How to Remove Chimney Below Roof Line in 4 Simple Steps
The simplest way to stay secure and safe when removing a chimney below the roof line.
Learn how to chip away starting with the top of the pot and completely remove it brick by brick.
Get all your questions answered on how to repair the roof, prepare for new roofing, or raise the roof after removing the chimney below the roof line.
4 Steps Guide on How to Remove Chimney below Roof Line
Removing the chimney starts from the top down. If you’re not trying to retain it by shoring it up properly for architectural reasons or simply because you don’t want to repair the hole in the roof removing it will leave behind, the project will always involve safely taking down the chimney stack first. Take the chimney stack down to below the roof line so it no longer protrudes through the top of your house.
The chimney stack is the part that extends up through the roof and is visible from the outside of the home. It must be taken down or properly and securely shored up so it doesn’t come crashing down through the house after the rest of the chimney has been removed.
Once it is removed, it will leave behind a hole in the roof that will need to be repaired. In order to be able to seal off the roof, you will first need to remove the chimney below the roof line so it is even with or below the roof. Otherwise, you will not be able to lay boards and roofing shingles or tiles to cover the hole since the protruding chimney stack will interfere with this work. Here’s how to remove chimney below roof line in 4 simple steps.
First make sure you take all of the necessary safety precautions from sealing off the area from pedestrian traffic below to making sure no debris falls through the open flue. Next, remove the chimney pot and the cement casting located at the very top of the stack and begin removing brick by brick.
Once you reach the flashing, you can now begin to seal off the hole in the roof and laying fresh shingles or tiles before rejoisting and shoring up the inside attic properly and safely with steel beams.
Safety must be the first step
Safety is your main concern
Safety must be the first thing to set into place before beginning any work on the roof or chimney stack. The dangers of taking the stack down extend beyond the possibility of it falling in through the roof and into the house. You must also consider anyone who may be helping with the work from below or anyone who may pass by at the ground level while you’re working.
Also, make sure the ladder or scaffolding is not resting against anything that could shift while working, make sure the bricks and debris does not fall down the chimney flue opening, and be careful to properly haul off debris.
If you hire a contractor to do the work, they will make sure the area is secured and safe for the work to begin. Trying to learn how to remove chimney below roof line yourself can be done, but be extra careful to first make sure you have taken every step toward safety. It may sound like common sense, but it’s best to put safety first.
Rope off the area below
While the work is being done up above the roof line, the debris will be coming down and possibly falling down onto the yard, sidewalk, or street below. If the chimney stack is on the side of the home that is above a street, you may need to check with local traffic control to have the street blocked off. If it is above your yard or a walkway, completely block it off so no one accidentally passes by to be greeted with falling debris.
So, the first area you will need to secure is this area to protect unaware passers by as well as anyone helping you remove the debris from below. Rope off or put caution cones around the area where bricks or debris could fall. Once it’s blocked off from traffic, foot traffic, or an unaware passer by, make sure no one is below the demolition area.
Secure the ladder or scaffolding
The next section to make sure is secure will be the scaffolding or ladder where you will be standing to work at the roof line. Many people don’t think it completely through when they rest the ladder against the building only to discover that it is wobbly and dangerous.
Make sure neither the ladder nor the scaffolding is leaning against the chimney stack that you are removing, since as you remove the stack the ladder will begin to shift if it was previously resting against it.
Also, do not rest the ladder or attach scaffolding to the gutters as they could give way as well. You don’t want the actual support system that is holding you up, so you are be able to reach the roof line to work on the chimney stack removal, to collapse. If it does, you will come down with it or be left stranded on the roof top.
Secure the chimney
Finally, you will want to make sure no bricks or debris fall down the flue into the open chimney and potentially down into the living space or below where you won’t be able to clean it out. Often when you are removing the stack, the remaining chimney system is still intact. If this is the case, it may not have been sealed off.
This means that the inside of the chimney is open from the top down leading all the way down to the inside chimney breast and through the opening into the living area of your home. If this happens, it’s a horrible mess to clean up. If the debris falls underneath the entire chimney section, you may never be able to clean it up.
To secure the open flue area, stuff it with an old dust rag inside the flue before any work begins. To make sure you can remove it later, you may want to attach a string around the rag so it can easily be pulled out after the stack has been removed.
Begin chipping away to remove the pot
Chip away starting with the top
At the very top of the chimney stack is a venting release opening called a pot. Often this is made of clay but is held tightly in place with a solid concrete casting block. Once the area is completely secured and you are wearing proper safety clothing and gear, begin chipping away at the top of the stack until you are able to slide out the center pot. This may require tapping the top of the pot firmly in an outside direction with a hammer and then splitting the concrete cast that was holding it in place with a special tool to slide into the cracks to lift off the concrete and remove the pot inside.
Brick by brick removal
Once the top pot and concrete cast has been removed, it’s time to begin removing the bricks one at a time. This work is a step by step process and may require patience as you work your way down and around. Brick by brick, start working your way down the stack and around the sides until you reach the flashing. Once you reach the flashings, very carefully strip down the bricks to the plasterboard ceiling in the room below and make sure bricks don’t protrude through the roof.
Clean up the opening
Begin the roof repair with the edges of the open hole
Now that all of the bricks have been removed down to the roof line, you will encounter the flashing which was put in place as a seal around the stack to keep water from leaking through the roof. Now that the chimney stack is gone, and there is a big hole in the roof, you will need to close off the opening, so begin to strip off the old flashing around the edges that is no longer needed of what once held the chimney in place. Strip off the flashing and surrounding roof tiles as well as any timber that is no longer needed or is damaged or rotten especially if the roof had previously leaked around the flashing.
Fit new timbers to prepare for new roofing shingles
Repair the hole left in the roof top with new wood to lay across for support and then cover with a sheet of plywood that covers the opening. Fit any timbers that needed to be replaced and will be needed for support of the roof. Lay the wood across the open hole in the roof to prepare it for shingles to be set in place on top to protect the home from exterior weather damage, animals entering, and pests.
Blend in the new shingles or tiles with the old
Whether it’s intended to be temporary simply to protect the roof from weather damage or the final result, you will want to lay down black paper first. Now it’s time to lay the roofing material. If you are not replacing the entire roof, you will now begin blending and weaving the new shingles or tiles interlocking with the old ones. Overlap the tops and sides of the interlocking shingles or roofing tiles about 100mm. Unless you are replacing the entire roof, try to match the roofing material as closely as possible with the existing roofing material.
Move the work to the inside of the attic
Raise the roof
Once you remove the chimney below the roof line successfully, it’s time to make sure the inside roof line in the attic is properly secured so it doesn’t come crashing in through the house. This may require replacing some joists with steel beams to make sure it is as secure as possible with no future issues.
If your chimney removal work involves further chimney removal, continue down brick by brick from the top down making sure everything is properly shored up and secured with strength as you go.
Ask for help
Trying to learn how to remove chimney below roof line yourself? If you follow these four simple steps, you can turn it into a do-it-yourself project. However, don’t ever be afraid to ask for the help of an expert to properly remove your chimney below roof line. Make sure it’s done safely and properly. Otherwise, you could have a dangerous working area, a leaking roof, or an attic that comes crashing in on you. Why not learn from the expert team at Diligent Development.