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Reduce the size of a brick facade

Posted by mdavies (My Page) on
Fri, Feb 22, 08 at 20:50

Hello all,
We're in need of some fireplace expertise. We would like to reduce the size of our brick facade to gain wall space for built in shelving units on both sides of the fireplace. The room is 20x12 and the fireplace is on the 12' side so space is an issue for us. We'd like to reduce the height and width of the facade, (standard 1 course on paneling)but want to keep the fireplace intact without damaging it. I've read posts about endangering the structural integrtiy of the chimney by monkeying with the masonry. Can this be done without causing an unsafe situation? Help! Please!

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RE: Reduce the size of a brick facade

I'm going to assume that the 12 foot wall where the fireplace is is all brick, although I understand that the brick may not extend out all the way. You want to remove some of the brick, but not disturb the fireplace.

First concern, you need to retain a certain amount of brick for clearance, the noncombustible immediately around the firebox that can safely get very hot. You would need to have an expert look your chimney over and tell you what the clearance should be because every chimney is different.

Next, assuming you still have a lot of brick you want to get rid of that is beyond the clearance you need, you need to be prepared for a lot of mess, dust and debris. When the unwanted brick is removed, you will probably have a jagged edge of brick surrounding the firebox, which you will need to cover with some kind of framing. That could be wood that matches the bookcases you plan to build in, provided you have allowed for enough clearance.

Without a picture, I may be visualizing your fireplace wrong. But I was just wondering if you have thought about installing bookcases that have no back to them, so that the brick can show through. If you don't like the color of the brick, you can paint it.

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