Do you have a chimney on your home that you’re not using? You may want to consider removing it! These days, most people enjoy a central heating system in their homes, and there isn’t a need to have a chimney anymore. Some people choose to maintain their chimney because they like the look of it, but this can involve a lot of work that, in the end, isn’t worth it.
Chimneys can require a lot of upkeep, and if they aren’t properly maintained, it can cause cold air to penetrate into your home. This can negatively affect your heating bills in the winter, causing your house to feel damp. If you don’t use your chimney, stop wasting money by keeping it up!
Not only can unused chimneys let damp air into your homes, but they can also take up a lot of space in the interior of your house, especially in smaller houses. If you want to have a little bit of extra room, consider removing the chimney breast as well as the stack.
Before we move on, it’s important that you know what the word “chimney” entails. The word chimney refers to the entire structure from what you see on the interior of your house to the outer section that comes out of the roof.
A chimney breast refers to the section that is visible inside your home. This can refer to all floors, as some of you may have a multi-story house with chimney breasts on all floors. The hearth of a chimney breast is the part where you would stack your wood and light a fire. A flue is a square tube inside the chimney. It moves the smoke up from the hearth and out through the chimney stack.
A chimney stack begins at the uppermost room of your home and emerges out from the roof. As mentioned, the flue moves the smoke from the hearth and out through the chimney stack. This allows it to escape from the tube.
Most semi-detached homes feature chimneys that back up into each other in the middle of the roof. You’ll notice that there are front room and back room chimneys that come together in the attic and come out of the roof as a single chimney stack.
Detached homes usually feature chimneys on the side of the house and are rarely found in the middle.
If you own a semi-detached home that needs a first-floor chimney breast removal, the average cost you can expect to pay for a professional to remove it is £1500. This cost includes removal of the gallows brackets in the attic, a new concrete hearth to level out the floor, new plastering, and new skirting.
If you want to remove a chimney breast on the ground floor, while also maintaining the chimney breast in your bedroom, the job will cost £1775, and the project will take four days to complete.
If you’re interested in completely removing a chimney breast while leaving the chimney stack intact, you can expect the cost to be £2050, and the project will take five days to complete. Be prepared to spend an extra day and pay an extra £250 if there is a lot of extra plastering and stripping to be done.
Considerations to take if you want to remove your chimney
First of all, if you’re interested in removing a chimney breast or a chimney stack, you won’t need to worry about removing the entire chimney structure. This is a massive undertaking that can be time consuming and expensive. Most people choose to remove strategic sections rather than the entire chimney to save on cost.
Before you get started, you should consider the reasons why you want to remove a chimney. For example, if the chimney stacks have started to deteriorate, you may only need to worry about removing them. If that’s the case, you’ll be able to save on time and cost.
If you’re merely interested in removing chimney breast from the interior of your home to create more space, you’ll also save on cost and time, as you’ll only need to worry about renovating one room in your house.
If you want to remove a chimney because water is leaking through the chimney and causing condensation, you could also consider simply capping your chimney. This is a good option for those of you who want to save on cost.
Location is relevant
The location of your chimney is very important. The type of home you live in and the design of the chimney also matter. For example, if you want to remove the chimney breast from your bedroom in your fully detached house, you could run into problems as the exterior chimney stack will be left without any support.
If you live in a semi-detached home, chimney breast removal doesn’t pose as big as a problem, as the party wall will be able to support it. The party wall is the dividing wall between two semi-detached homes.
If you live on the ground floor and want to remove a chimney breast, you’re in luck as this type of work will not cause any problems to the structure of your home.
As is the case in any type of renovation work, you’ll need to make sure that your project meets the structural guidelines before you get started. If you’re feeling unsure, don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a structural engineer. They will be able to tell you if the work you want to do adheres to the legal guidelines required.
You’ll also need to contact your local building control department and local authorities to determine whether your planned work is legal. You’ll have to be willing to spend a little bit of time and money here, but these guidelines must be carried out. The building control department must approve your work before you get started.
