Q1: Can i Reduce a Chimney Breast

Discussion in 'UK Home Improvement' started by Martyn Driscoll, Jul 3, 2003.

  1. Here is a picture of the chimney breast in my living room, its massive and
    is taking up alot of room, i would like to remove the bricks from the left
    hand side and take it back a layer. If this work is done it will be the
    same width and depth as the chimney upstairs. The bricks on the left have
    nothing above them, as can be seen in this image:
    http://www.ideapolis.plus.com/martyn/chimney1.jpg

    My questions are:

    1. What is going to be invovled, time scales, support structure etc
    2. Who can i get to do this properly and soon
    3. What is it going to cost, i live in South Wales

    I think this may be a challenge for you, thanks

    Martyn D
     
    Martyn Driscoll, Jul 3, 2003
    #1
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  2. Martyn Driscoll

    BigWallop Guest

    Re: Can i Reduce a Chimney Breast

    "Martyn Driscoll" <> wrote in message
    news:4jSMa.46709$9.net...
    > Here is a picture of the chimney breast in my living room, its massive and
    > is taking up alot of room, i would like to remove the bricks from the left
    > hand side and take it back a layer. If this work is done it will be the
    > same width and depth as the chimney upstairs. The bricks on the left have
    > nothing above them, as can be seen in this image:
    > http://www.ideapolis.plus.com/martyn/chimney1.jpg
    >
    > My questions are:
    >
    > 1. What is going to be invovled, time scales, support structure etc
    > 2. Who can i get to do this properly and soon
    > 3. What is it going to cost, i live in South Wales
    >
    > I think this may be a challenge for you, thanks
    >
    > Martyn D
    >
    >


    Hi Martyn,

    Are the joists for the upper floor resting on top of this brickwork ? Or
    are they actually into the wall above it ?

    If your joists are supported directly in to the wall then I don't see why
    you couldn't take the whole thing and build back what you want. You'd be
    better to get a structural engineer to have a good look and advise of what
    is possible because there could be some kind of support plate, going by the
    picture, on top of the right hand side of the brickwork.

    If it is what I suspect, then you'd have to support the joist with Acro
    Struts before you could demolish anything, then fix joist holders to the
    main wall to take the weight again.


    ---
    BigWallop

    http://basecuritysystems.no-ip.com

    Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
    Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
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    BigWallop, Jul 3, 2003
    #2
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  3. Re: Can i Reduce a Chimney Breast

    Ok, i'm going to keep checking out the prices of a structural engineer, but
    in the mean time i've taken some close ups of the top of the chimney, my
    Girlfriend has also read your reply and now wants to take away the whole
    thing! I would really appreciate your opinion on this as i dont want to get
    a builder out, tell him what to do and have the whole chimney come down on
    me in a years time! I want it to be super-supported!

    Heres the pics:
    http://www.ideapolis.plus.com/martyn/chimney1.jpg
    http://www.ideapolis.plus.com/martyn/chimney2.jpg
    http://www.ideapolis.plus.com/martyn/chimney3.jpg
    http://www.ideapolis.plus.com/martyn/chimney4.jpg
    http://www.ideapolis.plus.com/martyn/chimney5.jpg
    http://www.ideapolis.plus.com/martyn/chimney6.jpg

    Martyn D


    "BigWallop" <spamguard@_spam_guard_.com> wrote in message
    news:NMUMa.2017$...
    >
    > "Martyn Driscoll" <> wrote in message
    > news:4jSMa.46709$9.net...
    > > Here is a picture of the chimney breast in my living room, its massive

    and
    > > is taking up alot of room, i would like to remove the bricks from the

    left
    > > hand side and take it back a layer. If this work is done it will be the
    > > same width and depth as the chimney upstairs. The bricks on the left

    have
    > > nothing above them, as can be seen in this image:
    > > http://www.ideapolis.plus.com/martyn/chimney1.jpg
    > >
    > > My questions are:
    > >
    > > 1. What is going to be invovled, time scales, support structure etc
    > > 2. Who can i get to do this properly and soon
    > > 3. What is it going to cost, i live in South Wales
    > >
    > > I think this may be a challenge for you, thanks
    > >
    > > Martyn D
    > >
    > >

    >
    > Hi Martyn,
    >
    > Are the joists for the upper floor resting on top of this brickwork ? Or
    > are they actually into the wall above it ?
    >
    > If your joists are supported directly in to the wall then I don't see why
    > you couldn't take the whole thing and build back what you want. You'd be
    > better to get a structural engineer to have a good look and advise of what
    > is possible because there could be some kind of support plate, going by

    the
    > picture, on top of the right hand side of the brickwork.
    >
    > If it is what I suspect, then you'd have to support the joist with Acro
    > Struts before you could demolish anything, then fix joist holders to the
    > main wall to take the weight again.
    >
    >
    > ---
    > BigWallop
    >
    > http://basecuritysystems.no-ip.com
    >
    > Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
    > Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
    > Version: 6.0.495 / Virus Database: 294 - Release Date: 30/06/03
    >
    >
     
