Average Cost of Removing a Chimney Stack

Last updated 13th May 2021

Want to know the cost of removing a chimney stack? In this article, we go through the prices of labour and materials that you'd expect to pay when having a chimney stack removed.

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How Much Does It Cost to Remove a Chimney Stack

Just because your house comes with a chimney, doesn’t always mean you have to keep it, especially if it’s causing any leaks or damages in your loft. When people talk about removing a chimney, they are generally referring to a chimney stack rather than the complete chimney. The chimney stack is the part of the chimney that sticks up above the roof. Therefore, a quote for chimney removal does not normally include removing a chimney breast or the hearth (if you do wish to remove the entire chimney, the costs would be considerably higher).

In this article, we are simply considering the removal of the chimney above the roofline and then tiling the roof over.

The average cost to remove a chimney stack is usually in the range of £900-£1,200 depending upon the size of the chimney and whether or not scaffolding will be needed. The costs typically include the cost of labour and materials, the set-up of scaffolding, removing the cement flaunching and cowls/pots, extracting bricks, fitting a new layer of tiles, timbers and roofing felt, and waste removal.

Below are the average costs for removing a chimney stack only and removing the entire breast and stack:

Description Avg. Cost Duration
Removing chimney stack only £900 - £1,200 4-8 hours
Removing entire chimney breast and stack £3,000 - £3,500 3-4 days


Chimney Stack Removal Prices

Chimney demolition cost can vary depending on chimney size and the position of the chimney. Chimneys are typically located near the eaves or on the gable/apex. The removal of a chimney stack can be slightly higher on the gable/apex because it requires extra scaffolding to reach, but near the eaves may be slightly less expensive.

As to be expected, the cost to remove chimney stack will also increase if the size of the chimney stack is larger.

Here are a few average costs for removing a chimney stack, not including the time it takes to erect the scaffolding:

Chimney Size Chimney Position Avg. Cost Duration
Small-Medium Near the Eaves £1,000 3-5 hours
Large Near the Eaves £1,250 5-7 hours
Small-Medium Gable/Apex £1,100 4-6 hours
Large Gable/Apex £1,100 6-8 hours


Second-hand Victorian bricks can be worth as much as 50p each, so you can potentially save a lot of money if you sell them on. If you have leadwork around the chimney, this can also be weighed in at a metal recycling yard for cash, effectively reducing the overall cost.

Partial Chimney Removal Cost

There may be some cases when half of your chimney is in bad condition, but the other half may be salvaged. In this case, it would make sense to have a professional only remove the damaged part. This can cost between £400-£700. If you enjoy the aesthetic of your chimney but want to get rid of any potential issues or leakages, then a partial chimney removal is perfect. It’ll only involve removing the top of the chimney and patching up the rest of the roof, taking around a day to complete.

Additional Costs

While you’re getting your chimney stack removed and have a scaffold erected, it makes sense to get any other roofing work you need seeing to. This could include replacing broken roof tiles for between £75-£300 or replacing any leadwork for around £700. You should at least get the roof inspected and checked for any damages or problems by a professional during the job. You can also get your entire roof cleaned for around £600 on a two-storey semi-detached house, or get someone to clean off roof moss for £400.

If you’re looking to remove the chimney breast and fireplace, you’ll need a whole different quote as this requires a lot more work. Most party wall surveyors charge between £150-£250 for party wall matters at an hourly rate. Building regulation application fee can cost around £180 to submit the plans & a further £200-£550 for any necessary inspections.

Cost Breakdown Calculator

Individual costs for removing a medium-sized chimney stack positioned near the eaves of the roof - Total Cost: £1,000

40%

Materials & Waste
£400

25%

Trademen
£250

35%

Scaffolding
£350

Labour Costs and Time Frames

Roofers normally work in pairs and charge around £250-£300 per day including labour and scaffolding. Removing a chimney stack shouldn't take much longer than a day, and if it's a small-medium sized chimney, two roofers should be able to complete the job in half a day.

A small chimney stack (protruding up to 2m above the roof tiles) will usually take two people around half a day to remove, and a large chimney will take a full day. This does not include the time it takes to erect then dismantle the scaffold required for access as this is usually done by a different company. This, of course, assumes no access problems and no steelwork required for structural reasons.

What Does Removing a Chimney Stack Entail?

