Take the 2-minute tour ×
Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I've got a chimney in my 50's-era house that doesn't do anything. It's a regular brick and mortar chimney but it used to be used to vent the old oil heater (it's been converted to natural gas since). The chimney isn't used any more. I don't believe it's structural. Let's assume it's not but I'll get a second opinion on that before I do anything.

I've looked online and it seems that you just need to get an air hammer, chisel out the mortar and remove the chimney brick by brick. Then patch up the roof and the floor. The chimney sits on its own foundation in the crawlspace, so I'd have to frame and cover the floor as well as the ceiling. The chimney is in the middle of the house and is not attached to an outside wall.

Is that about right? Anything else to it? I understand it makes a massive mess in the house. I'd probably send my family to live with my sister across town for a few days.

I know I'd need a respirator, good gloves and goggles.

Any other recommendations?

share|improve this question
3  
Be very carefull!!! Chimneys may look like they are very secure when you start but can have a nasty habit of falling over when you lean against them. –  UNECS Oct 19 '12 at 9:41
    
Long sleeves, strong shoes (preferably boots) for the inevitable dropped brick. –  bib Oct 19 '12 at 13:23
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

You didn't mention how tall the chimney is. 2 story house or single. Is there or was there ever a displacement for a fireplace, one flue or two? Lined or bare brick interior?

In general, the procedure is brick by brick. A small mini jack/impact hammer will speed up the process, but it can be done with a hammer and cold chisel. Most chimneys are independently supported and not structural to walls or the roof. there may be ties to framing members that you will have to cut or remove as you go through the roof or floor. You definitely want to use basic safety equipment like a dust mask, gloves and good eye protection. You can cut down on the dust and debris spreading in the house by hanging plastic from the ceilings around the work area. Use some painter's tape to hang lightweight plastic from the ceiling creating an enclosed area around your work area.

One cool trick on chimneys with a large flue opening and a clean out on the bottom is to drop the bricks one at a time to the bottom and have a helper remove them and stack them at the bottom. This is a bit neater and saves bringing bricks through the house.

share|improve this answer
1  
I'd definitely go with an air hammer over a cold chisel. Much faster. A hand held air hammer is also light and easy to work with. After using one of these for roughly a week, I found that while the el-cheapo model will work, I replaced mine after I wore it out mid-way through the job. –  user558 Oct 19 '12 at 11:42
    
I have an electric DeWalt that is the size of a recpt saw, it works great. I have bored hole through 8 inch concrete with no problem. –  shirlock homes Oct 19 '12 at 12:14
    
I'll admit it would work. But how heavy is it? Would someone enjoy holding it at head level and above for a period of time to break up a chimney? A great virtue of an air powered tool is the heavy parts stay at the compressor. –  user558 Oct 19 '12 at 15:02
    
One story home. I actually don't know anything about the chimney b/c the previous owner framed and drywalled completely around it. –  Trevor Oct 19 '12 at 16:10
add comment

We had our roof replaced due to hail damage. I asked the guys to take the top of the chimney down below the roof line and replace the deck. It only cost an extra $100. Then I took it down at my leisure when no one was around. using 5 gal buckets. You only need a small sledge hammer to release the old brick. You will end up with almost as much mortar debris as bricks, so be prepared for that. The old brick is pretty much useless as it is not high fired brick. In other words, it will disintegrate if you use it as a garden border outside. Give a brick a good solid hit and it will release, then the others at that level come off easy. I'm using my newfound space as a new furnace return from the second floor, and a new register in the bathroom. make sure you cover the remaining hole with fire grade drywall or 3/4 inch plywood to ensure the fireblock between floors. And, enjoy your newfound space! It is a lot of heavy work so be careful and use proper lifting methods. The dust is mostly heavy dust. When you go to remove a section of liner, if it has heavy soot inside then place an industrial plastic garbage bag over it before removal, that will help keep the dust down.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.