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Chimneys & Fireplaces Question
Chimney needs widening and made deeper, what do i do?
We have a real chimney breast that we want to put a range in but it is neither wide nor deep enough for a cooker.
How do we go about making it bigger? Do we need a structural engineer for the job and one of those steel lintel things?
For info the chimney breast is plastered and artex, I don't know if it is brick or block work behind.
Also how does one go about putting an extractor in the chimney? As it's a real chimney what sort of extractor is needed?
Without doing some investigation work it is not possible to tell if you will need to put in a steel or concrete lintel. It very much depends on the existing size of your builders opening which can vary massively. If it is an older property (circa 1900) and the room you are proposing to put it into is at the rear of the property there is a good possibility that the builders opening may well be big enough already as these rooms were commonly fitted with a small range which meant the chimney breast and builders opening had to be larger than the front room.
1st you need to hack off the plaster up to the height you would like to go to and look at the brick work to see what you have to work with. You will usually be able to see the outline of the builders opening in the brickwork and usually anything which is inside this area is non structural and can be removed. You will usually find a brick archway or a stone lintel which is currently provides structural support, this could be anything from 2' to 6' high depending on the property.
If the arch / lintel is in a good condition and there is no deterioration in the mortar it can be re-used and either plastered over or left exposed. I would generally recommend the fitting of a lintel where ever possible as quite often these brick arches are over a hundred years old and can deteriorate in that time. If any of the brick in the arch are loose get an acro or two under there asap and get a lintel in.
If you do not feel confident enough to take that on then employ the services of either a builder or a HETAS installer who will be able to do this sort of job for you an about half a day.
For an extractor you will need to build some sort of register plate to seal off the bottom of the chimney (unless you can find an extractor exactly the same width. Then just fit the extraction unit as normal and pass the flue through the register plate and into the old chimney. You may want to consider putting a cheap 5" gas liner down from the top to ensure the food smells don't come through to the bedroom upstairs.
Hope that helps.
Answered 19th Jan 2012