brick arch in chimney breast cracked

10 Dec 2008
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United Kingdom

I have pulled the plaster off a bricked up fireplace, which I want to open up, and discovered that the keystone is loose in the brick arch, with a crack running up from it through the second course of bricks in the arch, and also through 2 course of bricks above the arch.

I am wondering if I would be best installing a reinforced concrete lintel below the arch (where there is already brickwork from when the fireplace was bricked in), or above it, or do I need to do something about the arch itself first?

My concern is that because the arch is split from the middle, it probably means that the pillars have spread slightly, so installing a lintel might not stop the problem...


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if you want to make a feature of the arch then wedge some slate in the crack then point up.

if you want to square the fireplace off then use p.c.c lintels.

i wouldn't imagine that you will get any further movement.
I'll probably go with a concrete lintel a few course under the arch, but I'll probably wedge the arch in the process anyway and point up, as you've suggested.

The span from outer edges of pillar to pillar is 65" (1650mm) - will a 65mm x 100mm lintel be enough, or should I go bigger?


as there exists a degree of support from the arch, then i would say ok to p.c.c. lintels.
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