Removing Victorian Fireplace - Where is the lintel? see pic

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Hey all, glad I found this forum!

I'm just in the process of removing the open fire from our living room.

I've remove the fire surround etc and I'm trying to establish if/where the original lintel is. Here is a photo:

lintel.jpg


So far, as hopefully is clear from the photo, there is just a pile of poorly placed bricks above the fireplace.

Later this week I'm going to chip away more plaster upwards in the hope (sooner rather than later) of coming across a lintel.

Is it normal that the lintel is so high?

I'm just a bit apprehensive since this is the first fireplace I have removed!


:confused:
 
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There probably isn't one, it may have been a brick arch or soldiers that were removed when the new lintel was inserted - that's why you have the dodgy bricks above it. Why do you want it anyway? What are you doing in its place?
 
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If it has not been removed previously, there should be an arch bar in there. A wrought-iron bar about 10mm thick by 75mm wide shaped in arch form with flat at each end built into brickwork. It should be about 300 to 375mm abover the existing lintel sat on back brick. In where you have not stripped plaster.
old un.
 
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Basically I want to remove the fireplace and install a wood burning stove.

I was hoping the original lintel would still be in place since removing it doesn't seem to make sense.

Having looked around the net, I've seen a few images of Victorian chimneys where the arched lintel is fairly highly positioned. I guess there is still a small hope that our could be a high one, still hidden by the plaster.

If there is no lintel in place I guess I'll have to get a builder in to put one in place which I guess wouldn't be cheap :(
 
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There could be a concrete constructional lintel in there a few courses higher up, or sometimes just a throat forming lintel (part of the bit you can see poking down) is used but I’ve also seen just a lump of 6mm thick strip of steel used &, on small openings no lintel at all, they can be largely self supporting & once the fireback & throat are installed & the mortar has set it holds it all together. I’ve actually removed bricks & installed lintels for new 1200mm wide window openings in a cavity gable end wall without propping & not lost a single brick, I don’t recommend you try it though.

Difficult to make out from the photo but if there is a lintel, my guess is it’s just above that 1st brick course or a throat forming lintel has been used. Just go carefully, it’s unlikely to fall down unless you start taking out the whole chimney breast (if you have one) or opening up & removing part of the wall itself.

If you’re installing a wood burner I assume your aware its notifyable building work unless you use a HETAS installer! Also take some time to read these links;
http://www.diynot.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=211524
http://www.diynot.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=1626464#1626464
& also some of the other archive posts on installing wood burners/stoves; it may just save you some serious heartache. ;)
 
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Thanks for everyone's advice. I'll try and remove some more plaster tonight and see if I can find a lintel. I'll take a photo and post it here.

I guess if I do find a lintel it should be OK to remove the bricks beneath it.

I didn't realise there were building regs relating to wood burners, but it doesn't surprise me.

I wonder how much a builder would charge to open out the chimney should I decide it's too risky to continue myself
 
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I didn't realise there were building regs relating to wood burners, but it doesn't surprise me.
Reason for the B Regs. is that a poorly or incorrectly installed stove can kill you + you will need to produce a certificate of compliance for the stove installation when you come to sell up. ;)
 
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mnb

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1. Well i've learned somethings from the posters, thanks for that.

2. There seems to be a concrete lintel - just above the metal? There's a remedial line just above, suggesting earlier work.

3. Dont remove anymore brick until you have dimensions of whats going into the opening.

4. The damp could come from sulpherisation - depends on the terminal, and where the flue is located: internal or external wall?

5. The flue in question and all other flues req. sweeping and smoke testing. Stack terminal(s) req. inspection.

6. I believe a min. 7" flue req. for a SS liner.

7. Stay away from lime putty, lime slaked in water, dangerous stuff. Render is fine.

8. Come back about 100mm all round from your present hack-off outline
Strike a level line across the top and two plumb lines at the sides
Cut into these lines with a utility knife
Hack-off up to the cuts
This will give you nice straight edges to work to
If this is a chimney breast then stay away from the return corners
 
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Tonight I have chipped away more of the plaster, and I have found what looks like a possible lintel:

top.jpg


The top most exposed row of bricks, around 56" from the floor, are the original chimney bricks so I guess that must be the original lintel. However, it looks more straight than curved so I don't see how it could support the weight from above.

Could there possibly be a metal support beneath it? I don't want to chip away the mortar beneath the bricks. Perhaps I should get some metal detecting device.

The row of bricks above the 'lintel' is looking dodgy too unless it is normal:

top2.jpg


I guess the question is, would it be foolish to remove the bricks/mortar from below this lintel without consulting a builder?
 

mnb

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I give up on this one. You can take a horse to water etc.
The OP has had a rake of helpful posters with suggestions and ignored them all. Fair play, if that's how you wish to proceed,but why ask for advice in the first place?
 
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@mnb

I'm not quite sure I understand how I have offended you? I am very grateful for all the replies and suggestions. Up until this evening the original lintel still had not been exposed so we were speculating as to what kind of lintel, if any, could be in place. Now it has been exposed I have posted a photo here so that a more experienced person than me might take a look and perhaps comment on it.

I am not an experienced builder and this is my first (just bought) house so obviously I want to be careful.

I haven't ignored any of the suggestions! Indeed I have read them all with interest. I only had a claw hammer and a kitchen knife to work with to remove the plaster so I was not able to do as you suggested at the moment. Also what I have been removing is more like a mortar rendering skimmed with plaster so it's been tricky just removing the little I have been able to with a knife and hammer.
 
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That looks like the brick arch/soldiers that I was talking about. The original fireplace wasn't a fireplace as such but a place where there was a large black iron range in situ. It's pretty common in older houses.
If the bricks look solid you'll be able to open it up again and then rebuild it as per your choice. Contrary to popular belief chimney breasts don't fall down as they are keyed into the wall at the back and the side.
 
J

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I'd be tempted to get a qualified builder in to have a look. He could then advise. A bit better than just putting photo's on here.
 
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That looks like the brick arch/soldiers that I was talking about. The original fireplace wasn't a fireplace as such but a place where there was a large black iron range in situ. It's pretty common in older houses.
If the bricks look solid you'll be able to open it up again and then rebuild it as per your choice. Contrary to popular belief chimney breasts don't fall down as they are keyed into the wall at the back and the side.
That's good advice. Take all the infill out to leave the builders opening. At worst you could lose a few bricks around the arch.
 

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