Fireplace installation

Discussion in 'Builders' Talk' started by KINGDIY'ER, Apr 8, 2006.

  1. KINGDIY'ER

    KINGDIY'ER New Member

    Greetings All

    I am installing a cast iron insert. Now I need to cut the lintel by about one 1nch to let the insert in. Additionally the fireback is screwed to the insert, and there is a piece of metal that means I really need to "sink" it into the lintel. Is it o.k to do this, or am I going to ruin the strength of the lintel.

    Cheers

    David
  2. Cornish Crofter

    Cornish Crofter New Member

    "I need to cut the lintel....."

    Get someone in who knows what they're doing before you do untold damange to your house!

    Sorry to be so blunt but you are intefering with the structural integraty of your house, and putting it right could cost you thousands, assuming you don't actually kill yourself in the process.

    CC
  3. KINGDIY'ER

    KINGDIY'ER New Member

    Thanks for the concern CC. I did get the experts in and they said it would be necessary to cut 1" off the bottom of the lintel, or precast concrete chimney component.

    Difference is, they were going to charge over double for the same components I eventually sourced over the internet (exact same, complete with paperwork. Then they were going to charge £500 for installation, when I am led to believe the typical cost is £200!!!

    My dad is going to install, just asking the question....and he is a stickler for doing it right and all that.

    Cheers

    David
  4. Cornish Crofter

    Cornish Crofter New Member

    You should not cut the lintel at all.

    You cn remove the lintel and re insert it or a new one in a different place, higher up maybe, but never cut it.

    If you cut 1" off the bottom/underside of a concrete lintel, you'll severely weaken it, if you don't break it all together. If you don't believe the concrete is providing any structural support then please get a structural engineer, not a fireplace salesman, to advise

    Some fireplace "experts" simply look at the shape and size of the opening and say "it will need to be opened up". They then walk away and leave it to the likes of me to "open it up". That is where the arguements start. I then have to tell the clients that it has to be done in a certain way, or cannot be done at all. Even with my best clients I have had to dig my heels in the ground and refuse to do it any other way but the right way.

    Exactly the same structural principles apply if you're modifying a door way, window opening or any other hole in the wall. Fireplaces are no different, but those nice brochures seem to lull people into thinking that fireplaces can be structurely altered on the cheap, and I for one am fed up with fireplace experts telling the client to get it "opened up" as if all he has to do is to spend a couple of hours with a hammer and chisel.

    It's not always like that.

    Rant over

    CC
  5. KINGDIY'ER

    KINGDIY'ER New Member

    Hi CC

    Thanks for that.

    You going to be up near Edinburgh by any chance to do a homer!!! Only joking. Seriously though, the reason why I am getting my dad to do it is because we were quoted £600 to install it, and a HETAS registered business were going to cut the lintel!!! Cant get anyone to fit it unless they supplied it.

    Anyway, my dad from the start is just like yourself so your last posting is not a rant in my view.

    He is totally against cutting it too, even although it looks more like a chimney cone (is that the right term?)

    He is a complete over the top guy when things come to strength and concrete - was an engineer on the snowy mountains hydro electric scheme in Australia.

    He is adamant that I either replace it further up, or the other suggestion he had was to lower the hearth (concrete floor by 1 inch and sink the granite 2" superimposed hearth down one inch.

    I guess that might be a bit less major than ripping open the wall to put in a shallower chimney cone???

    Many thanks

    David

    PS - we have read all the building regs to make sure its done right. However, cant seem to find any books that deal with fireplaces. For my own interest, do you have any recommendations?
  6. Cornish Crofter

    Cornish Crofter New Member

    Hi CC

    Thanks for that.

    You going to be up near Edinburgh by any chance to do
    a homer!!! Only joking. Seriously though, the
    reason why I am getting my dad to do it is because we
    were quoted £600 to install it, and a HETAS
    registered business were going to cut the lintel!!!
    Cant get anyone to fit it unless they supplied it.

    That does not surprise me wrt HETAS engineer. They know all about the dynamics of the fireplaces but naff all about the structual integrity.

    Anyway, my dad from the start is just like yourself
    so your last posting is not a rant in my view.

    You're very kind ;)

    He is totally against cutting it too, even although
    it looks more like a chimney cone (is that the right
    term?)

    He is a complete over the top guy when things come to
    strength and concrete - was an engineer on the snowy
    mountains hydro electric scheme in Australia.

    I too was an engineer, albeit in manufacturing, but did a lot on structures. So maybe it's the same "gene" that kicks in with your dad.

    He is adamant that I either replace it further up, or
    the other suggestion he had was to lower the hearth
    (concrete floor by 1 inch and sink the granite 2"
    superimposed hearth down one inch.

    Assuming you don't fall foul of the HETAS regs, that would be acceptable. You just need to make sure that the constructional hearth (the bit underneath the front hearth) and the back hearth are sound. Often the constructional hearth is made up of lumps of concrete, brick and stone sandwitched between joists. If you've got a solid floor you won't have this problem.


    I guess that might be a bit less major than ripping
    open the wall to put in a shallower chimney cone???

    Many thanks

    David

    PS - we have read all the building regs to make sure
    its done right. However, cant seem to find any books
    that deal with fireplaces. For my own interest, do
    you have any recommendations?

    As I said above, from a structural point of view, the same logic that applies to door and window openings also applies to a lintel above a fireplace. If this is the only change you need to make I'm pretty sure you've covered the Building regs point of view. However, if you're taking this approach you MUST inform Building Control, no matter who does the work. You'll have to inform them when installing a new fireplace anyway, unless a HETAS fitter is doing it.

    Good luck

    CC

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