If you live in a semi-detached home, you’ll also be required to honour any sort of party wall agreements you may have with your neighbours. This idea also applies to any sort of renovations on your home in general. If you don’t have permission to modify your building, you could run into problems with the local authorities.
Getting a quote for the job
Before you settle on a company or local tradesman for your chimney removal, you’ll want to shop around and get several different price quotes. They are the experts, after all, and they could potentially point out any elements that you may not be aware of. They can also help you determine if you could do the chimney removal yourself.
Here are some questions you should ask when getting a price quote:
Will you also take care of the cleanup and waste removal?
- How will you ensure that the rest of my home won’t get dirty with dust and soot?
- Will you contact the local building authorities, or am I required to do it on my own?
- Will you be responsible for organising the building control documents for chimney removal?
- Will a lot of re-plastering be required?
- How will you finish the hearth once the chimney removal has been completed?
Keep in mind that any trustworthy tradesman will have no problem contacting the local building authorities. You should also verify that the company you choose has public liability insurance for the chimney removal.
Chimney breast removal
Some of you DIY weekend warriors will want to remove a chimney breast on their own. If that’s the case, you’ll need to get in touch with a structural engineer who can give you advice and ideas for the design. You may have to spend a little bit of extra money here, but in the long run, it will save you from more expensive problems in the future.
And, to ensure that you get a completion certificate once the work is done, you need to provide the local building authorities with a complete and well thought out plan. An engineer can help you with all of that!
You’re also going to want to be aware of some other factors before you remove a chimney breast:
Gallow brackets can be used to support the chimney above removed chimney breasts. You’ll usually find these brackets fitted on both sides of the attic stack with a steel bar that stops bricks from falling. It’s not the most eye-catching solution, but you can usually hide it within the attic where no one will see it.
If a chimney breast is left to hang, it can be fastened in place by using adjacent joints. You can prevent bricks from falling from the bottom by installing a noggin with plywood underneath it.
If you want to remove chimney breast to convert your attic space, simple brackets may not be able to support the excess weight. Here, you can use steel beams to support the extra materials.
In some semi-detached homes, the chimney may not be on the party wall. This means that the chimney is not connected to the other chimneys in your building. You may share a chimney stack, but it will all connect at the ground level instead of in the attic.
Things to keep in mind for DIY
If you still want to move forward and take on your chimney removal yourself, there are some other points to keep in mind!
Make sure that you have the proper protective clothing and gear as chimney removal is a dusty and dirty job. You’ll need long sleeves, long trousers, gloves, protective boots, a mask, and protective eyewear.
You’ll also need to protect your home from any debris! Consider hanging plastic from the ceiling to collect any excess dust and rubbish that may fall into your living space as you work.
You’ll be required to remove the bricks one at a time to prevent damage and excess debris. This can be time-consuming, so be sure to invest in a good hammer and chisel.
Think about how you’ll finish the hearth once you’ve finished the chimney removal. You may also need to re-plaster some parts of the walls.
Removing a chimney stack
If you’re interested in chimney stack removal as well, there are even more considerations to keep in mind. Mainly, if you live in a semi-detached home, you’ll need to make sure that you’re allowed to move forward with the chimney stack removal. You’ll also need to be aware of any building regulations. You’ll also need to invest in some scaffolding.
Here is the kind of work you can expect from your chimney stack removal project:
- Install scaffolding around the chimney stack.
- Removal of cement flaunching, cowls, and pots.
- Removal of bricks
- Installation of new roofing felt, tiles, and timber.
- Waste removal.
If you have a standard sized chimney, two roofers can remove the chimney stacks within a half-day. Larger chimneys can take one and a half days. The cost of removing a chimney stack ranges between £1000-£1600 in the UK.
Can you do it yourself?
If you’re interested in removing your entire chimney, be prepared for a labour-intensive job. But, if you do decide to do it yourself, you’ll save up to £500-£1000 in cost! Just keep in mind that in any case, you’ll need to call in the help of a professional, at least in the beginning.
Don’t forget to keep the building control offices in the loop to avoid any future issues. If you’re looking to save on cost, a DIY chimney removal may be your best bet!