Anyone ever opened up a boarded-up fireplace?

(20 Posts)
GrumpyOldJetlaggedWoman Fri 24-Aug-07 12:11:10

Was it easy? Or does it create a ton of problems?

Ours is still in existence behind a boarded up and tiled-over facade. It has a (heinously ugly) mocked up surround which will also need to be removed, and obviously the chimney will need a good clearing out, as I understand the fireplace was covered up about 9 years ago. Is it worth doing? I do like an open fire, and this is the first house I've lived in years that didn't have a functioning one. Any advice gratefully received.

Tigana Fri 24-Aug-07 12:12:33

Messy.
You will also need to check the chimney hasn't been blocked up.

Worth it.

AngharadGoldenhand Fri 24-Aug-07 12:14:40

Yes. Opened up ours about a year ago. Fireplace had been gutted, so we need a good fireplace fitter! Chimney is clear, smoke goes up and out the top.

Definitely think it's worth it, love an open fire (memories of childhood), but haven't found anyone who can fit a new one yet.

cece Fri 24-Aug-07 12:15:43

We got a firplace co to doours. Not too messy and lovely to have a real fire but it was expensive (we did get granite hearth and inset though with limestone mantle)

dogbert Fri 24-Aug-07 12:16:46

I bought a Victorian terrace where all the fireplaces had been boarded up. I just crowbarred them off to reveal perfectly intact iron fireplaces including hearth stones and grates. Small but v. pretty.

They'd been boarded up in the 1960's and were very messy. Lots of dead birds too. I did some minor plastering repairs to the surrounding wall and re-decorated. I had the chimneys swept and started using them. They were fine!

Very definitely worth it!

GrumpyOldJetlaggedWoman Fri 24-Aug-07 12:19:33

I'm not too bothered about the mess - the house is a disgrace anyway and we are totally re-decorating. It is not our own house (comes with DH's job) but it was in a terrible state, and we don't want to spend a fortune because we never know how long we are going to be in it. Just want it to be comfortable and a bit more like 'home'.

Would you recommend a professional for the job, or is the demolition part easy enough to do on your own? I think the chimney is clear - the boarding seems fairly flimsy and superficial.

AngharadGoldenhand Fri 24-Aug-07 12:20:31

We got a builder in to do ours. He used a jackhammer, very messy and dusty.

AngharadGoldenhand Fri 24-Aug-07 12:21:08

Mind you, it was filled with concrete. shock

AnnieOleHouseElf Fri 24-Aug-07 12:23:28

It's got to be worth it, specially if you plan to sell it on.
We ripped off the minging wooden surround and fake gas fire that was in our old flat and found a perfectly functioning, if dirty and full of pigeons, fireplace.

Do it!!

GrumpyOldJetlaggedWoman Fri 24-Aug-07 12:23:57

I'm interested in your 'crowbarring' technique, dogbert. I think that may be all mine may need (very, very hopefully) I don't think I'm going to find a nice fireplace beneath, though. I can get my hands on a very nice reclaimed one, if my removal is successful. Just how many dead critters did you find behind yours?

Skribble Fri 24-Aug-07 12:24:31

We closed one up, in waht was a living room but was being returned to a bedroom and reduced tp a single bedroom it wasn't practical to have it there, but we opened up the fire in waht was to be the new living room.

We had to take the cap off the chimney, lead sheet bent over so we just swapped it with the one we were closing. Had to put a cast concrete fire back in, ans repoint the interior of the fire place with heat proof cemant. Cast a new hearth and tile it all then put on a new surround.

AngharadGoldenhand Fri 24-Aug-07 12:25:35

Can anyone recommend a decent fire fitting company?

GrumpyOldJetlaggedWoman Fri 24-Aug-07 12:26:27

That sounds a bit of a faff, skribble. You've worried me now. Am I opening Pandora's fireplace?

FioFio Fri 24-Aug-07 12:32:39

Message withdrawn

GrumpyOldJetlaggedWoman Fri 24-Aug-07 12:39:58

Too right, Fio. I live next to a busy A-road in a house (rabbit warren) built in 1870. If I open the windows we can't hear each other speak, and any ventilation I can get is welcomed. Stuffy, smelly old shit-hole. I've lived here for a year and hate it.

Skribble Fri 24-Aug-07 13:39:08

It depends how much still remains of the original. The bricks in mine were all rubbish and I wanted to shift it along the wall a bit to centre it. The concrete cast back wasn't expensive and gave the right shape for a good draw, repointing tidied it all up. There was no hearth so we had to cast one and tile it.

So was a faff and messy but we were rebuiling the whole room anyway, did involve mixing cement on a board in the middle of the floor though.

Get a builder to quote.

HenriettaHippo Fri 24-Aug-07 13:53:19

definitely worth it. We bashed ours down with mallets - if it's just boarded, it'll only take 15 minutes! Very messy and dusty, but then we got a reproduction Victorian open fire place put in (was Victorian terrace) and had open fires - got it from a local fireplace shop. I would expect anywhere selling fireplaces to be able to fit them (unless you get one from a reclamation yard - but we were advised that really old original ones can be a bit fragile and the fires can burn through the thin metal that's left after years of use). Lovely. So much nicer to look at too than a board...

You should definitely get the chimney swept before you use it though, as you can get problems with smoke going into other rooms if it isn't clear.

dogbert Fri 24-Aug-07 21:04:34

Using a crowbar is a cinch if the fireplace is boarded up with a single plywood board and has been nailed on. Get the claw end of the crowbar under the plywood and loosen it up, do this as far round as you can until you can pull the whole board off.

You could probably still do this if it's been screwed in and the screws are eroding but it'll make more mess of the plaster walls or chimneypiece. Best to unscrew them.

The front top bedroom won 1st Prize for number of dead animals - there were 3 small birds, 2 rodents and a 'mummified' pigeon that was full of casters <minging> And they were in the grate - I've no idea if the chimneysweep found anymore as I wasn't there at the time!

Wauden Sun 01-May-16 17:19:51

The way to stop birds getting in is to fit a bird mesh grille on top of the chimney pot(s) - the mesh grilles might have fallen down.

Nepotism Sun 01-May-16 17:22:07

Three times. Only once was an issue when we found an ancient cast iron back boiler which was impossible to get out.

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