Chimney breasts were once a significant feature in traditional housing design. They were built with functionality in mind; to keep residents warm in the winter months by offering the opportunity to have a real fire. As central heating systems have become more efficient, the requirement for chimney functionality has diminished. While functionality has decreased, the demand for space has increased, particularly in cities like London where every square meter is valuable. As a result, chimney breast removal is becoming more and more popular.
If you don’t want the additional cost that comes with chimney removal, or if you like your chimney and want to retain that traditional feeling in your home, then keeping the chimney and making a feature out of the design is also increasingly popular. We thought we would run you through the options available.
Removing your Chimney
Chimney removal does require steel and isn’t as simple as you might think – think of your chimney as the ‘spine’ of your house – it supports much more than what you think. The wall and ceiling will need to be structurally supported, which does add an additional cost to your Build. A typical chimney removal costs approximately £2000 but this does vary depending on the size and specification of the work.
If you chose to remove the entire chimney, (from the fireplace to the roof stack), then steel support beams and pad stones will need to be incorporated into the design. This is to support any masonry above and ensure stability within the building.
The preferred method of supporting a stack is to use a steel beam which is then supported on suitable load bearing walls. This makes a kitchen extension the perfect time to complete a chimney removal, as you’ll be ripping everything out anyway and incorporating additional steel frames throughout the room.
If you are in a conservation area, your local council may make it a requirement that the chimney above the roof remains intact in order to retain the visual heritage of the area. For listed buildings, this is most certainly a requirement unless you can argue that removing the chimney enhances the functionality of the building. If this is the case, don’t worry – we can still remove the chimney (internally) and support the external feature with gallow brackets or additional steel.
If you decide to keep your chimney as a feature, there are wondrous options available to utilise the space and decorate around it.
Chimneys in Kitchens
Our client in Camberwell (SE5) chose to keep their existing chimney and use the space to house their oven and hob. This creates a cute little ‘cove’ which also helps to hide unsightly items like the extractor fan.
Shelving in Chimneys
Adding shelving on either side of the chimney stack can create some slick looking shelving that appears to be recessed into the wall. Shelving and storage is always beneficial, particularly in bedrooms and lofts. This is a great way to hide the appearance of a chimney; however it does take away valuable space.
Our Design Team are here to advise on all things design related – so don’t panic if you’re not sure what you want to do. Get in touch today on 0207 495 6561 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org