Partial Fireplace Deconstruction

My house was built in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s. I don’t know because it was a foreclosure and the bank didn’t really give a shit, they just wanted to sell it. It is easy to tell the era due to the rest of the houses in the neighborhood and the style of the house.

The fireplace is one of those dated artifacts that is not to my liking. It consists of a false brick veneer with a brick hearth that sticks out from the wall about a foot.

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If the original designer of the house had put in some storage under the hearth or made it somewhat more useful, it might have been worth keeping. Otherwise the hearth just takes up too much space and I wanted to take it out before I re-did the floors in the living room.

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I surrounded the area around the fireplace with sheet plastic that I attached to the ceiling with tape and push pins. I smashed the hearth brickwork with a sledge hammer and a pry bar. Under the brick veneer I found dirt and brick fill, no hidden treasure of gold and rubies.

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There is still a layer of brick attached to the block fireplace that I was not able to remove. Like many of the projects at my house this is a mult-stage project. When I get ready to hire someone to do the drywall throughout the house, I will remove the remainder of the bricks and have drywall installed where the brick is now.

I was somewhat worried about completing this project as it was not undoable, but I am happy with the extra space I have in the living room and the fireplace is still functional.

Also see the Toolmonger post.

1 thought on “Partial Fireplace Deconstruction”

  1. I’m on a similar mission. You still need the hearth and surrounding masonry materials to satisfy fire code requirements. For example, the hearth must be at least 4 inches thick and extend at least 16 inches in front of the opening. Check chapter 10 of the International Residential Code. For my project, I’m looking at using PV stone, poured concrete, or stack-bond CMU.

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