/18 (just follow the link above to the consultation document).


 I’m not sure how much firewood I need to order to last me over the winter?

We have a rule of thumb which may be helpful. Many of our customers who use their woodburner a few evenings a week over the winter, order 2 cubic metres for the winter. If you use your woodburner most evenings, you’ll probably need 3-4 cubic metres. If you use your woodburner all of the time, day and evening, then maybe 6 cubic metres or more.

Please remember this does of course depend on the output and efficiency of your woodburner, as well as the type of firewood you’re ordering (for example a cubic metre of kiln-dried hardwood provides more heat than a cubic metre of seasoned softwood).

If you have an open fire, because they are so inefficient, you’ll need at least 3 times the amount of firewood you’ll use in a woodburner to get the same amount of heat.


 Delivering to us is not straightforward, how do I arrange this with you?

As part of the checkout process, there’s a section where we ask you to tell us about any special arrangements we need to make for your delivery.

 What’s your lead times for delivery?

We can usually deliver within a couple of days but this does of course depend on how busy we are. Sometimes we can add orders onto delivery runs we already have planned and get to you the next day (or even the same day!).

 When ordering online, how do I know when delivery will be?

As part of the checkout process, there’s a section where we ask you to tell us your preferred delivery date(s). We’ll contact you to confirm the delivery day and approximate time and will do our best to get to you when you prefer.

 Do I need to be there when you deliver?

Not if you can give us some specific instructions on where you’d like us to leave your firewood. If you’re not going to be at home, please let us know so we won’t try contacting you on the day of delivery to let you know we’re on our way.

 How many nets of logs in a cubic metre?

We pack one cubic metre of logs into 20 good size nets (net size is 450mm x 700mm).

 What does the moisture content mean?

Moisture content is an effective measure of how well the wood will burn. Soggy, unseasoned wood will smoke and cause your flu to become lined with tar and soot, reducing its effectiveness and also making it a very real chimney fire risk. Here at Elcombe Fire & Wood we guarantee that all our seasoned wood has a moisture content of less than 25%, so you can be assured of a hearty, roaring fire.