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Efficiency/safety of reusing faux-finish cast iron fireplace face

Posts: 28
Location: Lexington, KY
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We are remodeling our 8-apartment building as DIY/earth-friendily as possible. In one of the units we're going to pipe our flues into the old coal-burning chimneys to vent the wood burning stoves.

In both units there are original late 19th C. cast iron fireplace faces that extend 9.5" from the plaster/brick wall/chimney and go 44" high with a stone mantle.

I'm wondering others' thoughts on reusing this as a heat barrier.

Current design ideas and questions:
- Use the cast iron face as it was before: 6 to 9.5" (6" near base, 9" extension as mantle support) off the wall and attaching to the wall somehow -- any ideas!?
- Line the wall/old chimney hole behind the cast iron face with with sheet metal or cement board -- which would be better?

There is no permit required in the city where I live though we want to be safe and follow standards. The wood stove in question is 22"x22"x24" vermont casting.
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