How To Remove A Chimney From The Middle Of A House
Chimneys are a nice addition to most homes. They enable you to warm your house with a cozy fire and can be an attractive part of your home’s exterior.
However, sometimes chimneys can be more trouble than they’re worth — especially if yours no longer functions properly. When that happens, you may decide to remove your chimney altogether.
You can remove a chimney from the middle of a house on your own or with the help of a home demolition expert. The process can be as simple as removing your chimney’s bricks one-by-one. Most chimneys are independently supported and can be removed without threatening the structural integrity of your home.
Reasons for Removing a Chimney
Although chimneys can be a charming addition to your home, you may wish to remove yours for a variety of reasons. Some of the most popular reasons are listed below:
- Roof leakage
- Plans to reclaim wasted space
- Improving home insulation
- Plans to stop using the chimney
- Local pollution ordinances or LEED certification
Each of these can be a good reason for why you would want to remove a chimney from your home. However, the reason that you have for removing your chimney can impact how that process needs to be carried out.
For example, removing a chimney from the middle of a house is a lengthy, tedious, and sometimes costly job. Depending on why you want to do this, you may be able to find a cheaper or shorter alternative that fixes your issue.
Factors to Consider
Removing a chimney from your home is a major undertaking. That’s why it’s important to be mindful of all of the factors that could affect the process before getting started.
First, it’s very important to consult with experts. Chimneys come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They can also attach to your home in a variety of ways.
A masonry expert can tell you whether parts of your chimney could be repaired instead of going for a full-blown replacement. A structural expert can tell you if there are any concerns you need to be aware of before beginning the work.
Disposal is another factor you need to consider. Removing a chimney can create a ton of debris. Make sure you have a plan for dealing with this before starting the work.
You will also likely need a permit before you can remove your chimney. Failing to get this could cost you thousands in fines and make your project last even longer.
Full or Partial Removal?
Chimneys are commonly split into two distinct parts. The first part, called the chimney stack, is the portion that extends above the roof. The second part, called the chimney breast, is the part that’s within the home, below the roof.
One of the most important decisions you need to make is whether the entirety of your chimney needs to remove or just its stack. This decision will have a huge impact on the cost, duration, and difficulty of removing your chimney.
Full removals often create a noticeable amount of extra space in your home. This typically requires extra structural reinforcement. As you would expect, full removals are also the more challenging of the two types of chimney removals.
Partial removals opt to leave the parts of your chimney that are inside of your home intact. These are usually a better option if you’re interested in chimney removal as a means of strengthening your roof or repairing a leak.
Partial removals may require some extra structural reinforcement. However, they can be a much more cost-efficient way to fix your chimney issues.
DIY or Professional?
This is another question that you need to answer before removing a chimney from your home. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option.
Removing a chimney from the middle of your house is a big undertaking. However, the work itself isn’t all that complicated. Most of it will involve dismantling the chimney brick-by-brick and then disposing of that debris.
This makes removing a chimney on your own a real possibility — especially if you have a lot of DIY experience. However, doing so would require a significant time investment. Only you can decide how much time you’re willing to spend on a project like this.
Hiring a professional could be a better option for a number of reasons. You won’t have to do the work yourself and you can place confidence in the fact that your chimney removal is getting completed in the right way.
Of course, you also need to balance the costs of hiring a professional against these benefits. This is a calculation that will turn out a bit differently for every homeowner.
How Much Does Chimney Removal Cost?
The cost of removing a chimney from your home can vary quite a bit. That being said, most jobs like this end up costing between $2,000 and $4,000. The ultimate price that you pay will be based on the unique characteristics of your chimney.
For example, as you would expect, full chimney removals cost more than partial ones. Additionally, removing your chimney will require filling in the new holes in your home. This might add to your total costs significantly or not much at all depending on the characteristics of those holes.
Some chimneys connect to your home by “bolting-on” to it. These are typically easier for professionals to remove and, therefore, could cost you less to get rid of.
Finally, there’s a small chance that your chimney removal costs could end up being closer to $6,000 or more. This price is most common for chimney removals that span multiples stories or involve complicated structural or foundation issues.
Keep Yourself Safe
If you do decide to remove your chimney on your own, it’s important that you use proper safety equipment while doing so. Chipping away at old masonry can be a dangerous job. This danger will be heightened while you work on your roof.
To keep yourself safe, make sure that you always wear adequate head and body protection. This should include gloves, safety goggles, and a mask that prevents old smoke and dust from getting into your lungs.
You should also never work on removing your chimney alone. Instead, keep at least one spotter available to hold your ladder and ensure that no loose masonry is at risk of falling and doing damage.
How long does it take to remove a chimney?
The amount of time that it takes to remove your chimney will vary on the specifics of the project. If you only plan to remove the stack, then you and a friend could be able to get the job done in as little as a half a day.Expect to spend much more time than that if you plan on doing a full chimney removal. It will take at least a week for DIYers to remove every brick in the chimney, dispose of the debris, and patch up any leftover holes.
What are the benefits of removing a chimney?
There are many reasons why you might want to remove your chimney. They can make your home damp, allow water to leak into your home, and cause other types of damage that can be hard to spot.Some homeowners also dislike how their chimney affects the exterior appearance of their home. Removing the chimney could add to the home’s appeal in their eyes.
Kellan is a content writer who specializes in everything DIY. When he's not behind the keyboard, he enjoys spending time with his pets, playing music, and geeking out about basketball. He hopes to make your home improvement projects a little bit easier to accomplish.
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