A typical chimney stack removal job would entail the hiring of scaffold, the removal of all cement flaunching and chimney cowls/pots, dismantling and removal of all bricks to the ground, then the supply and installation of new roofing felt, timber and roofing tiles. Finally, the disposal of all waste material will be required, which may involve skip hire if the chimney stack is large. Depending on the age and design of your chimney, you may be able to sell some of the items such as clay chimney cowls and pots to a reclaim yard or roofer's merchants.

Before any work begins, it’s important to make sure you have the correct planning permissions and building regulations in order such as party wall agreements if you’re in a semi-detached house with a neighbour. After this, the steps include:

Install Scaffolding

An experienced scaffolder will construct the scaffold to the height of the gutter with lift heights and position the top level at the base of the chimney stack, helping to remove the chimney stack above the roofline.

Removing Flaunching

They will then take out the cement flaunching and cowls/pots by using a cold chisel and club hammer to get rid of the mortar. Unwanted material then gets brushed away, and the surface of the stack is dampened.

Extract Bricks

Removing bricks consists of hammering and chiselling the bricks off, extracting them from the stack carefully and individually. They’ll then be lowered to the ground from the scaffold, ready to be disposed of.

Fit New Layers

The roof will then be fitted with new layers of roofing felt, timbers and tiles, followed by any necessary decorating and re-flooring on the interior and exterior to preserve the new space.

Waste Removal

Removing a chimney causes a lot of mess and dirt both on the roof itself and the surrounding areas. A worker should be responsible for waste removal and skip hire, make sure to ask this before hiring anyone. If not, you may have to pay for your own skip-hire from anywhere between £100-£200 depending on chimney size.

Cost Affecting Factors of Removing Chimney Stack

It may be a rather simple job, but chimney stack demolition can have a lot of other extra costs involved. You’ll need to install new roofing to cover up the hole left by the chimney stack; this can cost between £200-£300.

Waste removal can cost between £100-£200 depending on the amount of bricks. It may also be worth considering the fact that your home may not be safe during the removal process if you’re also removing the chimney breast, this would mean staying in a hotel or finding somewhere else to sleep.

Many chimney repair jobs will require scaffolding which can increase the price. The amount you’ll pay to hire scaffolding changes depending on how long it’s needed for and the size of the roof and chimney. The standard cost to hire scaffolding for chimney repair is £560. For smaller repairs, a mobile scaffold tower which stretches up to 6 metres is great to use, but that won’t work for bigger jobs.

If you need scaffolding to reach up to a gable chimney, then costs should be around £400 on average. A hard to access ridge chimneys require a more complicated scaffolding set-up which can cost around £1,000.

Can I Remove a Chimney Stack Myself?

Removing a chimney stack is not normally a DIY job, there is much to go wrong with this task and damage can easily be caused to the roof structure which can be dangerous and potentially cost a lot of money to put right. A bodged chimney stack removal can cause ventilation and condensation problems along with actual structural problems. Working without a scaffold tower can be extremely dangerous, so if considering DIY at least ensure you follow safety precautions. A scaffold tower will typically cost around £300.

If you are determined to go the DIY route due to budget reasons, you will still need to take professional advice regarding the structure and to liaise with Building Control, so there will be fees to be paid in any case. So even doing the job on a DIY basis you will still have scaffolding and professional fees to pay – then, of course, you need to factor in the tools and materials required plus the cost of your time. Once the many factors have been considered, it's no surprise that chimney stack removal is a job most often left to professionals!

You would need to fully cover and protect your house with plastic sheets and hanging plastics from the ceiling and roof area and assure that you wear protective clothes, masks, eye-masks, gloves and strong boots. You’ll need someone to erect a scaffold for you, proceeding to extract the bricks with a hammer and a chisel. The next step is to fit and seal new flooring and tiles and remove all waste and dirt.

Chimney Stack Repair Costs

Damp patches and water stains on ceilings, chimney breasts and walls inside the house happen after leaks near the edges of the chimney stacks. Repairing leaks can be avoided by weatherproofing the chimney stack with durable and long-lasting lead beforehand. If there are problems with your chimney stack such as leaking, dampness and decay, it may seem easy to get rid of the problem by removing the chimney. However, there are ways you can repair your chimney stack and can cost around £560 for various jobs such as:

  • Removing and replace any damaged brickwork
  • Repointing mortar joints
  • Rebuilding with sulphate-resistant mortar
  • Installing a flue liner
  • Hacking off defective render

Other reasons for chimney stack repair include a leaning chimney stack due to wind pressure, frost and unstable weather, thin chimneys, inadequate alterations made to the internal structure, and aesthetic. It’s wise to hire a professional to discuss what options you have when it comes to repairing your chimney stack; they can survey and see what will suit your home best.

