Many older properties were constructed in an era when real fires were used as the principal means of heating the house and its occupants. However the advent of artificial means of heating such as electric fires and storage heaters and ventral heating resulted in less frequent use of real fires. That reduction in use is likely to continue into the future, particularly with the ongoing drive to reduce the incidence of carbon deposits int the atmosphere with the consequential effects that this has on the overall environment. This has meant that, in many properties, the chimney has become redundant. As the chimney and the area where it attaches to the roof is often one of the most vulnerable areas of the roof when it comes to breakdown and leakage many householders take the view that it is preferable to have it demolished altogether. In this article we look at some of the steps that need to be taken to remove an existing chimney and suggest that it is a job that is best left to professional building contractors.
As with most construction related work, the key to successful completion is proper preparation and this is certainly the case when it comes to roof work. The first matter that should be considered is the weather forecast as it is important to ensure that the chimney is demolished during a period of dry weather if this is possible. It is also necessary to construct an appropriate frame to cover the void in the roof that will be created once the chimney has been removed pending the completion of the re-roofing of that particular section of roof. It is also necessary to ensure that the timbers around the chimney are sufficiently sturdy to support the roofing contractors if the chimney show signs of leaks. It is also necessary to plan a place to deposit the bricks and mortar of the chimney as they are removed. Finally, the interior of the house needs to be protected from falling dust and debris by covering the base of the chimney with adequate material.
The process of demolishing the chimney should commence with the topmost bricks. The chimney cap should first be removed and then the bricks taken apart one by one. Care must be taken to ensure that the bricks do not fall down the flue. Tapping them with a hammer whilst supporting them from falling inside is usually sufficient to loosen them enough to remove them by hand.
The central flue also needs to be removed piece by piece, once again, ensuring that as little debris as possible falls into the interior. If a blockage is caused it can be difficult and expensive to clear and it is much easier to avoid the problem by taking proper care during the demolition process.
It may also be necessary to carry out some work in the interior of the house, from the attic area once the chimney has been dismantled to a level that is below the roof line of the property.
Any flashings should then be removed and the roof frame fitted and covered with decking and then a sheet of tarpaulin or similar material to keep out the elements until such time as it is possible to complete the re-roofing of the area where the chimney once stood.
Can I Do It Myself?
Obviously, when times are hard and money is scarce it is tempting to carry out household repairs and renovations without incurring the expense of employing professional builders. However, in the case of demolishing a brick chimney, we would very much warn against his. The work is extremely labour intensive, has the potential for causing substantial damage to the rest of the roof and the interior of the house if carried out incorrectly and, because it involves working at height, can be potentially quite dangerous.
We would recommend therefore, that your chimney demolition is left in the hands of the Builders!
If you would like an estimate for your chimney demolition contact our Builders SW South Devon roofing contractors for a free quotation.
The Builders SW
Decoy Industrial Estate,
Telephone: 0800 0322213, 07710621755 or 07515393231