The Cost of Removing a Chimney Breast

All you need to know about what's involved when having a chimney breast removed, including costs of materials, labour and time frames.

Removing a Chimney Breast

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A complete guide to removing a chimney breast

An iconic feature from the past, a chimney breast can be an archaic architectural detail that is simply getting in the way. If you have decided to remove a chimney breast, use this guide to understand what you can expect from your chimney breast removal.

What is involved in chimney breast removal?

Space is a priority in any building, so it is no surprise that many homeowners decide to remove the chimney breast to create more space or give a room a different feel. Although most chimney breasts have been out of use for some time, the task to remove a chimney breast is not as simple as you might have thought. Removing any chimney breast is a technical job because it involves the building’s structural supports, thus there are a number of building regulations that must also be followed.

What does chimney breast removal entail?

What should you expect if you are planning to have your chimney breast removed?

There are a number of stages involved in the removal of a chimney breast. After breaking down the chimney breast, you will need to have a structural reinforcement such as a steel beam fitted in order to secure the integrity of the building.

Removing a chimney breast has an impact on the structure of the building, so before any work is carried out, you will need to contact your local council to find out about the necessary building regulations that you must follow and check whether there is any planning permission required.

It will be necessary to hire a structural engineer to design the structural support that will be used in place of the chimney breast. In addition, it is crucial that you ensure that your builder is highly experienced and has the expertise to complete the various elements of work that a chimney breast removal involves.

You may find that in addition to the chimney breast, you also have to have the chimney stack removed. In some cases, your chimney may be part of a shared central chimney system, which will mean that you will need to adhere to the 1966 Party Wall Act. A party wall will make the job more complex and take longer to complete, so you will need to consider how this will affect your overall costs.

Bear in mind too, that any work on your chimney breast must be approved by your local council from the outset and follow all building and health and safety regulations.

As you can imagine, removing a chimney breast generates a lot of dust and debris, so there will also be clean up work needed, as well as plastering and re-decorating of the area to be carried out. Thus, you may find that you also need to employ a plasterer, decorator or carpenter, which will increase your final costs.

As well as replacement structural support, the work to remove your chimney breast will also involve fitting robust insulation and damp-proofing. It is useful to bear in mind that the type of structural support, insulation and damp-proofing that you choose will affect the final cost of the job.

Rolled Steel Joist (RSJ) steel beams are the most commonly used type of structural support because they can provide a substantial amount of reinforcement across a wide area. Gallows brackets are an older type of support that are only effective in certain situations and are dependent on the thickness and condition of the walls.

Removing a chimney breast affects the very structure of your home and involves many stages and tradesmen, thus it is a not a job that you should attempt yourself or hope to complete within a short space of time. Further, every part of the work should be carried out by experienced tradesmen and follow all related building regulations and health and safety requirements.

When calculating how much the renovation is going to cost, remember to include the work and time needed to finish the space after the chimney breast is removed and the alternative support structure in place. The area will need skirting, plastering and decorating, as well as a concrete hearth to level the floor, all of which is going to add to the overall price of the job. Every chimney is different, the type of chimney structure that you have will dictate the amount of work needed and the overall cost of the renovation.

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Cost of chimney breast removal

The average cost of removing a chimney breast is around £1500 - £3000, dependent on the size of your chimney and whether or not scaffolding will be used during the renovation.

As it is not necessary to remove the whole chimney and stack you need to evaluate what’s necessary for your renovation work. You also need to incorporate the prices charged by additional tradesman that may be required.

It may be cost-effective to hire a company capable of doing the whole job from start to finish but you need to ensure that they are competent in all of the different areas. This includes structural work, building and the decorating afterwards. You should also consider seeking out quotes from specialists in the areas of work you require to get an idea of how much everything would cost separately.

Your chimney breast removal is likely to require two builders, who usually work at a cost of around £150 – £250 per day.

The table below gives an idea of the costs of hiring a specialist to remove your chimney breast:

Description Avg. Cost Duration
Removing chimney stack only £1200-£1400 4-8 hours
Removing a ground floor chimney breast £1500-£1750 1.5-2 days
Removing a first floor chimney breast £1750-£2000 1.5-2 days
Removing entire chimney breast without removing stack £2200-£2400 2-3 Days
Removing entire chimney breast and stack £3000-£3500 3-4 Days


Cost Breakdown Calculator For Removing Entire Chimney Breast Without Removing Stack

The calculator below breaks down the individual costs of removing an entire chimney breast without the stack - Total Cost: £2300

45%

Materials
£1035

40%

Tradesmen
£920

15%

Waste Removal
£345

FAQ's

There will be building regulations that you will need to adhere to if you are going to remove a chimney breast. Planning permission, on the other hand, is only likely to be needed if your property is a listed building, or located in a conservation area. However, you need to contact your local council for further information about the necessary building regulations and planning permission that your specific chimney removal will require before any work is carried out.
The chimney breast provides the extra depth that a fireplace requires, beyond the normal thickness of a wall. The chimney breast contains the fireplace and the flues.
Removing a chimney breast can create extra space. The question of whether removing a chimney breast devalues a house is more subjective. For some people, fireplaces are relics from the past, for others, they are a desirable period feature – it is simply a matter of individual tastes. Therefore, removing a fireplace is unlikely to affect the value of your home, instead it, or the replacement, is just another feature of your home.
Yes, in some cases when you have more than one fireplace, spread over different levels, you may want to take out one chimney breast and leave another. In other cases, you may want to remove the fireplace and leave the stack or flue.