Chimney opening - no arch!

Discussion in 'Building' started by jmgh, 4 Jan 2022.

  1. jmgh

    jmgh

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    13EF3786-B0C3-427A-B775-04AC8A7DBC3B.jpeg Hello,

    I’ve just opened up a previously bricked up opening in a chimney breast to reinstate a cast iron fireplace. You can see where the original fire was removed - the area was rendered in with cement which I’ve now removed. The replacement skirting was concrete too! First time I’ve seen that.

    anyway, I was expecting to find a brick arch at some point, but If there is one it’s way higher than the top off the original mantle.

    I’ve got a bit of oak which would make a suitable lintel (and would give me something to secure the new fireplace to), just wondering if this will prove problematic when it comes to making good? ie will the wood move and the plaster (lime) fall off? Only a bit of it will extend out beyond the fireplace itself. I’d rather avoid using a concrete lintel if possible.

    many thanks in advance.

    John
     
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  3. mrrusty

    mrrusty

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    In our house the arches are indeed above the mantle of the cast iron fireplace with the lower ends of the arch just below. A concrete lintel is the easiest. I'd take those unsupported bricks out - definitely later infill. Slot in a concrete lintel where you want it and fill back up above. Small section concrete lintels - 100x70 are easily cut with a disc cutter. Chain drill (or disc if you can stand the dust) 1/3 to 1/2 a brick to make the recess for the lintel to avoid too much wacking.
     
  4. jmgh

    jmgh

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    Many thanks for your reply mrrusty.

    So you reckon I should keep working up until I reach the arch, then lintel and infill again?

    there must be an arch up there somewhere right??

    Cheers,

    john
     
  5. mrrusty

    mrrusty

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    Basically yes - you don't need to expose the arch if you don't want to. You can remove the infill bricks safely. It's only a triangle of bricks above an opening with brickwork either side that can ever fall down, because the bricks support each other from the sides diagonally upwards.
     
  6. jmgh

    jmgh

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    Thanks again. Sounds like a plan.

    best, john
     
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  8. tell80

    tell80

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    You intend to install a new CI fire surround? The surround will typically have four fixing lugs.
    What about a fire back and grate etc. or any kind of appliance fitted in the fireplace?
    Has the flue been swept or will it be swept?
    Do you intend to use the new arrangements for any other purpose but decorative? This is important if you intend to use an oak lintel?
    An angle iron for a lintel is a possibility - you can cut it to length with a hack saw.

    Dry fit the new surround against the chimney breast face, and any needed fireplace opening or linteling adjustments will become obvious.
     
  9. mrrusty

    mrrusty

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    Yes, agree also a good option, but as concrete lintels of the size needed are <£10 and readily available it's much easier to use one than track down a short length of angle iron - unless you have a piece knocking about of course. Definitely if it's intended to be a live fire rather than just ornamental (as I suspect) then additional considerations are needed.
     
  10. jmgh

    jmgh

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    Thanks Tell80,

    No plan to use this fireplace, so we won’t be getting it swept but I guess it makes sense to use steel or concrete rather than timber in case anyone in the future decides to fire it up!
    Fireplace has 2 fixing lugs, and two small bits that extend at the bottom that look like they should drop into a slot in the hearth.

    thanks again.john
     
  11. tony1851

    tony1851

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    Quite often, instead of a brick arch, you'd find a small piece of flat metal bar, usually about 1" x 3/8", to support the bricks; this fitted in neatly with the courses and avoided having to make a former for the arch. As mrrusty pointed out, it's only a small triangle of 3 or 4 bricks which has to be supported.
     
  12. lostinthelight

    lostinthelight

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    I would sweep the flue as any soot can absorb moisture out of the air which can drip or cause the soot to fall .
     
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