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Can i widen this chimney you reckon?

Discussion in 'Building' started by par1sons, 25 Oct 2021.

  1. par1sons

    par1sons

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    Hi all,

    So ive purchased this property built around 1930/40 and i want to open up a blocked fireplace. Over the weekend i stripped everything back but not all that happy at the opening size for what i have in mind. Looking at the brickwork however, it would suggest to me that the fireplace opening used to be larger when looking at the brick pattern. So with that in mind i want to remove around about a bricks length either side of the current opening. Now the only thing putting me off is the fact the chimney flu is inline with the current opening so im worried if i took out a bricks worth either side it might collapse. Im thinking to install a concrete lintel 3 bricks up as well. Whats your thoughts?

    Thanks all

    Andy
     

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  3. Tigercubrider

    Tigercubrider

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    are there any houses in the local area that look like yours?
    Maybe knock on some doors and see if their chimney looks the same or is bigger?
     
  4. par1sons

    par1sons

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    Hi Tiger,

    my house is detached and is the only one of its style so i cant get a lead of any of the neighbours unfortunately.

    I was looking at the brickwork again today and i have a fair few header bricks across the wall, plus my chimney stack is on the outside of the property which makes me think it will be well tied in. It defo looks like the opening was bigger once upon a time.

    I think im going to brave it, stick a concrete lintel in 3 bricks up above the current steel linten, then whip out the bricks underneath.

    Would be good to get some more feedback though before i go all brave lol

    Andy
     
  5. conny

    conny

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    Not a builder so don't take my opinion as gospel, ( I could be talking a load of crap), but looking at the 4th photo I seems it was much wider because you can see what 'appears' to be a straight vertical joint on each side covering 1 and 1/2 bricks width. The 'joints' also appears to go 3 courses above the present opening, suggesting that may be the original opening size. If you put a lintel in I would make sure it goes way past those two vertical joints to ensure it is wide enough and properly bedded on a good thick section.

    As I said, I'm not a builder, just my opinion on what I can see in the pics.
     
  6. Harry Bloomfield

    Harry Bloomfield

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    I agree it does look as if it was once wider and taller. I would be trying with a metal detector, to work out how wide that steel lintel is. If it was wider and taller, then there should already be a lintel in there. Can anything be seen with a mirror looking with a good light at the back/inside?
     
  7. par1sons

    par1sons

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    Thanks lads for the replies.

    Yeah it's the mortar line which is suggesting to me it was once bigger by a brick length,, min either side and defo 3 bricks rows above. The steel lintel which you can see in the pic is only about 2 inches wide which surely is easy under spec which makes me think they're could well be another lintel further up, possible on the 3rd row above the opening perhaps.

    I've decided in my head im going to whip it all out this week and whack a concrete lintel in before hand mind, then remove the below bricks etc.

    I'll post some pics once done.
     
  8. fillyboy

    fillyboy

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    Rake out some mortar where you think the original lintel may have been to see if there is a steel present. If not, it's worth hiring a couple of extra short acro's and a couple of 'strongboys', just as insurance.
     
  9. tell80

    tell80

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    youll have no problem removing the infill back to original opening ht x w. If there is Any lintel 3 x courses up it will probly be a simple metal bar. But why do you want to open up the fireplace?
     
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  11. par1sons

    par1sons

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    Strongboys are a good shout, for the cost of hiring them, it doesnt make sense not to use them.

    Ill rake the mortar and see whats there, im kind of hoping its still there that way im thinking to leave it and not put in an unsightly concrete lintel.

    Reason for opening back up is to have a multi fuel cast iron burner installed. I need the width and height back to make it work and to make it look visually right on the eye.
     
  12. fillyboy

    fillyboy

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    Our next discussion will be the evil that is 'heat proof plaster'.
     
  13. par1sons

    par1sons

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    Fillyboy, no plaster mate, leaving walls as brick and sealing, going for the industrial look lol
     
  14. fillyboy

    fillyboy

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    Wise move.(y)
     
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  15. conny

    conny

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    Yep, thats what we have. Log/multi-fuel burners look so out of place with a background of nicely plastered walls.
     
  16. par1sons

    par1sons

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    So then, after taking out the edge bricks for the concrete lintel it quickly became apparent this brick wasnt collapsing, in fact getting the brickwork out was tough as hell, so i cancelled the strongboys hire. One thing which made me laugh when taking out the brickwork was the steel lintel which was already there, was in fact a gate hinge LOL.

    You will see the concrete lintel is in but only has some temp wooden blocks until i wait for the log burn survey to be completed. Got a feeling i will need to take more bricks out behind the lintel for the registration plate to fit. Once thats done i will then lob some slate in and get it cemented etc.

    It took me about 3 hours in total and thats because - as mentioned - the brickwork and cement was solid and that was with a hammer drill chisel.
     

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  17. Keithmac

    Keithmac

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    Nice tidy job there .

    I'd like a log burner but we are in a Smokeless Zone, will have to have a look into it.
     
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