Removing a chimney
I have a client with a cinder block chimney which is no longer in use. It use to vent two wood stoves, which have been removed. She had the roof done about five years ago. Since then the chimney started to leak. I have done all I can short of reflashing it. Now she wants to tear it down to the roof level.
My question is it acceptable to leave the structure inside, and just remove to below the roof line and reshingle where the chimney used to be? The holes where the stove vents penetrated the chimney inside have been blocked off.
Thanks for any input or advice on this.
yes.... as long as the inlet holes have definitely been blocked
of course... the space the chimney occupies is pretty valuable space, so she should consider removing all of it and utilizing the space
Thanks for the response Mike. I'm not sure has the budget to tear down the whole chimney, but we'll see.
There is nothing wrong with leaving it.
The irony is usually you only need to tear it down to the roof line to fix the problem anyhow. It's not that much work to build a few courses back and pour a cap. Are you sure there is no need for it?
Yes, there's no need. The chimney was built strictly to vent two wood stoves. There is a separate chimney for the homes heat and hot water to vent.
Just don't do what I saw once. The homeowners had removed the chimney in the attic and converted the space into a bedroom. The chimney was still sitting up on the roof. I have no idea what kept it from falling through. They did admit that they were starting to get some water leaks.
As if that wasn't bad enough, the furnace was still exhausted into the stack which now terminated at the floor of this bedroom. Their son was getting occasional headaches which he never had before, but he was moving out in the next few days anyway.
I told them that this was a very, very bad thing. They're on their own now.
I would have called the Fire marshall, the code officer, or childwelfare..that is criminal and hopefully illegal.
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"Success is not spontaneous combustion, you have to set yourself on Fire"
I thought about it. I wasn't sure who to call and the couple was getting a divorce. He has another wife in South America somewhere, she cleans houses for a living and is just barely getting by. She called me in to look at replacing some windows so she could sell the place. I declined. If I were to do any work there at all, which is unlikely, I would have contacted someone.
I know I probably didn't do the right thing, but I feel better about myself just walking away after warning her of the danger.
When I bought my first house (built around 1850) there was an old chimney on the gable end of the kitchen ell. It was being used to vent an antique coal-fired cook stove. The chimney was constructed inside the gable end wall. Someone (many years ago from the looks of things) had built stairs down to the cellar that cut right through the chimney. They just removed the bottom 7 or 8 feet of brick work and ran the stairs along the wall. They left a single 2x4 with 1 end nailed to a stud and cantilevered out from the wall under the new "bottom" of the chimney. In other words, the chimney was just hanging onto the wall by force of habit. :^) The stairs looked to be at least 50 years old.When I took the unlined chimney apart (lots of old, very soft, crumbly brick) I found that the creosote from tiny wood fires in the small coal firebox of the kitchen stove had created a plug right at the spot where the chimney penetrated the 1st floor ceiling. There was a hole in the center of the creosote plug that was just about the diameter of a number 2 pencil.Pshew.
I would solidly cap the chimney below roof level so that it can never be inadvertently used.
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So, you're saying once I get below the roof line I should cap the top of the remaining chimney with brick? I somewhat understand the reasoning, but what difference does it make whether it's capped or not. As long as there are no penetrations in the trunk of the chimney, it should be obvious it's not an operating chimney.
I've taken down lots of unused chimneys on slate roofs and shingled them in and never bricked in the top.
Usually there were fireplaces tied into them-- obviously the boiler was on a functioning chimney which would be maintained ---- topped out and reflashed if required.
walter- i have done that before as well--and actually one of our first projects this spring will involve almost exactly that as well.
Oh, Hey walter-- remember our argument some years back about fiberglass ladders vs. aluminum?
I was mentally laughing about that yesterday---
insuarance adjuster climbing up my 28 ft. fiberglass ladder----- he did NOT like that lovely "bounce" that fiberglass gives you,LOL----anyhow- he kept hollering out-"-is that ok?, is that ok?"- his voice actually cracked.
Yes I remember that.
Why would you let him climb up onto the roof on your equiptment -- should have made him provide his own way up. LOL
He did not say what he did AFTER the guy climbs up the ladder..
A-holes. Hey every group has to have one. And I have been elected to be the one. I should make that my tagline.
Yes- aint that the truth
it's a long story--- just a big pain in the rear to me--- definitely not one of my shrewder moves.
What is obvious to some can be the item that proves others are oblivious to logic. Capping it is just cheap insurance against future problems.
They can't get your Goat if you don't tell them where it is hidden.
...what difference does it make whether it's capped or not. As long as there are no penetrations in the trunk of the chimney, it should be obvious it's not an operating chimney.
As Dovetail said, it should be obvious. But if a future occupant sees a plastered over thimble and decides to open it up and attach a woodstove and burns the place down, killing their three children, the cat and dog...
...are you going to be able to sleep at night, let alone deal with the lawyers?
Remember, common sense is the least common of traits.
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At the least, capping would prevent air circulation within the chimney. This might have an energy savings benefit. Also, it could be better in the event of a fire, should that ever happen.
Capping would also help minimize the drafting of moisture from the bowels of the chimney into the attic.