Chimney Removal Guide: Demolition Tips & Options

Chimney removal is usually triggered by many factors. These range from the need to reclaim wasted space, badly damaged stack, and roof leakage.

Other common reasons include home insulation, plans to discontinue its use, and local pollution ordinances.

How To Demolish A Chimney

Now, any of these could be part of the reasons why you need to have your chimney demolished. If you’re wondering how to proceed with demolition, we’re glad to inform you that you’re reading the right article.

Here, we’re all about providing you with the guidance necessary to carry out a decent job.

To What Extent Should A Chimney Be Demolished?

The extent of chimney demolition rests solely with the homeowner. Chimneys have various components that extend all through their length. The visible part of it is the stack situated at the roof.

A chimney extends all the way to the fireplace. So, the extent of chimney demolition matters.

There are basically two types of chimney demolition; full and partial. The names alone speak volumes.

  • Complete Chimney Demolition

Full demolition involves a more thorough process where the entire chimney structure is removed.

This also includes the breast.

What results is a situation where a significant cap is created in the structure. Full chimney demolition needs to be carefully performed by an expert. The structural integrity of the building needs to be maintained.

As such, it must not be distorted.

  • Partial Chimney Demolition

Partial demolition on the other hand is much more restricted. In other words, it leaves out other areas of the chimney structure such as the breast. This mostly focuses on stack removal especially when such a stack is badly damaged.

  • Consult Widely!

Before you commence a chimney demolition project, you should consult with experts about the procedure. This helps with the adoption of the safest and best demolition strategy.

Some of the professionals to consult include masonry and structural experts.

What more? The local enforcement office in your city should be consulted in matters relating to permitting issuance among other things.

Before consulting a pro, you should ascertain their level of expertise as well as client perception.

Such pros would have handled previous chimney demolition jobs. The extent of customer satisfaction displayed by verified reviews should help you gauge their level of professionalism.

Is DIY Chimney Demolition A Good Idea?

It’s possible to perform a DIY demolition procedure on your chimney with help such as those contained in this article. However, the reality is that this procedure is highly risky and is best performed by a trained and experienced demolition contractor.

Preparation For Chimney Demolition

Chimney demolition isn’t performed on a whim. There has to be a clear need for it as well as proper planning for the procedure. This is where preparation comes into play.

You’ll need to obtain permits, get the tools necessary and protect the area.

  • Obtaining Demolition Permits

Every property falls into a zoning area.

This involves building regulations that may or may not cover chimney demolition projects. You’ll need to contact your city’s local authority to find out what demolition permits apply to your chimney demolition job.

Finding out shouldn’t be a difficult process as you’re provided with all the information required. If a demolition contractor will be involved, they’ll obtain such permits on your behalf.

However, it’s important to find out from your contractor if they’ll be applying for such permits.

Apart from permits, other similar requirements are ranging from certifications, liability insurance, blueprints, and disposal permits you need to ascertain.

  • Getting the Tools Necessary

Tooling is critical for any demolition project. This includes chimney removal. Not only is tooling necessary, but the right tooling is also required for a comprehensive and satisfactory job.

Ordinarily, a demolition contractor will have all the tools required to get the job done.

Persons seeking to perform the procedure themselves will need to hire or purchase such tools. Basic tools include a crowbar, sledgehammer, snips, hammer, demo fork, wonder bar, screwdrivers, and safety gear.

The specific tool type required depends on the condition of the chimney.

  • Protecting the Area

Lots of debris is created during chimney demolition. These will fall off the roof as well as around the chimney breast area. Now, furniture of all kinds will need to be moved out of the area or be covered with plastic sheeting.

For chimney stacks found close to neighboring property, demolition poses a significant challenge as you’ll need to be extra cautious not to cause damage or disturbance.

Is this Project Within Your Skill Level?

More often than not, homeowners underestimate chimney demolition jobs. They consider such as being easy until they discover their estimations were far off. It’s very important to first clarify if this job is within your skill level.

Even if it’s within your skill level, do you have the right tools for demolition?

Here, we’ll still reiterate the fact that chimney demolition and removal be handed to the pros to perform. A lot of things could go wrong when performing such procedures yourself.

This includes injury risks and the likelihood of damaging your home.

If you aren’t sure about performing such procedures as removing a chimney from the middle of a house, it’s best left to the pros to handle.

This saves you from a lot of problems that could result.

How To Remove A Chimney Stack And Other Parts

Chimney removal follows a series of steps.

First, you’ll need to gain access to the chimney stack. This is where a ladder and scaffold come in handy. These tools, among others, can be rented from your local home supply store.

The type of scaffold you choose should be one with safety rails and having stable flooring. Now, a gradual and steady deconstruction of the stack begins.

Chimney demolition should always follow a top-down approach.

As you deconstruct the chimney using tools such as a sledgehammer, masonry chisel, and hammer, the bricks should be stacked on the scaffold. When such bricks reach a certain extent, they should be lowered down the ground with the help of a bucket attached to a rope.

Someone should be on the ground to help stack the bricks away. Your dumpster will prove useful at this point as all debris will need to go into it.

In a situation where the dumpster is close by, bricks can be tossed right into the dumpster from the roof. This is less work compared to stacking on the scaffold.

  • What Happens When You Get to the Roofline?

The roofline serves as a critical point during the chimney demolition process.

Here, a decision is made based on the extent of demolition. Partial chimney demolition won’t require going beyond the roofline. At this point, demolition is stopped and the roof is patched up.

Full or complete chimney demolition will require going beyond the roofline and down to the firebox.

This is where the job becomes more challenging. Nevertheless, a demolition contractor is equal to the task as they continue to chip away at bricks going below the roofline.

Down below, certain precautionary actions need to be taken. The opening around your firebox needs to be sealed up. When ignored, it leaves a gaping hole that exposes your home to the elements.

What happens next depends on whether you wish to install an alternative fireplace such as one that’s ventless.

This is the more reason why a reputable demolition contractor needs to handle the job. Some chimney demolition jobs will require going as far as the foundation.

In terms of chimney removal cost, this is quite significant.

  • Rebuilding the Demolition Area

Remodeling the large space created by chimney demolition is important.

Such remodeling work depends on what’s required. You might want to have a structural engineer take a look at the space created and assess if it poses any structural problems.

Only then should the demolished area be rebuilt based on professional advice.

Common Setbacks During Chimney Removal

Chimney demolition jobs may pose multiple setbacks in terms of fines, and structural issues.

One of the best ways to avoid such problems is by carefully planning every step involved in the demolition process. This procedure must not be rushed. An example is removing a chimney from the side of a house.

Even when such a job will be handled by a pro, it’s important to take the time to understand what’s required. This includes possible implications in terms of cost, risks, and structural changes.

Sticking to professional advice is very key to performing a successful procedure.

  • A Lot of Work is Involved

When looking at the DIY option, a lot of work is involved. Chimney demolition is a physical and painstaking process that requires being fit. So, apart from the know-how, you should be very fit.

This isn’t a task for anyone having certain health challenges. Protective gear should also be worn at all times.

There you go! This chimney demolition and removal guide has covered a wide range of areas critical to successful demolition. Here, we’ve seen that it’s best to allow the pros to handle demolition jobs as they’re well trained and experienced in this field.

Due to their skill and experience levels, chimney demolition projects handled by professionals tend to be more successful. The DIY alternative isn’t as reliable and tends to present all sorts of challenges as discussed above.

From such information, you’re able to make informed choices.

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