Opening up a Victorian Fireplace

Discussion in 'Builders' Talk' started by RHodgett, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. RHodgett

    RHodgett New Member

    I've spent this evening starting to open up a fireplace for the future install of a multi-fuel stove. I have found a massive stone lintel behind the plaster and started to remove a few of the bricks below it (which were very loose and wobbled out - great!):


    Above the lintel seems to be another slab of stone which inside the chimney breast blocks off part of the chimney:


    This is what is looks like from inside looking up:

    I imagine this is to separate the flue from the opening on the floor above.

    What I want to know is, is it ok to remove all the bricks in the red square below:
    This includes two walls of what I assume to be infill bricks which you can see behind the front facing wall of bricks. I am able to put my hand above these two walls so I am guessing they are nothing to do with the gather.

    Another question I have is, I quite like the look of the stone lintel and may leave the chimney bricks exposed. Any ideas on how to clean it all up or make it look presentable?

    Dan brick cleaning likes this.
  2. sospan

    sospan Well-Known Member

    First off you need to fix the structural problems with the face brickwork of the chimney. If you can't see it or don't know what it is, I would call in a builder whom can fix it.

    Secondly you need to size the opening to your fire and to also enable an interior shroud to be fitted which surrounds the flue pipe. Again you need to call in a proper qualified person
  3. RHodgett

    RHodgett New Member

    Hi sospan, thanks for the reply. I'll be getting in a hetas registered person for the flue and fitting. I just wanted to open the builders opening to save a few quid.

    I cleared the bricks out of the way today. What structural problems do you see in the face brickwork? Im hoping to repoint it all with lime mortar. Thanks.
  4. sospan

    sospan Well-Known Member

    You need to remove some of the bricks which have perished /cracked.

    The brickwork isn't the best and is only a skin in front of the stonework. Lime putty isn't going to give you much in terms of aesthetics. It is going to be incredibly laborious trying to clean up those bricks with a brass brush wire brush and also cleaning up the joints. Once the worst is off you could try TSP to clean the stone work. If it were me I would remove the bricks and replace with stone.
  5. RHodgett

    RHodgett New Member

    Thanks, I think most of what you have circled is plaster I haven't cleared yet. I agree it might be too much work to tidy up the bricks. I'll probably board out and skim.

    This is what it looks like now. There are only two bricks (half way up on both sides) that I have found to be chipped which were just filled in with plaster. It's been standing for ~140years so should be pretty sound but will ask the stove guy when he comes out to give me a quote.

  6. sospan

    sospan Well-Known Member

    here is a fireplace I have recently done


    Same fireplace before pointing and wooden lintel

  7. sospan

    sospan Well-Known Member



    These are in different cottages I am working on one is 1860's the other 1870s
  8. Richard_

    Richard_ Active Member

    That's cryptic, what potential disaster have you spotted?

    Also what is going on with that pic with the yellow pipes? It looks like there are two load spreading arches (bricks on side above the patch of plaster) with a central pillar that is directly above the opening!
  9. sospan

    sospan Well-Known Member

    The yellow pipes are from an old back boiler, removed as you can see from the "after" picture
  10. Dan brick cleaning

    Dan brick cleaning New Member

    You can give bricks a chemical clean ,after brickwork and lintle have been made safe ,then repoint
  11. Richard_

    Richard_ Active Member

    I realised what the yellow pipes were,what caught my eye were the two brick arch lintels spanning onto nothing. I guess there were two small openings when originally built,then widened with a lintel behind the plaster in your pic, then you've pulled it all out and put in the new lintel in the "after" picture?

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