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Can You Remove a Chimney Breast Wall?

To free up more space in your home, can you remove a chimney breast wall? You probably can, is the short answer. There is a lot to be considered, however. First of all, the trade-off for extra room is you would be removing a fireplace. Studies show that a fireplace can dramatically increase the value of your home, especially since they are increasingly popular. If you’re still interested in removing the chimney breast wall, you’ll have to hire an engineer who can tell you definitively whether it is a load-bearing wall. That’s just a quick overview.

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Why Remove a Chimney Breast?

The chimney breast is the part of the fireplace/chimney structure that protrudes into the interior of your home. The character of your old fireplace will have to go if you want to remove a chimney breast. The space you get for making that sacrifice may be important enough to make it worth the trouble. But you won’t necessarily sacrifice your  heating appliance. You may remove the chimney breast to install a sleek, eco-friendly appliance that will do a much more effective job of heating the room and cutting heating costs.

Load-Bearing or Not Load-Bearing?

The question you must start with is this: is the wall load-bearing or not? That is actually a question for structural engineers. If you will have to put a new building support structure in place, that involves a lot more than you may realize. But it is something professionals are accustomed to handling. When removing the chimney breast, the following four steps will need to be taken:

1 – Check planning permissions. If the chimney breast removal will alter the outer appearance, you may need to get permission first. Usually, however, it’s not an issue for most homes.

2 – Secure building regulation approval. The following will need to be addressed with this modification, and they come in the form of building regulations. They include structural strength, sound insulation, electrical and fire safety, ventilation and damp prevention, and plumbing work.

3 – Get advice from a structural engineer. He or she will determine how best to remove the chimney breast in the safest way possible.

4 – You may have to put a new building support structure in place when you remove a chimney breast wall. Gallows brackets or rolled steel joist beams (RSJ) are two of the primary ways to put a new chimney support structure in place.

Do I Have to Sacrifice the Fireplace?

The great thing about it is that there are many options available today. Even though you lose the original charm of the fireplace, you can enjoy a more efficient fireplace now. There are different options for you, and balance flue gas fires are among them. These don’t require a chimney. Instead, they vent to the nearest external wall. Strange as it may seem, you could end up with a highly efficient gas fireplace that is much better for home heating. Other options include flueless gas fireplaces, electric fireplaces, and wall-mounted fireplaces.

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Dubuque Fireplace & Patio Can Help if You Remove a Breast Wall

Can you remove a chimney breast wall? No, but you can trust your NFI-certified chimney sweeps at Dubuque Fireplace & Patio to shoot straight with you. Removing a chimney breast wall is demolition work. A chimney mason can take care of the chimney masonry work. You’ll have a lot of dust to contend with but leave the rest to professionals. Give us a call for things like chimney inspections, which are required even for a chimney that isn’t used anymore. We also offer professional fireplace installation.

Call us at Dubuque Fireplace & Patio at 563-582-5156 today or reach out using our online form.

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