Chimney Breast Repair

Discussion in 'Building' started by John Davison, 10 Jun 2016.

  1. John Davison

    John Davison

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    Hi, we recently purchased an 1800s stone built house and are in the process of restoring it and bringing back some of the features.

    In the master bedroom the chimney breast has been blocked up and plastered over and we want to restore it. We have found an old victorian bedroom fireplace and need to open up the builder opening.

    When we have taken the plaster off, the brick built chimney breast is in terrible condition - when the chimney was filled it appears that all the support for the lintel was removed on one side so the wall has partially given way and is starting to crack in the familiar 'pyramid' way you would expect when a lintel fails. The right hand side of the lintel is resting on a single skin of brick which is dubious at best and the left has side is floating - most of the weight seems to be resting on the bricks used to block it up.

    We obviously need to get this repaired and wanted to get some opinions on what order to tackle this in...

    I am considering using strong boys to prop the right hand side of the fireplace first and to rebuild that corner as a double thickness. Then once that has set, prop the wall above the lintel and remove it, and as much of the broken wall as possible, then replace the lintel and rebuild the wall above before installing the fireplace and replastering.

    Thoughts? Thanks
     
    Last edited: 10 Jun 2016
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  3. vinn

    vinn

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    You really need to post photos of what you've got - I'd find it difficult to advise you based on what you say, & what you describe in your other post.
    Take photos of the face, and cheeks of the chimney breast where the cheeks meet the return wall.
    It might be an idea to also post photos of the problem first floor floor issues?
     
  4. John Davison

    John Davison

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    Photos added, thanks for the help.
     
  5. vinn

    vinn

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    Thanks for the photos.
    What I'm looking for at the abutment of chimney breast cheeks and return walls is any signs of the brick chimney breast pulling away from the stone(?) wall.
    Is this a full chimney and chimney stack - nothing has been removed?

    Laying some plates of heavy section timber on the floor you could, as you proposed, use a Strongboy or two to take the weight on the RH side, and centre, while you rebuild and insert a new lintel or arch - given the closeness of any opening to the RH side perhaps a lintel would be best.
    Remove the old lintel before any rebuilding, the Strongboys will now act as lintels.

    You might read some of my (or any others) back posts advising on the variables encountered during remedial work on chimney breasts, stacks & flues?

    One thing for you to be certain of at this stage is: what will the final arrangement be eg. a wood burner, deco surround etc? These appliances & fixtures will have dimensions you have to work to.
     
  6. John Davison

    John Davison

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    Hi Vinn,

    Thanks for all that. The chimney seems well tied to the stone wall, it only the front of the breast that appears to have issues. The chimney is a full breast above and below, nothing has been removed and the flue from downstairs has been lined and a log burner fitted. All looks good in the loft too. I'm going to wait until we get the replacement fireplace to be sure of measurements but as we don't need the fire to actual work I'm just planning on supporting as you describe, rebuilding with a new lintel and then plastering over. Would you advise running the lintel the full width of the breast given the narrow cheeks just to give it as much support as possible? This is what has been done and left exposed in the lounge.
     
  7. vinn

    vinn

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    Unfortunately you cant lintel across the whole chimney breast - the downstair's flue is coming up on the left hand side. When you remove the blockage and rubble you will see, on the left, the dividing "feather" that separates the flues. Be cautious with it.
    All flues, as you will know by now, need sweeping and smoke testing, and CO alarms.
    Best practice is to render chimney breasts with a 3:1 sand & lime mix.
     
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