Most houses built before the second half of the last century had a chimney. However, since central heating has largely replaced open fires, you may feel a chimney is unnecessary and wish to remove it.
This is certainly possible, but it’s not an easy job — and it has the capacity to go very wrong if you rush in without considering what you’re doing.
Why Do People Remove their Chimneys?
- It may be as simple as that you have no plans to use the chimney in the future and wish to remove it completely.
- Your chimney may have deteriorated or suffered from damp or weather damage and require substantial renovation. In this case, it could be cheaper to remove it than to repair it.
- You may wish to reclaim the space the chimney is taking up inside your home.
- You may live in an area where smoke emissions are banned, which would effectively rule out the possibility of future use.
Will It Affect the Property’s Value?
This will depend on the property. With many houses, the buyer may not miss the chimney, while the floor space gained inside could actually increase the value. On the other hand, if the house has a period feel, the lack of a chimney may be felt to diminish its charm.
However, it’s vital that every step is followed correctly. You probably won’t require planning permission, but it’s always worth enquiring, and you must certainly follow Building Regulations and have the work inspected by the local building control officer. If you can’t produce the necessary certificates when you put the property on the market, buyers may well pull out or request a price reduction.
What Are the Most Common Problems When Removing a Chimney?
As mentioned, you must ensure that you have all necessary permissions. Besides following the Building Regulations for structural strength, fire safety, sound insulation, maintenance of your neighbour’s chimney (if relevant), damp prevention and ventilation to rooms, don’t forget that if the property is a leasehold you’ll need the freehold owner’s permission. Also, if the chimney is in a party wall, you must comply with the Party Wall Act.
If you’re removing the chimney breast, you may need support beams for the masonry above it, while the roof timbers will need to be extended to compensate for removing the chimney stack.
The most important thing is to have the work done by an expert company who will be able to advise you of what’s necessary. Feel free to get in touch with us if you need to discuss removing your chimney.