The challenges of demolishing an old fireplace...

The challenges of demolishing an old fireplace...


In readiness for a lovely contemporary log burner (which will increase the value of my home, and keep me on trend!), I decided to take the old down. Now the task is complete, I can tell you, If you are planning to remove a fireplace such as this, take heed! It’s not for the faint hearted! Not only was this one made of concrete construction (with no lime in it, which would make the consistency more powdery and a whole lot easier to break up), but the cemented, tiled monster was built around and adhered to a very strong metal armature, so took a great deal of work to break up, but very satisfying! Furthermore, behind this feature, the opening had been filled with brick rubble that was all cemented together, making even more work and more rubble than even I could have anticipated. 

So, Here’re my top tips if you’re going to try this at home! 

1. You will need a crow bar, a lump hammer, 15 rubble sacks, a free afternoon, a great deal of elbow grease, & a face mask

2. Take the rubble away bit by bit, don’t do what I did and smash the whole lot up, to find an unmanageable giant mountain of rubble to deal with, fill up your rubble bags brick by brick… a stitch in time as they say!...

3. Don’t overfill your rubble bags.. you won’t be able to move them when they are completely full! NB. A wheelbarrow is a good assistant at under £30, but not  so much if you are trying to negotiate narrow hallways, steps and doorways!

4. Be sure to carry out a smoke test before you use the fireplace. This can be done by a specialist.

5. There are legal codes to follow to ensure your safety when lighting open fires, but sources indicate that the bottom of the Mantel must be at least 12 inches above the top of the firebox: At the same time if the distance between the two is too high, you may well get smoke in the room and create a hazard, and building control may not sign it off!

6. If you are going for a completely open fire, make sure you have sufficient ventilation, they need a lot to fire up and stay lit. In comparison, a log burner will give you maximum heat efficiency … not to mention feel good factor! 

7. Finally, it’s a good idea to check for leaks and get your chimney swept BEFORE opening it up to avoid a lot of unnecessary soot coming into the room.

Your opening should now be ready .. a well deserve shower lies ahead!!!

For more info, contact us….

Lisa Gershinson