What is involved in stripping a brick fireplace?

maxdelJune 9, 2008

We purchased a house recently that needs a whole house renovation. We are looking at doing much of the work of ourselves and one of the first things we must do inside is change out the fireplace.

It is a mostly decorative fireplace with a large brick surround that goes all the way to the ceiling. I would like to remove the brick and the raised hearth and then put back on drywall, some form of tile and a wooden mantel which will match our future cabinets (haven't picked those out either). This is complicated by the fact that it is in a corner and we have to raise the floor by 6 inches.

Does anyone have an advice for doing this? What tools should I use? What things should I watch for?

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first, you need to find out if the brick is just decorative or part of the chimney. if the latter, you will not be able to remove it without having to rip out the whole thing. in any event, removing the brick will be a very messy, disruptive job. it might be easier to cover the brick with sheetrock, but be sure you provide adequate clearance so it's not too close to the source of fire.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 8:48PM
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Most likely a brick facade over your structural fireplace. The facade will break away easily. For the raised hearth, this may take some work to remove. An air compressor with an air chisel will do wonders. Like most raised hearths, the builders most likely dumped bricks, cement, mortar to fill the void, so it will not break apart as easily as the stacked facade will. You can remove the raised hearth, but I would not recommend lowering the box to the floor unless you are very handy with recreating the fire box correctly. And you can interfere with the fire box integrity. Just fill the height (of the removed hearth) on the bottom of the fire box with marble, granite, or tile. Also, make sure you keep your fire box EXACTLY the same dimension as exists now. If you enlarge a fire box, you can cause your fireplace to not operate correctly and it will not be matched to the flue size and height. You can get back draft. There is some engineering behind these things.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 10:38PM
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