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Chimneys & Fireplaces Questions

Our chimney and fireplace specialists have kindly agreed to share their wisdom on such topics as removing chimney stacks, constructing a chimney, ventilation, chimney breast brickwork, liners and flues, chimney restoration, fireplace styles and much more.

750 Chimneys & Fireplaces questions

removal of chimney breasts

I am currently buying a property and during the valuation, the surveyor highlighted a potential issue with regards to the removal of the chimney stack during an extension work. He was concerned that the remaining part of the chimney stack was not properly supported. However a following full structural survey discovered that: "The chimneybreast to the rear rooms on the ground and first floor have been removed back to party wall level and the remaining part of the chimneybreast in the roof space is now supported on timber beams which all appeared sound, with no sign of movement in the structure.".

Should I be concerned by wooden beam support or should I be OK with the fact that it has been in the property for nearly 20 years with no signs of movement in the structure? In other words, would a steel beam absolutely necessary or can I live with the way the chimney stack are supported now?

does granite crack under the heat of a wood burner?

We will soon be getting a wood burner fitted in our sitting room and are deciding on which type of hearth and inset to have. We have been told that a granite hearth is more likely to crack under the heat of a wood burner than slate or limestone. Is this true? and which is the best stone for a hearth

Knocked open a bricked up fireplace...

....behind it was an arch. Inside the arch it was packed with bricks, to the left was a silver flue liner and a concrete heat chamber type object. There is a gas pipe located nearby on the floor which is shut off. Does anyone know what type of fireplace was here and what type of fireplace I can put in it's place there now?

Many thanks!

Opening up a first floor fireplace in a Victorian conversion

I have just bought a first floor flat in a Victorian (circa 1900) conversion and want to install a reclaimed fireplace for decorative purposes only. Not only will this look better, but the survey identified that there is no ventilation to the chimney. The fireplace is currently bricked up and plastered over - presumably this was done many years ago. Although it might be a case of "I'd need to see it", is there any risk to the ground floor flat from opening our fireplace up? I assume that the ground floor fireplace, which currently houses a decorative gas fire, is not physically connected to our fireplace in any way.


Adding caps to chimney pots - venting a chimney

I've recently moved into a property (stone build 1890s) and I need to add some caps to the chimney pots to stop the rain coming down and adding to the already visible penetrating damp. The problem is I've heard that capping them can cause the chimney to sweat and cause condensation which can also cause penetrating damp.

As I intend on using at least 1 of the fireplaces in the future I don't want replace a brick for a vent or anything that could be a danger.

Would a chimney cowl be sufficient in this situation? At present none of the fireplaces are blocked off and there is an occasional draft which tells me there is airflow already.


Which is the right trade?

I live in a large, 3-storey Victorian house which has several chimneys throughout. Recently, in my flat, a large water patch has appeared on the wall, corresponding to where there is a chimney. The flat upstairs has the same problem, on the other side of the building.

We aren't sure which trade corresponds to fixing this as we don't know if it is something to do with the chimney or whether it is the pointing. Is it possible to determine this from the ground, without building scaffolding or do we have to put up scaffolding first? What kind of tradesperson can give us an answer either way?

Rain drips down attic wall / beams from 'apex' of roof (neighbour's chimney doesn't straddle the join)

I don't have a fireplace or chimney breast anywhere in my 200yr old stone cottage, however my neighbour's chimney has one chimney face that is directly on my roof 'join' with his.
Water coming in has been been getting steadily worse and I have asked several local builders to put lead flashing on 'my side' of the chimney. They have all said that they don't think that this will stop the problem as the chimney has weeds growing out of it etc. I approached my neighbour who said we'd have to share the cost as it was a party wall, I noted that I don't have a fireplace therefore may as well take chimney down - he wants to keep chimney as he has a fireplace! (Was quoted around £7,000 to rebuild chimney - no way can I afford 1/2 share of this). My next step is to check the chimney 'spouts' - there is only one big one, and one that may have been demolished at some point, no-one seems to know the chimney is not capped so I guess this could be a cause of water ingress - I have no ventilation at base of any wall in the cottage (or anywhere else!) If the open chimney pot does not belong to my house can I 'make' my neighbour make good the repair? BUT most importantly - how can I tell if there was originally a fireplace in my cottage? Not been one since 1980's when my stepfather first bought it.
Someone also suggested environmental health as the wet wall in the attic is coloured and 'bubbling' and could be salts from next door's chimney seeping through when in in use....
Anyhow, Thanks folks - feel better now I've got that off my chest!!! ANY advice would be gratefully received x

lots of rain water coming down chimney

The chimney is above an open fire place, when we noticed some water coming down we had a hat put on this made no difference so we had roofers in. They made repairs around the chimney and said that the roof and flashing was sound. We had a period of little rain and so were unaware until recent heavy rain the the problem has not been fixed. Have tried to contact the roofer but to no avail. Really am worried now about getting a decent builder, we can not afford to keep throwing money away. Would it be better to get a surveyor in or someone else who can tell what the problem is. The roof itself was replaced about ten years ago and looks really good inside and out but water can be seen on the wall in the loft where the chimney is any advice please Many thanks

Thank you very much for your answer couldn't work out how to reply, it is a shame you are not closer to us as I would ask you to visit but we are in the Midlands but many thanks I will do as you say and thank you again

Replacing ugly tiled fireplace surround

We want to replace the small lime green tiles surrounding our two solid fuel fireplaces with nicer back panels. Any advice on the best way of going about it and what to look out for, please?

blocked chimney flue

In the property I have just bought, I have found that the chimney flue has been completely blocked at the bottom for 8 years while the top has remained open. Can I expect significant problems with damp or damage to the brickwork of the chimney?

I have since added an air brick at the bottom of the chimney and intend to cap the top to prevent rain getting through to the fireplace. Is this the right course of action?

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