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How do you change a fireplace?

(8 Posts)
HeadFairy Fri 12-Jun-09 14:09:54

We are buying a lovely Victorian house and I'm fairly convinced that the fireplace in the living room isn't the original one (the vendors aren't sure, it was there when they bought). The proportions of it are all wrong for the chimney breast, it's too small and too low for a living room fireplace, it looks more like it belongs in a bedroom.

Anyway, I was thinking that one of my first projects would be to find a nice appropriate fireplace from a salvage yard, how easy is that to do? Will a builder have to make the opening in to the flue bigger (the current one is quite small)

Also, there is a gas pipe running to the fireplace, how easy is it to pair up a salvaged fireplace with a gas fire? Can I just buy the middle bit, and get the surround myself so it's a bit more authentic?

So many questions....

thumbwitch Fri 12-Jun-09 16:23:38

ok, no expert but have always had an open fireplace and have replaced one modern one with a vintage version. The first thing you should do is decide that this is really what you want to do, because the next thing you need to do is to go back to the brickwork on the chimney breast to see what's what. That way you can easily see what size the original fitting would have been and THEN you can go and find a nice one from salvage (although best of luck with that, most of them go to dealers who are pretty expensive - unless you know a property developer who could look out for one for you).

This is something you really should get a builder in to do for you, tbh - for safety reasons, and if you have a gas pipe then you also need a gas engineer's opinion/ help. DO you know any friendly ones who could offer a bit of free assessment? best option, really.

Sorry, not much help!

HeadFairy Fri 12-Jun-09 17:05:11

That's very helpful thumbwitch.. thanks. Sadly I don't have a friendly builder/gas fitter to give me a free estimate, but it's not like it's urgent so I might just ask a few people to come in and give us their opinion, which I realise is difficult as I know we'll have to go back to the brickwork to see what size fireplace we need.

I have seen some nice reproduction ones online, so I could probably go for something like that, they seem to be around the £400-£500 mark, plus of course the building costs and the gas fitter. I reckon all in it'll be about £1000 but the fireplace at the moment just looks all wrong, far too small, so I think it'll add value, especially as it'll replace one that doesn't do anything with a functioning gas fire.

thumbwitch Fri 12-Jun-09 17:16:34

the only other thing I would add is that my first house was a 1930s house that was harking back to the Victorian style - and the front room fireplace was tiny! I mean, really tiny - but it was enough to heat the room. So, your fireplace might be the original size, it would depend on the size of the room as much as the width of the chimney breast.

And we are shortly moving to Australia - the house is again early 20th C, around 1920s I would guess because it has the original fireplace, with original art deco tiles - and the fireplace is again teeny, despite the room being huge - 12' ceiling and about 20' square!shock But then it is Australia, so I guess they thought they wouldn't be needing a massive fire!grin

HeadFairy Fri 12-Jun-09 17:22:27

That's interesting. It's not so much the size and heating capacity that worries me, it's more the proportions look wrong. All the Victorian fireplaces I've seen are pretty much the size of the chimney breast like this one and the fireplace in the living room of the house we're buying is really small compared to the chimney breast. Maybe I'm just being fussy, but it looks all wrong.

thumbwitch Fri 12-Jun-09 17:32:19

I know what you mean. If I hadn't sent my photos to Australia already, I'd upload one of my old front room to show you but sadly, can't do it!

Anyway, if you get back to the bricks, you'll see what size you should be aiming for - but you can always have a really small fireplapce with a large surround to make up for it.wink

HeadFairy Fri 12-Jun-09 17:33:50

True.. it'll be just my luck I'll get back to the bricks and we'll find that the size of the fireplace that's there is exactly right!

kitsmummy Fri 12-Jun-09 21:50:08

I've successfully bought 3 old fireplaces off ebay before, much cheaper than going through a dealer and more choice

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