Rotten fireplace lintel

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Hi

I have searched all over the internet and haven’t managed to find anyone with the same problem as me so I thought I’d try posting!

I recently bought a very old stone built Cornish farmhouse with hideous 70s fireplaces.

Having stuck my head up one I could clearly see a larger opening with brick arch and metal lintel so knocked it out.

I then stuck my head up again and saw a much bigger lintel higher up the wall.

I took the plaster off and found a huge wooden lintel over the original fireplace which has been bricked in to make a smaller opening.

The wood lintel is suffering from wet rot and woodworm but when scraped back there is good wood underneath but there are places (supporting stones above) that are 10cm of packed dust.

I would like to restore the original fireplace and ideally keep the lintel, though I’m not opposed to inserting an additional lintel or inserting steel rebar into the wood to strengthen it.

Firstly does anyone have any advice?

Secondly, if I’m getting a tradesperson in to advise who do I need to talk to? (Builder/Carpenter/structural engineer?)

 
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i guessthats an outside walland the chimneybreast projects out the other side. can you show pfotos of the outside wall, is it rendered, and a shot in the room showing more of that inside wall?
have you been on the roof and looked over the stack and its flashings.the flue will need sweeping.
most of the wet rot is maybe concealed in that wood lintel with moisture penetrating from outside and down the flue from the roof and lack of ventilation.
if you want to use a open fire then none of the lintel can be exposed inside the flue and you will ned to camera the flue.
a local all round building contractor, dont mistake a builder for a bricklaayer, will sort it out.
any roof work you want before and after photos.
is there a fireplace in any room above?
 
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Hi
Although it’s not clear from the photo that is a chimney breast wall with the the outside wall about a meter behind I will add extra photos later.

The chimney is definitely leaking and we are planning to have it rebuilt and lined and a woodburner installed before we actually have a fire.

There is no visible fireplace upstairs and we aren’t planning to try and open one out.

My main query is if people think we can keep that lintel and whether it will need any additional support if we want to knock out the bricks? We are going to seek professional advice as well but it can take ages to get someone out.
 
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You want a builder for this job, and he'll either do the brickwork himself, or employ a brickie. He'll stick in a couple of acrows with strong boys positioned above the wooden lintel, then remove the newer opening, and then the wooden beam so he can assess the true extent of the damage. It may be treatable and repairable, or may need replacing, and you could replace it with an oak sleeper, and that would be far away enough from the stove to be safe.
 
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cant be sure from your photo but its probly ok to remove the lower bricks because the wood lintel will support all the stuff above. but it would be best to insert a couple of acrow big boys as insurence.
if the lintel is found to be well rotted out it might have to come out.
are you saying the c/breast wall is a metre thick?

open up all fireplaces and sweep and camera.
what about any rendering?photos of outside wall will help.
 
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Outside wall and a couple of clearer pictures of chimney breast
D67A5A93-F9A6-4820-8C1D-8795A3BD1902.jpeg
D385C765-F03A-459D-9CC1-C7C2418AEB3B.jpeg
22D84AF1-9687-4EBE-A0BE-46065EE408B4.jpeg
 
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youhave the worst kind of pointing.thats strap sand and cement pointing. it should all come out and be raked back for 20mm to 30mm and then repointed with a soft sand and lime mortar flush pointing. strap pointing retains water that can penetrate the walland can cause the stones to shell there surfaces. cement is to hard.
the green marks are splash marks with water splashing down from above.
how many terminals or pots do you have on the stack? that will tell you probly how many flues go into the stack.

it looks like the beam should be removed and if possible treated and then put bac if possible,it would be a shame to lose such an old detail. then again, it might be possible to treat it in place . thats an on site call
contact a heritage/conservation site with your photos and ask for an opinion.
the rubble shows hard sand and cement render thats been knocked off the wall. my 2 pee is only render with sand and lime.
does that room have an air brick?

old local neighbours might have had experience with similar
 
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If the lintel needs to be replacing I think it would be worth having a 'replica' made from a similarly curved length of green oak, easily sourced and cut,
 
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