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We don't use our fireplace and would like the wall space back. Is there a right way to seal everything up? My approach would be to cap the chimney top and plywood + drywall the front opening.

It's an external chimney, the firebox is brick, and I assume the flue is ceramic. There is no damper. fireplace

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    Can you add a picture of the fireplace? It still gets cold up there, right? Sure you want to do this? Maybe a removable drywall "frame"? – JACK Feb 5 '20 at 17:14
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    I think having a "semi-permanent" cover would be ok. I wouldn't remove or damage any part of the fireplace, but I think it would be ok to make the next owners demolish part of a wall if they really wanted a fireplace. They just don't get used much anymore. – JPhi1618 Feb 5 '20 at 18:21
  • The right way to do it if you are insistent on not having a fireplace any more is to have it removed. Brick fireplaces require periodic inspection and possibly maintenance, so if there is no access to inspect it, you have no way of knowing if is about to collapse on you from neglect. And plywood will last as a "seal" for a few years at best. – JRaef Feb 5 '20 at 18:48
  • Picture attached. I suppose there is also the idea of removing the hearth and just putting a piece of furniture in front of it, to hide it (after replacing stone facade with drywall) – dabi Feb 5 '20 at 20:00
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Removing the facade is not usually very hard. Where you will run into quite a bit of work for a brick fireplace is with the hearth. Usually these are poured and removal may require a jackhammer, sometimes only a heavy demo hammer is needed. As your hearth is above the floor level it may be part of the base of the chimney. So removal is not a minor job but could be done DIY.

I understand you want to reclaim the space but for me it would be all or nothing . Remove the entire thing for a few inches of space, or install a gas or pellet stove insert and seal it so you don’t loose heat up the stack. I have installed gas log inserts that ran for a month on a 5 gallon propane tank, this increases the home value verses the cost of demo and reducing the home value. I did remove a fireplace in my 1930 farm home as it was in a poor location and was not safe to use. However I added a free standing high efficiency stove in another room (addition). I would use caution with a partial demo as that could be considered a liability for future sales this is why I say all or nothing, a fireplace that is not usable will reduce the value or has in the past, a simple change to a gas log insert brought the value of one home we flipped ~15k and that was 20 years ago.

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  • "remove entire thing" = remove stucco chimney attached to side of house? direct vent gas insert is definitely an option that we are considering. but its a lot more than a few inches of space that we'd be gaining, especially in such a small living room – dabi Feb 6 '20 at 16:19
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    @dabi, I am just trying to prepare you, the hearth looks like 18”x6’ as a guess, the facade maybe 6-8” thick same width 12-14 sq ft, Partial removal may have a negative impact of 10-20k , where a working gas insert maintains that value. This may not be true with the youngest generation now purchasing but has been true over the years I remodeled homes including my own and current one. I did cut out a hearth on 1 home and installed gas log I used a cement blade and cut the hearth ~2” down parallel lines then a demo hammer was able to remove that much and install flooring. No wood but gas log ok – Ed Beal Feb 6 '20 at 16:51

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