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  1. #1

    Fireplace design/reconstruction

    Hello everyone,

    I have a question with hope someone can help me out with. I have purchased a house with 2 fireplaces. One on main level (one sided wood burning), and one on lower level/basement (2 sided wood burring with gas insert on one side). My issue is that these are HUGE!!! Both in the middle of the house. They are large brick fireplaces. So i could see that the stucco on the ceiling went under the brick so I knew that the brick on the outside was not load bearing. I removed 4 bricks last night to see behind and there is I guess the cinder block for the chimneys. First thought was to remove them totally including chimney, but now I see inside it could be harder than I anticipated. So what I’m thinking now is removing the brick and hopefully reducing the size of the fireplace, and redoing it with drywall or something. I would then use a gas insert on both. Currently there is a gap between the inside chimney thing and the outside brick, I would say of 5 inches or so. Does that gap have to be there due to heat? or can i get right against it? Is there a special material that I would have to use to do this? the fireplaces are just so big and take up a lot of the room leaving it non functional. It looks to me that these fireplaces were installed after the house was built. Anyway, and thoughts, suggestions or web sites would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance

    see pictures, i can post more if needed

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    Last edited by Deedee; 12-08-2009 at 04:11 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Madison, WI
    They dont look that huge to me? You need to get a pro in there to properly acess the situation. Might need a mason and a fireplace pro. The air gaps you found may be required.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    I live in South Carolina
    I would do like the other poster said and get an experienced mason in there to take a look at it. The inside thing you are talking about, if I am understanding you correctly, is the fire box. It will be made out of fire brick to withstand the heat. The fire brick are similar to what you would find in a kiln. They are usually laid with what they call fire clay. A regular brick would never take the heat without eventually cracking.

    Maybe it is just me, but I think the fireplace is very attractive the way it is. I have one that covers almost an entire wall.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    S.E. Pa

    Cool get a pro inspection

    You need a qualified pro to perform a Level II inspection.

    There should not be any gaps in fireplaces.

    Masons are the problem---not the solution. Ever found a mason who is certified in anything that relates to knowing the building codes regarding fireplaces and chimneys? That's my point.


  5. #5
    I have contacted some people to come look at it. I know most people love fireplaces, and think I’m crazy for what I’m thinking....but you would have to be in the room to see what I’m talking about. It is just overpowering, and can’t lay out furniture properly to utilize the room. I would keep it, I just need it reduced in size. I don’t like the brick either. By covering it with stone the way it is will just make it larger. If I went to a gas insert, and could reduce the size by even 6" would make a huge difference. Besides a mason (which I have contacted), who would I contact who knows about fireplaces?

    Thanks for all the input!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    I live in South Carolina
    One reference would be the 2006 Residential Builders Code. I think most good libraries would have this. Other than a mason that knows his stuff, my guess would be to go to your building inspectors with any questions you might have. If they are like the ones in my county they will be glad to answer any questions . Many times they know the code but don't understand sometimes why the code tells you to do something a certain way. This is where the good mason comes in. If he has been doing something for 30 or more years I venture to say he has learned something if for no other reason than trial and error.

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