Converting Fireplace to Book Shelf

Discussion in 'Builders' Talk' started by Mun.Rassul, Aug 21, 2019.

  1. Mun.Rassul

    Mun.Rassul New Member

    Good morning all, I am after a little advice on converting a fireplace into a mini book shelf please. Kids room.

    The fireplace has been cleared out, its just an empty space, and has actually been plasterboarded and skimmed over , which i plan to cut through somehow. Probably several cuts with a stanley knife to keep the dust levels down.

    I plan to plasterboard all sides inside the fireplace including the top opening.

    My question is , if everything is boarded up , will I be likely to have damp issues down the line? Could I stuff a Chimney sheep up the flue and then board it up?

    I have attached an image of what it looks like right now, chiney against a party wall, mid-terraced house.

    I have been suggested putting in a vent for ventilation, but , they don't look very nice !

    I am trying to reach a good balance making use of the space, keeping the heat in when its cold AND avoiding damp.

    Being a DIYer , there is a limite to my knowledge and experience, I hope someone here can cpoint me in the right direction.

    Thank you all


    Attached Files:

  2. Mun.Rassul

    Mun.Rassul New Member

    Or, if I was to leave it as it is, empty fireplace boarded over, would this space also cause a problem? I would essentially be sealing off the bottom after It was paint and skirting board added
  3. WillyEckerslike

    WillyEckerslike Screwfix Select

    Funny lot us Brits. Nation of animal lovers. We stopped sending sheep up chimneys long before we decided it wasn't great for kids either.

    Edit: Would ewe believe it? What a baaad joke.
    spirits are real 2016 likes this.
  4. Mun.Rassul

    Mun.Rassul New Member

    I can literally hear the joke as I read it :D

    Apparently chimney sheep si breathable but i dont know if i would be setting myself up for damp down the line.
    WillyEckerslike likes this.
  5. WillyEckerslike

    WillyEckerslike Screwfix Select

    Personally I think I would be tempted to leave well alone but if you did want to carry on I would use a chimney sheep and put a vent into the board across the head of the alcove so that it's not so visible.
    A couple of other points - a) I would use a jab saw or multitool to cut out the existing board using a vacuum to deal with the dust and b) I would line it with something that you can fix your shelves onto more securely such as MDF or plywood.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
    Mun.Rassul likes this.
  6. Mun.Rassul

    Mun.Rassul New Member

    Actually I am considering leaving it alone as it has been plastered already just worried that the now empty space has nothing to block heat escaping up the flue and might cause a problem in winter.

    I could possibly cut out a hole and stuff the sheep through it .

    ive read a few horrow stories of people stuffing teh chimney with loft insulation in a plastic bag so i dont know if i want to try that !
  7. Mun.Rassul

    Mun.Rassul New Member

    Actually just thinking about it, if I was to cut open the firplace again and lined the inner walls with wood , would that would be safe from rot? not sure how cold the actual bricks would get in winter.

  8. DIYDave.

    DIYDave. Screwfix Select

    Whats above chimney breast at roof level ?

    Chimney or that’s been removed ?
    If chimney, has it been capped and ventilated ?
    Mun.Rassul likes this.
  9. Mun.Rassul

    Mun.Rassul New Member

    In the loft doesn't look like any ventilation work has been done.

    On the roof the chimney tops are open, they have not been capped in any way I plan to put a cap onto the chimney as part of the project so that it blocks out everything but allows air flow
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
  10. DIYDave.

    DIYDave. Screwfix Select

    As the chimneys are open at roof level, you risk damp simply from rain entering chimneys and with no ventilation, taking an age to dry out (especially in cold, damp weather)

    As you say, ventilated cap and vent at base as well. Ideally want air flow at top and bottom whilst cap at top
    Mun.Rassul likes this.
  11. Mun.Rassul

    Mun.Rassul New Member

    Thanks for your input DIYDave , I think I will give up on the book shelf in the fireplace idea i really should have done before getting it skimmed!

    Ill get the chimney capped on the roof (with ventilation) and put an air vent in the room on the chimney.

    What is the best way to DIY a clean looking vent? should I just drill a few large holes straight through the surface into the empty fireplace space?
  12. sospan

    sospan Screwfix Select

    If it was me, my major concern would be the health of the child in the room especially from mold and any spores released when you open the chimney.

    So yes leave the chimney as is and fit a vent to the base of the opening and fit a cowl over the open chimney top.

    You need to fit as a minimum one of these

    You need to locate a space between the supporting timber and fix the grill on. If you don't have a "stud" detector you can try and find a the fixings by shining a bright light at an angle agaist the wall and look for tiny imperfections where the screws / nails are.
    Mun.Rassul likes this.
  13. Mun.Rassul

    Mun.Rassul New Member

    Thanks for the response sospan, When we were doing plasterboarding there wasnt any suporting timer, just solid brick all the way around the fireplace opening.

    I was thinking of just drilling a few holes and using plasterboard screws with the vent from your link, would that work?

    Being my kids room, im not sure how cold ity will get in winter since its pretty much all open space now from the bed room to outside through the chinney, where as before the plasterboarding was done there was a pile of old bricks which i cleared out prior to boarding it up.
  14. sospan

    sospan Screwfix Select

    It shouldn't be that much cooler but you have more ventilation which is more important
    Mun.Rassul likes this.

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