July 19, 2009

Bad News About The Fireplace

A fireplace was one of the things on our "must have" list when we started looking for a place. Even before we closed on this house, we knew from the inspection report that the fireplace's chimney needed to be lined. We planned to make an appointment with a chimney specialist shortly after we moved in.

Photo taken before we moved in.The initial appointment was to have it cleaned, inspected, and get an estimate to have it lined. Our plan was not to use it as a fireplace, but to install a woodburning heat stove. We bought a Woodstock Fireview Soapstone stove on clearance, and intended to place it in front of the fireplace and to use the fireplace chimney for it.

Before our appointment with the chimney service, DH went up into the attic. It didn't take a rocket scientist to see that the chimney was beyond repair. The mortar between the bricks in the attic had disintegrated to sand. He could see daylight between some of the bricks. The chimney would need to be rebuilt.

Decision making time. Rebuilding the entire fireplace and chimney was really outside of our budget. The other alternative was to tear the entire thing down, install chimney pipe through the old chimney opening, and finish it off that way.

The plan is to start from the top and take the chimney down brick by brick. I've read that this is a really dusty, dirty job. This is a double fireplace (in the living room and our bedroom), so I covered both of them with heavy duty plastic.

The plan at the moment is to leave the chimney breast in the bedroom as a nonfunctional facade. We may end up taking it out sometime in the future, but for now, removing one is enough.

I've taken lots of photos of this adventure, and will show them to you over the next several days. For the first phase, click here.

Bad News About The Fireplace copyright July 2009 


Theresa said...

It's not so much bad news as a change in plans! The pipe they make now is extremely safe. We have triple walled for our little wood stove going through 3 levels
and it works very well. It's expensive though but at least you don't have to come up from main level through second and through third and out attic.
Can the shaft be cleared enough to lower the removed bricks down it making it easier to get out of the house? It's a fat lot of work though no matter what silver lining spin I try to give it. You and Jennifer over at "Finding the Real Me" can share notes about chimney work for sure.

Julie said...

That's a lot of work but I'm sure you will enjoy the stove this winter. Are you going to use the brick for something else like a patio?

Life Looms Large said...

That sounds hard. Like Theresa, I immediately thought of Jennifer's chimney adventures too.

I have no advice, just encouragement! Hope the project is going (or has gone) well!! This house is certainly keeping you busy!! (As if all of your other interests don't keep you busy enough!)

Good luck!

Renee Nefe said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your chimney. It sounds like you have a good plan for it though.

Hugs! I know I would have been very sad.

MiniKat said...

What a bummer! I know you can make the situation work for you somehow. I'll be thinking of you. :-)

Leigh said...

Theresa, I knew about double walled pipe but not triple. Thanks for this! Yours sounds much more challenging than our.

Julie, we may use some of that brick to finish off the area for the wood stove, though we don't have all the details worked out yet for that. I'm definitely thinking of using some of them as pavers.

Sue, after you and Theresa mentioned Jennifer's blog, I had to go look her up. Very nice blog and very interesting. She's in my part of the country too.

Renee and Minikat, thanks! I can use all the sympathy I can get. :)