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Costs to Replace Chimney Flashing

The flashing around chimney stacks is there to safeguard the structure of the roof from any natural elements and weather issues, keeping the rain away from the area of the roof where the chimney joins the tiles. Lead flashing is essential for protecting your roof but can become loose or cracked if it’s not put in right or is too thin. It can cost around £450 to replace all of the flashing for materials and labour without any scaffolding. However, if scaffolding is needed, this can add an extra £300 onto the overall price.

Chimney Stack Removal vs Chimney Breast Removal

The average cost of removing chimney breast is around £1,500-£3,000, differing with the size of your chimney and whether or not scaffolding will be used during the renovation. Removing a chimney breast has an impact on the structure of the building, whereas removing a chimney stack is much less complicated and can cost around £900-£1,200.

Chimney Breast Removal

It’s important to figure out how to remove a chimney breast when figuring out the best plan of action for your property. Removing a chimney breast can affect the structure of your home and involves many different stages and tradesmen. It is definitely not a job that you should attempt yourself or hope to complete within a short space of time.

All work is best to be carried out by experienced tradesmen or a structural engineer who will follow all related building regulations and health and safety requirements. Removing a chimney breast can be extremely messy and cause a lot of dirt and debris, so it’s important to seal off the area away from the property as best you can. You must definitely remove any electrics, heating appliances, gas or plumbing from anywhere near the removal process.

Chimney Stack Removal

Chimney stack demolition won’t affect the structure of your home and is a lot less complex than removing the chimney breast, and the removing chimney cost is a lot cheaper. Time can differ massively as well; a chimney breast can take up to five days to complete whereas removing a chimney stack can take up to a day. This job is much easier, cheaper and shorter because all the work is done externally and neatly.

As it is not always necessary to remove the whole chimney breast and stack, you’ll need to figure out the necessary work for your house. You’ll also need to factor in any extra prices for an additional tradesman.

Planning Permission & Building Regulations

Removing a chimney, even just the stack, can be a huge structural change to your house and will often require guidance or support from an experienced structural engineer, and scaffolding and brackets may be needed. In addition, you should contact local authorities and building control departments to clear your work before starting the job.

If a semi-detached or terraced house, you also need to take into account any party wall agreements. It’ll cost around £20-£400 to contact your local council so that their planning and building control officers can approve your chimney approval process. It has the benefit of avoiding any future fees and keeping your family and house safe.

It’s your responsibility to contact any local authorities or building control departments to clear your work before starting the job. If you share your chimney with another house, you’ll have to take into account any party wall agreements.

The building work has to comply with the Building Regulations 2010, meaning that a Building Regulation application is needed. You can find these forms anywhere online and download them from the Building Regulations website.

Party Wall Agreement

If your chimney is shared with a neighbour on a semi-detached property or a part of a shared chimney system, you’ll need to stick to the 1966 Party Wall Act which will make the job more complex and affect any costing. A Party Wall Agreement protects you and your neighbours when any building work requires new foundations and is joined with your neighbour’s property; this can be between 3-6 metres apart. Serving a Party Wall notice can be done by a surveyor and cost between £75-£100, or you can do it yourself for free.

The two potential outcomes to a Party Wall notice are:

  1. Your neighbour agrees, and it’s your responsibility to repair any damage that may happen at their property, providing pictures and notes on any cracks or defects.
  2. However, if the neighbour disagrees, you’ll both have to arrange inspections by surveyors on both of your properties. This can be very pricey and cost between £500-£700.

It’s essential that you let your neighbours know of any potential work that may also affect their house, especially when it comes to any heating or electricity. If you have a good relationship with them, it may be a simple conversation where you both agree on your preferred terms.

What Are the Reasons for Removing a Chimney Stack?

The most common reason to remove a chimney stack is if the chimney is in a state of disrepair, as often it will cost more to repair than it would to simply remove it. In addition, the need for chimneys has reduced significantly, thanks to the prevalence of gas central heating. It may be cheaper and easier to repair the chimney stack and can often cost between £200-£500 depending on the size of the chimney stack. More reasons for removing a chimney stack include:

Pros

  • Damp within the property

    The older chimneys get, the more prone they are to be infiltrated by rain and frost, this seeps down to the walls of your property causing dampness and decay.

