Chimney Removal

Some people want to remove either a chimney stack or a chimney-breast, or both:

  • because they don't want an open fire
  • because the chimney is damaged and removal is seen as a cheaper solution
  • to solve a damp problem
  • to make more space inside the house

At Bricks & Brass we recommend that you keep and restore chimneys:

  • removal is complicated, expensive and messy; scaffolding may be needed, the volume of rubble is significant and much of it is sooty
  • removal is almost irreversible
  • removal spoils the aesthetics of a house and its neighbourhood

If you still want to remove part or all of a chimney the options are:

  • reduce the height of the chimney stack, leaving it above the roof
  • remove the chimney stack to below the roof
  • remove the chimney-breast from one internal storey
  • remove the chimney-breast from all rooms
  • remove the chimney-breast from the attic or loft
  • various combinations of the above

In England and Wales, under the Party Wall etc. Act (1996), the written consent of the owners of a neighbouring house must be received before some projects can begin. Consider taking the advice of a surveyor with experience of this legislation. See our advice on this.

If the chimney stack is removed to below the roof, the roof timbers must be extended to meet the wall, and matching tiles or slates found to fill the gap.

If only part of the chimney breast is to be removed, the remaining brickwork above must be supported with an RSJ (rolled steel joist) supported on gallows brackets; a wooden beam is not normally satisfactory.

If a chimney breast is removed in a room, you must decide whether to replace the hearth; if you do this the joists and floorboards must be extended. Damage may be caused to the ceiling of the room below.

If any chimneybreast is retained, make sure it is well ventilated at the top and bottom. Any moisture in the wall or flue will tend to interact with the soot remaining and cause staining.