Experience with chimney reinforcement/replacement?
We have a 100-year-old single-story home with a brick chimney that is separating from the house. We're getting a number of different types of recommendations on how to remedy this, from reinforcing the current chimney to rebuilding it to removing it entirely. I would love to hear from others who have encountered this problem--what did you decide to do, and how did it work out? There's a huge range in cost, of course, so while we want to be cost-efficient, we also don't want to patch the problem and have to revisit it in a few years' time. The current chimney is original and sitting on also-original foundation, which is failing due to age and will be replaced. We know we want to keep the fireplace, but don't feel strongly about whether it is wood-burning or fitted with a gas insert. (We live in an area where wood-burning fires are banned on days with poor air quality, which is not infrequently.) We also live in earthquake country and current chimney is not braced or otherwise seismically reinforced, so even without the separation issue, that would be a concern.
Any experiences or advice to share? Thanks!