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Removing an unused brick chimney

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Posted by: from Montreal
1/12/2013 at 11:27:25 AM

I have an unused chimney that I would like to remove to recoup some interior space in the living areas of the first and second floors of my home. The chimney has already been capped and the opening was covered during re-roofing so there is no part of the chimney extending above the roof.

I am wondering whether this chimney plays any structural role and what, if any, support would need to be added if I remove it?

My home is over 100 years old and this chimney was on an exterior brick wall originally but an addition was put on the house many years ago.

REPLIES (8)
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Date/Time1/12/2013 at 1:40:01 PM

Hi there,

The chimmney should have been built independently of your home. Your floor joist and ceiling joist should carry their own wait without relying on the chimmney for support.

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Date/Time1/12/2013 at 2:00:20 PM

Hi Catherine,

The structure for the chimney should be independant of all other structural units in your home. Having said that, you stated your home is one hundred years old.

Some contracts I have dealt with in the downtown area of Toronto near Avenue Road have held many suprises. And one, had integrated structure with the floor in that room.

The odds are in your favour though. So it should not be an issue.

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Date/Time1/12/2013 at 4:49:31 PM

Most chimneys are not part of the house structure. However being that old, you never know how they built it. So a complete inspection is in order before you start to tear it down.

Since you stated that it was originally on an exterior wall. It is part of the original ext. wall and can not be torn down with out the rest of the ext. brick wall being comprimised. The old ext. wall brick might need some support once the chimney is down.

You can find all your answers with an inspection, but odds are it won't be that bad.

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Date/Time1/12/2013 at 6:08:35 PM

You can remove it. If the bricks are nice, you should try to re-use them or sell them to a used store, especially if you are in a 100 year old house. There is a good chance, someone might even remove it for you in exchange for the bricks themselves.

The main thing is closing the hole in the floor joists properly after removal.

Cheers

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Date/Time1/13/2013 at 11:54:21 AM

Hi there,

The brick chimney is possible to remove it but if its necessary to fix any structural work its possible as well, by re-bricking some of the area.

Thank you.

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Date/Time1/13/2013 at 12:06:57 PM

Catherine,

I used to live in Westmount (Montreal) and our house was probably the same vintage. The chimney, in our case, extended from the basement and was supported from the basement floor. This has little to do with structural support above ground level. You should be fine removing everything as you described.

You said the roof has already been closed so the chimney is no longer functional. Go for it. If you are still unsure, you could contact a local library and/or museum and speak with someone who has knowledge about building construction of that era.

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Rick from Tidy Painting & Renovations in Schumacher
Date/Time1/13/2013 at 12:16:35 PM

Chimneys do not pose any structural integrety to the building, it is infact its own structure.

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Date/Time1/13/2013 at 3:00:51 PM

I met situation in old houses, the chimney structure make support for beams. I advise to open ceiling around and call professional contractor to see it.

Jozef

JMB Canpol Builders Ltd.

Jozef Blaszczak

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