Removing lintel to brick arch

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Hello I have just moved into a 1902 terrace.

I’ve removed the old gas fire and exposed a couple of bodged lintels and found the original arch.

Can anyone advise if they think it would be okay to remove these two lintels and new bricks back to the original arch and bricks at the side.

If so any advice on the process/how to work towards removing it would be great.

Young first home owner on a budget having a go.

Cheers
 

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Dig out a little of the mortar immediately below the arch. If you come across a thin flat bar of wrought iron below the arch, you should be OK taking out the lintels below, as long as the original opening wasn't subsequently widened beyond the end of the bar.
 
The brick arch was built first along with the wider opening, so is the structural opening.

The concrete lintel and the throat and the dodgy bricks below were inserted afterwards so are removable. However, there may be loose bricks in the flue being held up by the throat, so be prepared for some to drop out.
 
Thanks for this. How would you approach first? Knock a couple of the immediate bricks beneath the lintel and see what happens
 
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As @tony1851 says, dig in just below the arch and see if the iron support is there right under the arch bricks. They often go right through the sides of the breast and bend down under the side plaster and restrain the breast from spreading. If the iron is there and supported both sides - happy days -, everything below it can be just removed.

If there isn't an iron, I would probably square off the opening with a new concrete lintel just below the arch - only needs a small section e.g. https://www.cwberry.com/prestressed-concrete-lintel-100-x-65mm. and fill in and re-mortar the bricks between the new lintel and old arch. Technically the arch should be self-supporting, but in reality crumbly lime mortar may let some bricks come loose. You'll need a decent disk cutter to cut the lintel. If you plan to do a fair bit of brick/block and patio work, then one of these is a good investment https://www.screwfix.com/p/evolution-r230dct-230mm-electric-disc-cutter-220-240v/520kr

It's a fairly safe job to have a go at as long as you don't remove the sides of the breast - the arch/lintel only supports a triangle of bricks above the opening, so even worst case only the brick immediately above the arch opening is at risk should anything come loose. If it all seems quite tight, just take out the infill

If it all does seem to be a bit loose, and you want to get those big lintels out and replace with a smaller one, you could get a 2x3 and screw and plug it (brown plugs, 5x100 screws) right across the opening temporarily with a fixing either side and a couple in the middle on the arch bricks. Swap the lintels over, mortar up some new bricks between and take the 2x3 down.

Assuming you get it all out and are left with an opening and you are going to line it because the bricks are too rough to keep, then use metal top-hat section battens and screw fire board to these. This will isolate the board from all the salts in the bricks which will otherwise cause problems.
 
The previous comments have got it covered, which reminds me. Not to put you off, just be aware of possibilities. Your chimney is 120 years old, throughout its life fossil fuel combustion has a high Sulphur content embedded in the soot and residue. Any condensation that forms absorbs this into a mild sulphuric acid which has been grazing on the lime mortar. So, yes, allow for those loose bricks. Chimneys are really, really dirty places, the soot is made of fine particles, any dust clouds get everywhere. not only wear gloves, but facemask is essential.
 
The previous comments have got it covered, which reminds me. Not to put you off, just be aware of possibilities. Your chimney is 120 years old, throughout its life fossil fuel combustion has a high Sulphur content embedded in the soot and residue. Any condensation that forms absorbs this into a mild sulphuric acid which has been grazing on the lime mortar. So, yes, allow for those loose bricks. Chimneys are really, really dirty places, the soot is made of fine particles, any dust clouds get everywhere. not only wear gloves, but facemask is essential.
Hygroscopic salts will likely be present in the masonry also. Talked about often on this forum.(y)
 
Hi all.

Lintels removed and arch exposed! Thanks for all the advice really appreciate it. There is also an iron bar underneath which is good news.

Now I need to decide what to do …
Leave the stone hearth and level the back?

The plan is to get the inside boarded and plastered and tile the inside bottom, leaving the stone hearth and arch exposed.

The concrete that is in the middle at the back needs cutting back slightly to be flush with the rest of the front… or just leave it, make a frame and self levelling compound the back ready for tiling….

Bit of a ramble but any advice on appreciated.

I have attached a couple of inspo pics.
Cheers everyone
 

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I should add, this fire place will not be used as a fire, purely decorative …. We have a log burner already in the living room.
 
Good work! - see my note above about using metal top-hat battens to board out. If you don't the water in any dabs/plaster will leach salts out the brickwork.
 
If it was me/what I have recently done on ours, is make a wooden frame around the front hearth high enough so the top is where you want the new hearth to be, and fill it with a cement mortar mix. Level it off, let it dry, remove the timber shuttering frame and you have a nice hearth base to tile or whatever. A bit of oil (engine/olive whatever) on the inside of the timber frame will stop the mortar sticking to it.

It'll be easier to bring the front up to the level of the back than dig out the back.
 

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