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Want tips on removing a fireplace

Posted by westcoastbroke (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 9, 07 at 20:29

We're opening up our house and want to remove a wall that has a fireplace. This will include removing the fireplace completely. The wall is not load-bearing - had an engineer inspect it already. On one side it's the fireplace, on the back side of the wall it's sheetrock enclosing the fireplace, and we want to remove the whole thing.

The house was built in late 60s. Visually, the fireplace is brick-like. Oddly, the "brick" and "Mortar" have exactly the same color...so it's either brick/mortar or simply a molded concrete thing. The "brick" goes up to the wooden mantle and stops, the wall is drywall up to the celing from there.

The hearth protrudes from the wall about 18" and is a foot high, and seems to be made from the same brick or fake brick.

The firebox is metal on five sides, with a built-in pair of fans.

Above the ceiling, in the attic, whatever it is, it's smeared on the surface with some kind of mortar or concrete, hand applied. Maybe it's concrete blocks with an added layer on top of them?

Looking down from attic toward fireplace, it's just the same concrete stuff all the way down, seemingly surrounding the firebox.

On top of the roof, the visible part of the chimney appears to be genuine brick with mortar. Some of the bricks are loose, and mortar cracked. The pipe down toward the fireplace appears to be some sort of masonry, squarish in shape about 10-12 inches across.

So, what are we in for? I'm thinking to avoid a major weight crashing down, we have to start above the roof and pound away at that exposed chimney. What are good tools to use here? My wife was thinking of Sawzall with masonry blade, but I'm thinking that'll be very slow.

Once the above-roof chimney is gone, I'm REALLY concerned about the attic work - bang away at those blocks/concrete? Where does the mess go? In the attic? Ugh. We were thinking once we get the exposed chimney off (and do roof repair), then we'll tear out the sheetrock behind the fireplace, and as we demo down, pull the mess out through that opening?

Is the fireplace front likely to come off in one piece, or do we have to bust it up?

And what is that firebox likely to weigh? Probably need an engine hoist to pull it out?

Thank you helpful folks for any insights!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Want tips on removing a fireplace

Took mine out a couple of months ago. Mine was masonary all the way, no metal firebox.

Best tool for me was an ordinary wide-blade cold chisel. EYE PROTECTION IS ESSENTIAL!!! I used a hand chisel and a hammer, but I think there are electric/pneumatic tools for this use, check the big box stores and see if you want to pay for one. Might be worth it to rent one. The mortar on mine was in terrible shape, half the bricks came loose by hand. Your's isn't as old as mine, I bet it's a bit tougher.

You "can" toss the bricks down the chimney itself as you go if you want, and if you are careful about it. Getting them out of the house from there is much easier than hauling them down from the roof or attic.

A LOT of fine dust will be generated. Be sure to use plastic to partition off the work area. Protect the floors in the work area also, as the sand from the mortar will be very abrasive.

If you're not worried abot salvaging the firebox and it's too heavy to shift intact, it can be cut up with the sawzall or maybe just an angle grinder with a metal cutting blade (fairly fast but LOTS of sparks flying with this method.)


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RE: Want tips on removing a fireplace

I see I am not the only one with this problem. I moved into this house 9 years ago. I loved the fireplace because I never had one NOW I HATE IT. It has sat there taking up space in the center of my house never being used. The weather here never really gets cold. We are lucky to see a few snowflakes fall and then melt when they hit the ground. The front of the fireplace is open to the living room. The back is covered by a wall of sheetrock in a bedroom. The problem is the walls are holding up the wight of my roof. So do I put in more support to the wall I wil leave standing? Or should I build a wall on the back of the wall still standing? Or should I take my husbands advise and leave it alone because it's to much trouble. Of course when it comes to remodling he never agrees with me until it is finished and then say's "I am glad you went ahead with it I really like it." Of course you do honey I done all the work. HAHAHA! I am a do it myself person love to take it apart but has to have help putting it back together. I can't vission things until it starts going together.
Should I give in and call in the perfessionals or can any one help this board to death lady who needs something to do? Tired of looking at these things I don't like.

Always in to something
Thanks,
Kat


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