Backboiler Removal - Chimney Breast Repair with photos

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Just moved in and on a tight budget (very tight budget!) when I removed a large section of hard board that was nailed around the fireplace I found a bit of a mess. Years ago I think 1985-1990 the back boiler was decommissioned and a wall hung boiler installed, but it looks like someone has cut the supply and return to the old back boiler presuming for safety reasons one pipe has been cut inside the fireplace (to prevent any pressure built up in case another fire was to be fitted but then it’s been left half done. I think possibly it was going to swapped or repaired for another back boiler but then they gave up and fitted a wall hung one.

There are various loose bricks and it looks quite bad.

Can anyway advise from the photos how bad this actually is? And how unsafe/unsound it is? It seems to be holding it’s own but I’ve put a few wooden supports in while I work out what to do. It looks to have dropped a bit in places as the bricks are not level but there is no sign of movement above it unless the wall has been plastered after it happened.

The concern I have is that above the boiler there is a metal reinforcing plate about 1cm thick but it does not run the full span of the gap so nothing is really fully supported (I’ve tried to put an arrow on the pictures to show this).

The whole boiler looks loose and the pipe going out to the right (when looking at the boiler) are easily visible which I believe are normally the hard bit to look at. When I lever the boiler with a bar it shifts a bit so I’m assuming it could be prised out. Is there anything behind what I can see? Or is this it, if it’s loose should I try and prise this out or still smash it up in situ (is there anything protruding that would hinder it’s removal)?

However when I remove it is there an RSJ or something further up the wall? What’s to stop the rest of the brick work and chimney (just tumbling down?), or shall I try and build up the sides before I lever the boiler out? Will this be possible?

Should I add an RSJ or Lintel somewhere and what size of fireplace opening is safe to leave? I.e. how wide do the edge piles have to be to make this safe.

Can I use any old house bricks to pack this up or should I get engineering bricks (with the holes in them or the small concrete bricks. Also how is is possible to actually get the new brickwork to take any weight as anytime before I’ve carried out pointing or filling with mortar and bricks it tends to shrink away so I’m worried that the only time the new brick work take any weight is when something collapses downwards!

Do I need to add an ackro/strongboy when I’m doing the work and should the steel plate be left in place?

I’d be very grateful for any advice anyone can offer, I was going to put in the plumbing section but I think this is more of a structural building type question.

Thanks in advance…… View media item 18657 View media item 18658 View media item 18659 View media item 18660 View media item 18662 View media item 18663 View media item 18666 View media item 18667 View media item 18668 View media item 18667 View media item 18668 View media item 18669 View media item 18670 View media item 18670 View media item 18671 View media item 18672 View media item 18673
 
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Fairly straightforward this.

If you are just blocking the fireplace up(dont forget to put a vent in) you should be able to pullout most of the bwk surrounding the boiler without disturbing the main fireplace surround.
The small steel bar is holding up the brickwork (but only a 'triangular' area of bwk above the bar should come away if you remove it).
The remaining bwk should be self supporting.
You can then just fill in the fireplace and triangle over with salvaged bricks or blocks and no extra support should be needed.

If you dont want to do this, temporarily support the bar, build small piers either side to support the bar (Tie the bricks into the fireplace reveal with frame ties plugged and screwed into the reveals)
Remove the temp support then fill in the centre with bricks.(make sure you leave projecting bricks from the piers to tie the centre bwk into)
You can pack the gap to the underside of the bar with slate and mortar.

Make sure you set the bwk back from the surrounding plaster so you can plaster the new bwk flush with the existing.

Hope this is of help.

Any queries let me know.
 
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Thanks Pauly113, if I want to keep a square hole as a feaure in the middle and put a bowl inside I guess it's fine to just brick up the pillers.

My concern was that due to the amount of bricks that have already been removed as soon as I pulled out the back boiler the whole chimney would come crashing down! opps

Should I try and build the side pillers before pulling the back boiler out or doesn't it really matter and how much support do I need to give to the metal plate? does it need to be an ackro or will the wood support I've used do?

the metal plate only extends a little way to each side which is unsupported now that a large amount of blocks at the front of each side of the back boiler have been removed.

thanks for your help
 
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It looks to me like you have a fairly 'typical builders' opening. By this i mean the chimney breast will have been constructed with a much larger opening, having a lintel or header bricks higher up.

What you are seeing is the later addition of a fire grate within the builders opening.

If it was me i would hack some of the plaster off higher up to see if there is a lintel. If so, i would then remove all of the sooted rubbish seen in the image then set about tidying up the larger opening.

If the builders opening is too large simply batten or box or build it out. at least you will be rid of all the, difficult to deal with, sooted masonry.
 
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