Builders opening 60's House

13 Oct 2022
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United Kingdom
Hi there, looking for any advice and help.

We have recently renovated our house (built in 1963), standard brick construction. When we moved in, we had a 70s mistermister type gas fire. We had this disconnected and the small builders opening plastered over. I have attached pictures, for reference, the small hearth underneath it was just a free-standing thing which looked homemade and there for decoration.

In our previous house which was a 1920's terrace, we had the opening widened and knocked out. But this was luckily, an easy job as there was a huge opening with a brick arched lintel under the plaster, I'm guessing due to the period of the property. We had a freestanding bioethanol fire in the opening which was lovely (pics attached). We are now wanting to replicate this here.

Appreciate we've done this in the wrong order having already plastered and changed our minds... but is there any way to tell the approximate size of the opening without having to knock all the plaster off the wall? I've attached some pictures of what was there after the previous gas fire was removed. We never properly looked behind the metal sheet covering the opening which I now regret not exploring this a bit further. It doesn't look like there is any patch plastering going on as if the original opening was made smaller when the mistermister was installed. Also looks like the original skirting board across the whole wall at the bottom.

To my surprise, when the carpet came up there seemed to be some sort of concrete base on the floor, which looked like there used to be a hearth there. Would this indicate a wider opening than what is possibly in the picture? Maybe some sort of grander fire place?

Wondering how big of a job we have on our hands. We would probably get someone in to do the work anyway including installing widening and installing a new lintel etc.

If it helps, there are a couple of houses on the road with log burners in that look to have an opening around 900x900 if I had to guess. But I am unsure if that was by design during the install, or whether this is the typical size of the opening when knocked back.

Will send any more pics if that would help.

Chimney breast is measuring 37cm deep and 170cm wide currently. Also due to their being a separate chimney at the back of the house which was home to a separate gas boiler, I don't think there was any back boiler fire in the living room.

Thanks in advance.


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What do want to now install - a gas fire, a log burner etc. or what?
What do want to now install - a gas fire, a log burner etc. or what?
Hi tell80.

Want to install a freestanding bio ethanol fire so just need a sufficient opening with enough of a gap around to house a unit about 50cm square.
Do you have all the tech details for the appliance including the Mfr's installation dimensions?
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No I don’t tell unfortunately. Haven’t bought it yet, I am just making enquiries at this stage. If it’s the same as our previous one, there won’t be any install instructions - these are flueless freestanding fires so can go anywhere. Cheers
You can google the handbook for installation and maintenance if you have selected a serial# for the appliance
You might be lucky- 60s build might well have a proper hearth and a realistic sized flue. If you have left the fireplace open you can stick a camera up the chimney (your phone on video taped to a stick will do) and see what you can see in terms of brick arch, lintel or whatever. Or just suck it up and hack the plaster off :)

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