The Best Chimney Removal Advice Available

Can I Remove Chimney Breast
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Chimney Removal Advice To Help You Get Started

Many people attempt to renovate the look of their home and gain extra needed interior space by having their chimney removed. When you remove the interior chimney breast, it frees up a lot of much-needed floor space. Though, it also leaves behind a hole in your floor and walls that will then need to be repaired and resurfaced for use. Since the chimney is usually built within the walls and storeys of your home’s structure, removing it requires some thought and planning. You don’t just want to pick up a hammer and start whacking at it. This is especially true if your home shares a wall with an adjoining neighbour. Of course, there are right ways to do this and there are very dangerously wrong methods as well. Before you start to chip away at that first brick, it’s best to get as much chimney removal advice to help you get started as you can. G

Know your options, know the building regulations and rules you will be required to abide by, and never be afraid to consult with a structural engineer or building expert to get the job done right and in a timely manner. After all, it is you who will be living inside the home after work is complete. You won’t want any unpleasant surprises like a chimney stack crashing in through your roof top if the work is done improperly. Get the best chimney removal advice from the experts who know how to get this work done safely and quickly without leaving your home in disrepair with holes in the roof and walls or debris littered about.

How to Remove a Chimney Breast in 2 Simple Steps
How to remove a Chimney Breast

Chimney removal method options

Some bring the entire chimney down from the top of the house to the lowest storey while others choose to leave the exterior stack so they don’t have to patch a hole in their roof. Or, maybe they just like the historic architectural look of the protruding stack. If the chimney stack is the only section left in place, there will be special attention needed to make sure it is securely held up and sealed off properly. Obviously, make sure you have all of the proper planning permissions in place before you begin especially if you live in a semi-detached home or if your wall where the chimney rests is shared with a neighbour.

Usually any work done on the inside of your home won’t require special permits. However, work done to the outside may, and if you share a wall with someone else, you will need to understand and abide by the Party Wall Act of 1996. Basically, this will merely entail your informing the neighbour of your intended renovation work and sometimes it will require that you obtain their permission to complete the work.


Chimney Breast Removal Ground Floor Only Permits

Start at the top and work your way down.

Begin work at the chimney stack

Regardless of whether you will be removing the entire chimney or just the chimney breast to free up some inside floor space, you will need to begin your work at the chimney stack. The stack is the section of the chimney that extends beyond the roof line and is visible from the outside of the house. It will either need to be completely removed as you work your way down the chimney to the opening inside the home called the chimney breast. Or, you will need to make sure the stack is safely secured above as you begin to remove the chimney that helped to hold it in place. You can also ask for expert chimney removal advice before proceeding on your own.

Remove or shore up

You will need to decide if you will be removing the chimney stack or leaving it as is in place. If you leave it as is, you will first want to consider that it will need to be shored up securely before you can remove any of the rest of the chimney below. Otherwise, it could come crashing down on your head. Or, at a later date, come crashing through the ceiling leaving dangerous and expensive repairs behind. This is a very important step in the bigger scope of the project. If you are leaving the stack in place to avoid the work of repairing the hole in the roof it will leave behind, it will be especially important that you properly shore it up now. Otherwise, the work you sought to avoid will become a bigger hole and possibly catastrophic.

Chimney Breast Removal Ground Floor Only Permits
Chimney Breast Removal Planning Permission party Walls

Removing or shoring up the stack

As previously mentioned, you will start your project on the roof top, and you must first decide whether you are going to remove the chimney stack or shore it up to be securely held in place so you can go ahead and remove the chimney below inside the house. There are specific considerations depending upon which way you decide to go, removing the stack or shoring it up.

Remove the stack

If you decide to remove the stack and work your way down the entire chimney for removal, you will start your work on the roof top. Take all of the necessary safety measures to make sure no one working above and no one helping below becomes injured by falling debris or bricks. Make sure your ladder or scaffolding is resting against a sturdy side of the house and not against the gutters that could give way or against the stack you are removing.

