A stove and a chimney but no chimney breast

16 Jun 2010
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United Kingdom
I'm renovating a cottage. The old Parkray multifuel stove stands proud of the wall on a small 'hearth' with a horizontal rear pipe fitted into the chimney flue. There is a backsplash of horrible tiles behind the stove.
Access for sweeping is via a removable plate on the other side of the fireplace wall - which would have been outside but there is a ground floor shower room extension so the access plate is in the shower room :rolleyes:
The stove is fitted against a flush wall ie no sign of a chimney breast (either upstairs or down). How can this be? However there is a chimney stack on the roof and the wall is 2 foot thick - would this be enough to contain a proper chimney?
The previous owner has used the property as a holiday cottage for the past 25 years and says it was like this when he bought it.
Maybe the window counts as a recess and the wall is one big chimney breast? I suppose I need to check upstairs for boarded up recesses then check the loft to make sure the chimney is properly supported then get someone to bodge around behind the stove....
Please note these are not my furnishings. Shudders.....
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Is the shower room an extension on to the old property?
Maybe the chimney stack was built externally on to the rear of property and extended on to.

Some smoke tests would help assess, it's suitability
The stove is against an outside wall - ie not a party wall and the shower room has been built on to the outside of the original wall which still stands. Sorry I need to get some more pics.
Viewed from outside there is no sign of there ever having been an external chimney running up the house - though that doesn't mean there wasn't.
However looking at the stacks there has always been a fire - and there would have been a fireplace in the main bedroom.
I've seen scare stories on the net about chimney breasts being removed unsafely but weirdly, downstairs at least, the wall looks like the original untouched plaster. Upstairs is the dread woodchip so you can't tell.
First job is to get the local sweep (who may also have knowledge of the set up) to sweep and do a smoke test. When I (hopefully) get a new multifuel stove installed we would be checking out the chimney anyway and getting a liner fitted. One installer I spoke to said if they put the stove in the same position they would change the configuration with a vertical pipe which would be let into the chimney at some point. So the chimney would be swept from inside the stove as is usually the case.
The door to the left is recessed, the window to the right is recessed, the centre wall is therefore much thicker and forms the chimney breast.
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That's what I wondered about. However the wall to the front of the house is the same thickness so there is no 'extra' on the stove wall - if that makes sense. Plus in the bedroom above there is no recess but it is possible any recess was boarded over at some point to give a flush wall - apparently that's not unknown.
Ideally I would want to excavate the fireplace opening (assuming there is one!) behind the stove so that a replacement stove can be at least partially inset - inglenook style. Would love to restore a working fireplace upstairs too.
You must have a fully functional chimney constructed in to the wall, if not there would be evidence of this by now. You would at the very least be expecting staining on the walls, I would expect.
It is not unusual for them to formed in such away that the breast or nook is not seen or prominent.

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