Home / Decoration / How to remove a chimney when you no longer need it

How to remove a chimney when you no longer need it

Chimneys can be a double-edged sword. Yes, on the one hand the fireplace can be the centerpiece of your living room and also a very useful heat source. It offers this romantic feeling and a focal point where the family can gather and spend a nice evening.

However, if it is not used, it can actually do more harm than good. It provides a point where the warm air can escape and the cold air can get into your home. This can affect the efficiency of your heating system and your HVAC system needs to work extra to meet the heating requirements.

It may also take up crucial space in your living room that can be used for other purposes. In this article we look at how to remove a chimney.

Why should you remove a chimney?

Chimney How to remove a chimney when you no longer need it

Now the question could be asked, why would a chimney be removed from their house? In fact, many homeowners who originally chose a fireplace choose to remove the fireplace and the fireplace because it takes up too much space, or they just let the heat escape through it. These are the most common reasons for removing a chimney.

You can damage the fireplace

Chimneys can be the entry points for various leaks after a long period of non-use, and damage can occur, especially if the chimney begins to crumble. You can avoid additional costs that you would have to take into account if the fireplace were damaged. Various cracks and leaks are relatively easy to repair, although additional damage can occur.

You are out of fashion

Wayzata-Cottage-Home-Neubau-von-Grace-Hill-Design How to remove a chimney when you no longer need it
Image source: Grace Hill design

Yes, fireplaces were once the only heat source for the household or the family living in the house. Nowadays there are so many different types of heating that chimneys are very rarely used to heat the house.

Instead, they often play a more decorative role with occasional opportunities to illuminate them, for example, during the festive season. But some don’t even use it for that, and it can become a nuisance instead of offering added value.

It takes up significant space

Exposed-Brick-by-MY-Interiors How to remove a chimney when you no longer need itImage source: M&Y Interiors

Chimney breasts and fireplaces take up a lot of space. Many owners choose to renovate or completely remove the fireplace and use the space for other reasons. You may want to bring the furniture there, or you may use this space for shelves, storage, or other means.

If you have a fireplace in a bedroom, this is an even more important problem. If you are not using it, you should consider removing it completely.

You lose energy

Chimneys-by-Hearth-and-Home How to remove a chimney when you no longer need itImage source: Stove & at home

Unused chimneys can cost you money without you realizing it. They let warm air escape through them, causing your heating system to work overtime to provide the extra heat that escapes through the chimney.

Moisture could creep in

Mold chimney How to remove a chimney when you no longer need it

Chimneys are a great way for moisture to get into your home. And that’s not a good thing as it can cause you further problems. Mold can start to grow and you will soon have additional costs. Perhaps a partial demolition would help with the moisture.

Should I completely or partially remove it?

Hampshire-Farmhouse-by-Ryan-Wicks-Photography-Ltd How to remove a chimney when you no longer need itImage source: Ryan Wicks Photography Ltd.

If you are talking about a partial or permanent removal, you need to decide what to do based on your requirements and specifications. The methods of removing a chimney change significantly for both processes.

However, a chimney is a complicated structure that consists of two main parts: the chimney breast in your house and the chimney visible from the outside.

In any case, you must remove the chimney. But some people still choose to keep the chimney breast or the chimney that is included in the house. This depends on your preferences, your budget for removing the fireplace and installing the fireplace.

The chimney breast can be kept for decoration if you wish. It is not uncommon to see them without a chimney.

Full distances are usually far more complex and take much longer because you have to remove the entire structure. You will have a big gap in your home, be prepared and plant what to do beforehand.

Minnetonka-by-LandR-Suburban-Landscaping-Inc How to remove a chimney when you no longer need itImage source: L&R Suburban Landscaping Inc.

But as I said, the complete removal of the chimney is a complex process. The neighboring walls and structures can be particularly vulnerable and run the risk of getting in the way of the damage. To support masonry or neighboring architectures, it would not be unwise to install support beams to prevent the entire structure from being damaged.

You should pay special attention to areas where the chimney is connected to a wall or an adjacent property. In a fully detached house, it may be useful to remove the chimney from an outside wall. However, complete removal can weaken the entire wall.

How to remove a chimney

Chimney removal How to remove a chimney when you no longer need it

Now we come to meat and potatoes to find out how to successfully remove a chimney without causing any damage.

Removing a chimney should only be considered by advanced home improvement and those who have experience with this type of work. How you remove the chimney depends on your chimney structure. If it has its own structure, it’s relatively easy. If the chimney is part of a larger structure or the whole structure project, it may be a little more difficult. Find out how to do it.

Preparation and research are key

Safety How to remove a chimney when you no longer need it

If you want to remove the chimney yourself, you should prepare properly and do some research before starting. Also take some precautions to reduce the risk.

  • You may need to get approval before you can remove the chimney yourself.
  • Find or buy safety equipment: dust mask, gloves, eye protection, sturdy work boots, safety belt and a helmet would not hurt either.
  • Hang floor-to-ceiling plastic around the work area to prevent dirt and dust from getting into your home.

Scaffolding How to remove a chimney when you no longer need it

  • Rent a scaffold at your local homewares store. The scaffold should be safe, stable and have safety rails. Scaffold fixings also require some skillful hands, and you can benefit from a professional.

How to remove a chimney

Chimney Breast Remvoal How to remove a chimney when you no longer need it

Here is a step-by-step guide to removing a fireplace.

  • We start by removing the chimney breast first. You must properly support the chimney. The gallows bracket shown below is a very common way to do this.
  • Start at the top and remove the stones one by one using a hammer, masonry chisel and sledgehammer. Don’t throw the stones down. Instead, stack them on the scaffold until you get a stack. You can lower them to the floor with a 5 gallon bucket and rope.

Chimney removal1 How to remove a chimney when you no longer need it

  • As soon as you go under the roof, you will find that there are gaping holes that later require additional renovation costs. This can include repairing the roof, framing and finishing the soffits and eaves. The siding on the wall must also be filled, and gaping holes can also occur.
  • However, the structure of the house should still be intact. However, this is not the case below the baseline. This is about floor frame corrections and other foundation work, depending on the damage.

Chimney breast removed How to remove a chimney when you no longer need it

  • The chimney breast can be removed without changing the external structure. Some owners decide to keep the chimney breast.

How much does it cost to remove a chimney?

Costs How to remove a chimney when you no longer need it

If you are not a handyman and do not know how to remove a chimney, you may need to consult a professional. Although you don’t have to do any work, the process incurs significant costs.

Depending on the fees charged by a specialist or the scope of the work, different costs may arise. A structural engineer should also be considered.

  • $ 500- $ 2000 for partial chimney removal.
  • $ 4000- $ 6000 for complete chimney removal.

However, there are various considerations and aspects that can change the price. These include:

  • Complete or partial removal
  • Size of the chimney
  • Is the chimney part of the structure or not?
  • The materials used to build the chimney
  • The amount of debris
  • The contractor fees.

Choosing the right removal service is important. A professional service should be considered, and a reliable one too.

If you enjoyed reading this article about removing a fireplace, you should also read this: