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 Post subject: Chimney Arch/Breast
PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:15 pm 
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Hi all,

First post here after discovering the forum on Google whilst looking for information on chimney breasts and arches.

I've just completed a few days ago on a property that was designed in 1910 but built in 1918 so for arguments sake it's Edwardian. I've been working away on the lounge chimney breast as we plan to make it exposed brickwork with a log burner in. I've attached a picture taken today. Firstly, I'm a little concerned that the arch isn't enough to keep the weight of the chimney breast up and would I need it reinforced with steel? Also, I think the bricks on the inside (the curved ones that meet the top of the metal frame) were added at a later date to make the flu smaller. Would these be OK to knock out to open up the opening to where I believe it should be / originally was?

Thanking you in advance.

Nick.


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Opened up fireplace 1.jpg
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 Post subject: Re: Chimney Arch/Breast
PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:40 pm 
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:welcomeuhm:

Welcome, you should find some good advice here, though if course we have to say that we are not where you are so there have to be some provisos.

From what you say, and your picture, I personally would say that the exposed arch is original, and therefore adequate to hold up the chimney breast. Bear in mind that the chimney as a whole is supported by the entire structure, left, right, and back - not just the visible arch.

Clearly the metal frame is a later addition, so that can come out, as can the blocks on the right that are more decorative than structural.

There are many instances of old large fireplaces being reduced in size in the past, and this never affected the original integrity. Equally many instances of ripping these "improvements" out.

One clue is that the later additions are often pretty rough, and so for instance in your picture, if it looks tatty (left of metal frame, curves above frame too) you can remove it, if it looks substantial and keyed in to its surroundings, leave it alone. Take out the modern blocks on the right, then step back and look at the structure visually.


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 Post subject: Re: Chimney Arch/Breast
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:49 pm 
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Hi,

Thank you for your reply. Today, I carried on removing the lime plaster (still a little bit to go. I cleaned 4 courses with a prep wheel on my angle grinder. Very happy with the results. Still a little bit of plaster stripping to do, then I'll clean the rest of the bricks. Should look decent when I'm finished.

Again, thank you for your reply :salute:

Nick.


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Opened up fireplace 2.jpg
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