Fireplace bricks and mortar


My wood burning fireplace has a lot of missing mortar between the bricks right behind where the logs go. I went to Home Depot and they sell fireplace mortar in a tube (the kind you need to use with a caulking gun). The area that needs the mortar has a lot of soot around it. Would I need to clean the soot off before applying this mortar stuff? If so, how does one clean years of soot? Thanks.
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Remi, I dont throw around the term "have a pro look at it" alot but in this case your desciption of "a lot of missing mortar" conserns me. If it is that way in the hearth it is bound to be that way in the chimney and you need to know if it is. Cracked or missing mortar is a seriouse problem and can easily lead to a house fire.
If that suggestion doesnt appeal to you wallet but you still like the fireplace then you are just like me. My fireplace was in bad shape due to mortar issues, a bad crusty worn & damper, but I still liked the look of the fireplace. I didnt want to bother with repairs so I bought a nice candelabra and a chimney balloon. I use the candelabra and light it up when I want some abmbiance (just like I used the fireplace. Doing this actually saved money on my gas bill since the fireplace didnt suck the heat out on my home when i was using it. The Chimney Balloon helped me seal up the damper nice and tight when i wasnt using it at all.whick also prevented the den from feeling so cold in the winter. I know this is a diferent way to look at the issue with your fireplace, but the best I can offer is waht worked for me.
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