    Martyn Driscoll, Jul 4, 2003
    #3
  4. Martyn Driscoll

    BigWallop Guest

    Re: Can i Reduce a Chimney Breast

    "Martyn Driscoll" <> wrote in message
    news:u4bNa.45383$9.net...
    > Ok, i'm going to keep checking out the prices of a structural engineer,

    but
    > in the mean time i've taken some close ups of the top of the chimney, my
    > Girlfriend has also read your reply and now wants to take away the whole
    > thing! I would really appreciate your opinion on this as i dont want to

    get
    > a builder out, tell him what to do and have the whole chimney come down on
    > me in a years time! I want it to be super-supported!
    >
    > Heres the pics:
    > http://www.ideapolis.plus.com/martyn/chimney1.jpg
    > http://www.ideapolis.plus.com/martyn/chimney2.jpg
    > http://www.ideapolis.plus.com/martyn/chimney3.jpg
    > http://www.ideapolis.plus.com/martyn/chimney4.jpg
    > http://www.ideapolis.plus.com/martyn/chimney5.jpg
    > http://www.ideapolis.plus.com/martyn/chimney6.jpg
    >
    > Martyn D
    >
    >
    >


    Hi Again Martyn,

    These give a better view of the site (the magic of digital technology eh).
    The pictures show that the floor above is actually built around the breast,
    and here's the but, this part of the chimney system is actually holding the
    weight of the hearth and breast above. In your pictures it shows blocks
    that stick out, on top of the brickwork you want to remove, and these will
    have a quite substantial stone hearth on top of them. If you can get access
    to the room above, you'll see that the hearth is actually very slightly
    larger than the length and width of these blocks. The stone forms the whole
    of the base for the fire above.

    To replace the brickwork with some sort of cantilever bracket system to take
    this weight is what you need, unless you can remove the whole lot right up
    to the roof (expensive). It also shows that the old fires have had some
    kind of back boiler heating system at some time in their life, so the breast
    has been built out around the boiler and fire grate, therefore, it is
    possible to remove the whole thing if you can get a builder to make good a
    system of taking that weight above.

    How the original system has been done is, they have taken the actual
    chimney's in to the main wall and built out from there to form the breast on
    each floor level. The breast creates a void for a thin back boiler and an
    open fire front. Between the boiler and the fire they build a draw shelf
    with fire brick, if you've found any they look a bit like a shrunken normal
    bricks. The draw shelf has a damper plate, sometimes called a draw plate,
    on the top which slides back and forward to cover either the fire in the
    forward position or the boiler when it is pushed back.

    The damper works by diverting the heat from the open fire down and out the
    back of the fire, sucking it by the natural chimney effect, and draws the
    heat over the boiler. When the boiler was hot enough the damper was pushed
    back over the boiler and allowed the smoke and heat to be drawn directly up
    the open chimney from the fire.

    So if you can imagine what is involved, you'll see that the breast built
    against the main wall is actually covering a hole further up the main wall
    that forms the real chimney.

    The problem is that the breast above is built in the same way and is using
    your brickwork to support it on its way upwards toward the roof. So it is
    possible, although I think could be costly, to remove the whole thing if the
    floor above could be supported safely on your level.

    Now planning permission and structural engineers will be able to give a lot
    better advise on this than me, so I'd say you should go to a local builder
    and tell them what you want, and see if any of them are competent enough to
    say that they can do it. No reputable builder will say yes to the job
    straight away unless you let them know that you know what is involved in
    doing it.

    Make sure you think about it before jumping in and getting stung with huge
    expenses for not doing it the right way through a local authority recognised
    builders firm. If they are well in with the authorities, they are more than
    likely to get plans finalised on the basis of their reputation and
    competency to do the work correctly.

    I hope this has answered a bit more about the work involved, and I hope that
    you do take the advice of a recognised engineer and not the word of a guy
    who's only seen the pictures. Good Luck with it, both of you. :))


    ---
    BigWallop

    http://basecuritysystems.no-ip.com

    Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
    Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
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    BigWallop, Jul 4, 2003
    #4
  5. Martyn Driscoll

    BigWallop Guest

    Re: Can i Reduce a Chimney Breast

    "Martyn Driscoll" <> wrote in message
    news:bfeNa.45416$9.net...
    > Cheers BW!
    >
    > Yeap, your right, there was a back boiler in the fireplace and there used

    to
    > be an emersion heater/tank to the right hand side of the chimney breast, i
    > took it out after we had a new combi fitted in the outhouse. I'm going to
    > ring the council now and get some numbers for builders, so i can get a
    > price.
    >
    > I'll report back soon!
    >
    >



    That would be good. When it's done, can I see the pictures PLEASE !!! ???


    ---
    BigWallop

    http://basecuritysystems.no-ip.com

    Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
    Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
    Version: 6.0.495 / Virus Database: 294 - Release Date: 30/06/03
     
    BigWallop, Jul 4, 2003
    #5
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