  • Internal or external obstructions

    Indoor lights and electricity may alter a loft where the chimney stack comes down into the house. Sometimes, a bird or other animal can enter the chimney and nest inside to flue, blocking the chimney.

  • Build-up of creosote

    Creosote is a component leftover after wood has been burning. If cleaned regularly, it won’t build up in your chimney, but if you forget about it. It can take between six months and a year for creosote to build up in a chimney. It can end up being really dangerous to the point where your stack needs to be removed.

  • Crack in the flue

    Cracked flue tiles can cause major issues to a house's chimney system if left unfixed. They can lead to potentially threatening gas leakages in your home, letting carbon monoxide to exude into the home's interior.

  • Problems with brickwork

    An extremely common problem with chimney stacks is wear and tear from nature which causes deterioration. This can be seen when the jointing on the chimney stack has been eroded on the bricks; this can be unattractive and cause for the stack to be removed.

How to Find & Hire a Chimney Stack Remover

Hiring the right person to remove your chimney stack is extremely important in ensuring a smooth process for yourself and your house. It can cost between £300-£500 to hire a structural engineer with extra costs for site visits and planning. When hiring a professional, make sure to:

  • Gather a number of different quotes from various structural engineers
  • Make sure they have the correct insurance
  • Ensure they have public liability insurance
  • Ensure they have plans for waste removal and clearing any building debris
  • Ask about previous experience in similar jobs and suitable qualifications
  • Plan for any repair working, re-plastering or decorating is included in the original quote
  • Look to hire a professional who’s a part of the Competent Person Scheme, who will self certify their own work

If you’re unsure of what to ask, here are some example questions:

  • How will you get rid of any soot, waste, and excess bricks from the house?
  • How will you assure the cleanliness of my house?
  • Will you contact the required officials for me at any point in the process?
  • Will you have to re-plaster anything?

Your builder should be able to answer any query you have and adhere to building regulations and talking to the council. If they’re looking to swiftly dismiss your questions, it may be best to look elsewhere.

FAQ's

You should always ensure you have full permission to modify the structure of your building before commencing any work, particularly when it comes to listed buildings and conservation zones. Chimney stack removal has to comply with Building Regulations in regards to the structural strength of the building. In addition, there are fire safety and sound insulation aspects to consider, along with damp prevention and ventilation considerations.
It’s expensive to repoint and repair a large chimney stack and can typically cost around £1,200 but can vary depending on location, scaffolding, the specific type of chimney, area, and height. A roofer can charge around £150 per day and is likely to work in a pair for safety, costing anything below £300 for two workers and can take an average of 2-3 days.
A chimney stack is able to be removed easily by a professional and will not cause any interference with any internal fixings or decor. However, if you want your entire chimney from inside the house removed, you’ll have to remove the chimney breast also.
People may want to remove their chimney stack if their repointing roof tiles or carrying out any roof work and the stack is an obstruction. It can also cause a lot of problems with inside heating, dampness, leaks, and frost.
Gallows brackets are used as an apparatus to assist and support the existing load of the chimney stack and breast. They’re a right-angled steel mechanism which is placed directly underneath the overhanging chimney.
A chimney stack is simply an added feature which changes the aesthetic of the outside of a house and alters the functions of a chimney breast. Removing a chimney stack won’t necessarily devalue a home as it all depends on individual tastes and what a buyer prefers or wants.
If you don’t take to correct measures to remove your chimney properly, you could be putting the remaining structure at risk of caving in or collapsing. If you have a historic home or unique design around the roof, you may be losing value on your house and altering a nice aesthetic.
Removing a chimney will enhance space within the loft area of your house and allow for more room to play with. It also means that any prior chimney problems such as damage or leaking won’t happen again.
Yes, if you have more than one fireplace over different levels, you can remove one of the chimney breasts and leave the other one. You can also remove the fireplace and leave the stack or flue.

Sources

https://www.richmond.gov.uk/chimney_stack_removal_and_the_building_regulations
https://homereference.net/removing-a-chimney/
https://www.carryduffdesigns.co.uk/contents/en-us/chimney-stack-removal-guidance.html

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