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Worried about bricks inside chimney being unsupported

Discussion in 'Building' started by NewbieH, 8 Jun 2017.

  1. NewbieH

    NewbieH

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    Hi

    We recently had a ground floor chimney breast opened up for the installation of a cooker. The appropriate steel has been placed across the top of the opening. However, I am worried about bricks and building materials higher up inside the chimney which don't appear to be supported with anything.

    I've attached a couple of pics.

    The flue for the ground floor fireplace runs up the left hand side, then there is a column of bricks (which now seems to just be hanging) with two thirds of the right hand side being filled with brick rubble a bit higher up. I'm assuming the right hand side 'stuff' is for the first floor fireplace (not in use), but again, the rubble appears to be hanging without any support, and if I poke it (gently) brick debris falls down. Should something have been done to support this internal brickwork? What should I ask the builder to do?

    Thank you!

     
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  3. John D v2.0

    John D v2.0

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    Yes the bricks shouldn't just be held รบ by the mortar, won't need much to stop them dropping down. If the builder didn't do the column of bricks out he should have supported them.
    It won't need much, if it was mine even a couple of bricks or similar cut into a hole each side and mortared in and packed above with dry mortar would be enough. Prop them first in case they drop on your head while you're doing it though.
    Someone with more experience will be along I'm sure with a simpler solution.
     
  4. NewbieH

    NewbieH

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    Thanks John. That doesn't sound too bad a job. My first thought was some sort of brackets attached to the wall with something spanning the gap to support the bricks/rubble. I've just made that up though I'm not a competent DIYer! :D

    Any other thoughts from anyone?
     
  5. vinn

    vinn

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    OP,
    Why not post a pic showing your bedroom hearth and chimney breast?
    And post another pic showing the whole front face of the c/breast including the opening for the cooker.

    Do not go cutting out any bricks.
    The flue on the left needs sweeping - possibly with flails - and venting top and bottom.

    Your pic shows a cooker extractor flexi vent - its an unsuitable vent for a number of reasons - solid wall venting is best.
     
  6. NewbieH

    NewbieH

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    Hi Vinn

    Thanks for this. I've attached a pic of the front of the ground floor chimney. The bedroom fireplace is completely bricked up and plastered over so there's probs not much point.

    Does the chimney need sweeping even though we're not using it - we're venting directly out on the other side? The stack has been removed above the roof line.

    Flexi vent - noted.

    Any help much appreciated.

    IMG_0333.JPG
     
  7. vinn

    vinn

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    OP,
    It makes it much simpler to advise you if you do whats suggested?
     
  8. NewbieH

    NewbieH

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    Here's the bedroom chimney. The darker patch is where the plaster was patched.

    IMG_0335.JPG
     
  9. vinn

    vinn

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    All redundant flues need venting - your two flues each need a bottom vent.
    You appear to have used gypsum plaster on the chimney breasts and in the opening - lime/remedial render should have been used.
    Given that the jumble of off-cuts and mortar has lasted this long, then there's no reason to disturb it now.
     
    Last edited: 9 Jun 2017
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  11. NewbieH

    NewbieH

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    Thanks for this. We took everything back to brick and plastered with limelite lime based plaster (the closest we could get to lime on our budget). I'm happy to leave things alone if it's been like that for 50 years, I'm just not sure that's the case in this instance. I think the builders' have removed part of the brickwork separating the two flues, and in doing so, left it without support. The rubble - I have no idea!
     
  12. vinn

    vinn

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    Good choice - Limelite is a a great choice - I was wrong in thinking it was gypsum.

    The jumble you are looking up at is inside the bedroom c/breast - its the base of the upper flue.
    The builders have removed some of the "Feather" and the left hand flue "Throating" - neither would have been supporting the jumble.
    Feathers are often built into the surrounding brickwork.
    Your "feather" is the RH wall of the single flue - you only have two flues in the c/breast from the bedroom up.
     
  13. NewbieH

    NewbieH

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    Aah that makes sense! Thanks. So the jumble I'm pretty ok to leave? The other brickwork is wobbly (the column bit). Should that be supported as it's no longer part of the larger structure below it? Thanks!
     
  14. vinn

    vinn

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    What "column bit" are you referring to?
    In pic1. looking up you can see the jumble, and on the left the feather.
     
  15. NewbieH

    NewbieH

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    The feather. Some of the bottom bricks are loose.
     
  16. vinn

    vinn

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    Its a bit late in the day for remedial measures - & how come you are having to give direction to your builder?
    Someone has unsettled the brickwork without thinking through what they were going to do next.
    Any work eg. a short L-bracket would depend on how much access you have - perhaps best to leave it alone.
    Has a vent opening through the back wall already been core drilled?
     
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