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Regarding arrangement of artificial logs... Most kits come with a diagram showing the intended arrangement, and they're designed to fit a particular burner. If you don't have that, just be sure that you're not completely blocking any ports on the burner. Otherwise it's mostly a matter of decorative preference.


Real wood goes black as well - products of combustion commonly called soot. If the device is set properly then there will be some, but if there seems to be a lot then get the device checked.


This should really be fixed from the outside first and an appropriate water barrier placed over the hole. If your only concern is closing the hole you could simply cut out a piece of plywood (mashed wood) to fit the whole and then use one or two small strips of wood to screw that piece into the surrounding wood. Something similar to the below: Then fill the ...

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