Can a fireplace be lowered? If So how?

TryityourselferApril 25, 2005

We have a fireplace in our family room that we would like to covert to gas. Currently the fireplace is raised about one foot and has a brick hearth in fornt of it. We want to remove the hearth and lower the fireplace to the floor. Can this be done. If so, how?

What professional would I call for this work. Masonry?

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dshlaw

Monessen makes a vent-free fireplace that is low to the ground -- model no. LCUF36.

Here is a link that might be useful: Monessen LCUF36

    Bookmark   April 25, 2005 at 10:20AM
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Tryityourselfer

Yes, but we need to lower the existing fireplace first. I called some masons and left messages. It seems like a fairly straightforward this to do. However, when I mentioned it to a contractor he said that would be a big project. I assumed he had no experience in that area.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2005 at 1:31PM
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ventupete

It's not necessarily a big project but it's not so straightforward either. You've got some sort of footings (depending on the height of your chimney) and foundation. Depending upon how it was built, you may not be able to remove the built up area without resupporting/rebuilding the whole chimney. You will also have to deal with installing an extended flue that is properly aligned and supported. Also, even if it's flush with the floor, code requires that you have a certain size hearth made of non-combusible material in front of the fireplace opening, so you will have to rebuild some sort of hearth.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2005 at 6:12PM
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Xanndra

Sounds like a huge mess and expense to me just to lower it one foot.

I wouldn't do it. Just have a gas insert installed instead.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2005 at 10:23PM
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bkcwzy

I'm in the same predicament. I have to remove the hearth due to little ones and babyproofing has been ineffective. Alabama requires 18" clearance in front, but you can just lay non-combustible tile down. I called my chimney sweep to find that out. I have yet to find out about lowering the firebox. My main concern is the hearth, we can't light any fires now anyway (curious little ones). Good luck

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 6:23PM
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highheat

you are going through all this to babyproof. Bythe time its done your kids will be walking just fine. it will be easier to watch your kids or put a gate around the fireplace. if it is a true masonary fireplace you might as well start over.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2007 at 8:22PM
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tom_p_pa

The most sensible solution is to remove the hearth but keep the firebox raised. You can place marble or tile in the location of the old hearth. And then convert to gas. This is the most common approach to getting rid of a raised hearth. I actually looks great when done. I have done many of these modifications and they are simple. The hardest part is hacking apart the brick hearth to floor grade.

Do you really need the box lowered?

Gas has less issues, but if you keep a wood burner, make sure you do the proper calculations on your fireplace or make sure the mason knows what he is doing. If you just change things around, your fireplace may not work correctly. When your house was built, the fireplace was probably designed a certain way so the height of the chimney, size of the flue, firebox opening all work in unison so the chimney properly exhausts. If things are not correct, you get smoke and heat damage...tell tale sign is heat and smoke damage along the top of your fireplace firebox.

The prior poster is correct, you need to know how your fireplace is constructed in regards to the footing. If you are lucky in regards to footing location, you could have room to remove the fireplace brick on the firebox floor and remove a layer (or more) of concrete block underneath till you get to the floor level and then extend the sides and floor. However, you NEED to reduce the height by the same amount (lower your lintel). Again, too big of a firebox will not work with an undersized chimney flue. It is not just lowering, but maintaining a properly sized firebox.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2007 at 8:31AM
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