Then, begin working until you remove brick by brick down and around the outside of the stack until it becomes flush with the roof line. Before you can go any farther, you will need to repair the hole in the roof left behind. If you are leaving the chimney under the roof line, the maximum height of the chimney breast remaining inside the house below the roof line must be equal to or bigger than the height of the brickwork in the stack above the roof.

Shore up the stack

If you don’t want to repair a large hole in your roof left behind from the chimney stack removal, you will need to make sure the stack is securely held in place before you begin knocking out the chimney below. If the stack is left in place, you will need to cap the chimney pot to ensure any moisture from rain or condensation won’t enter the remaining chimney stack and become a problem. Cap it with a ventilated cowl and insert an air brick at the lower level. The stack must be properly supported. This is done in one of two ways, either using Gallows brackets or RSJ Rolled Steel Joists beams.

Chimney Breast Removal Building Regulations
Chimney Breast Removal Planning Permission party Walls

Using Gallows brackets v. RSJ Steel beams – Chimney Removal Advice

Before you decide how to secure the stack in place, it’s a good idea to consult with a structural engineer. Of course, a solid steel beam is going to be very secure and is often the preferred method. Though, costs and other conditions may make you decide that Gallows brackets will suffice. Gallows brackets should only be used under certain conditions or there is the danger of them giving way. These brackets should only be used if the stack is not completely vertical, the neighbour’s chimney on the shared wall has not been removed, the surrounding wall structures are a minimum of 215mm thick with brickwork in sound, solid condition, and the chimney is no more than two storeys high.

The maximum width of a chimney breast for brackets to be used is 1200mm and a maximum depth of 340mm. The angle strutting should be at a 45 degree angle with 450mm between securing bolts and 1: 1: 6 mortar packing. In addition to these careful considerations, a steel plate needs to be placed at the top of the brackets to prevent soot and debris from falling from the remaining chimney. Steel beams may be necessary, especially if the Gallows brackets are not going to be suitable. Consulting a structural engineer will be the most cost and time efficient manner to go about figuring out what size and how to install the steel beam.

Additional chimney removal advice and considerations that must be followed.

Fire safety concerns

It may sound a bit strange that you will need to consider fire safety when removing the chimney that once expelled the smoke and fumes from a fire inside. But, this is a very important concern. Whichever material you use to shore up the stack, they need to provide 30 minutes worth of fire resistance protection. The easiest way to do this is to use two layers of 9.5mm plaster board with a single layer of Gypsum fire line rated plaster board.

Chimney Breast Removal Building Regulations
Chimney Breast Removal Structural Engineer Cost

Consider your neighbour

Considering your neighbours is the most important chimney removal advice we can give. If the wall along which the chimney rests is one you share with a neighbour on the other side, you will need to take some extra precautions to make sure their structure remains intact and safe as well. If the separation between the flues is damaged, carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide could potentially leak from the neighbour’s flues. Replace any brickwork that is in need of repair. Conduct a smoke test to check for leaks. This should be done by a registered engineer.

Check with an expert before you begin a renovation project
Chimney Breast Removal Steel Beam

Never do the following – The most important chimney removal advice.

Steps to avoid

There are a few things that should never be done when removing a chimney or part of a chimney. One of these things is Corbelled Brickwork into the brickwork that is already in place should never be done because you will not attain a sufficiently strong bond between the brickwork already in place and the new brickwork. Also, never allow timber bearers onto the ceiling joists or the floor since the load will be too heavy to bear and will cause it to collapse.

Ask for help when in doubt

Never be afraid to ask an expert for help when removing a chimney. A poorly done job could result in some potentially dangerous scenarios ranging from a gas leak, to a fire, to your entire house crashing in. Follow expert chimney removal advice tips to help you get started. Get the top notch chimney removal advice from the very best experts at Diligent Developments who are always willing to help you learn.

Chimney Removal Before and After

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