I am currently looking into removing chimney breasts in our semi detached house. There are the 2 upstairs an one downstairs, and I am interested to know whether anyone could provide an example of what chimney removal plans usually look like, so I can get an impression of what is involved in such a project and discuss with builders.
Do not underestimate the difficulties associated with the removal of chimney's. The chimney in place to allow the smoke etc to be removed from an open coal fire. Is this correct? The key point here is coal is not a homogenous substance meaning it has no fixed chemical formula. Coals other constituents include hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, ash, and sulphur So then here begins the first caveat. Coal has varying quantity's of sulphur naturally contained in their structure. Other nasties include chorine and sodium.
You load the coal into your hearth and fire it up and it goes and the area becomes warm from the heat exuded. Lovely!. The flame, as it burns it extracts the components that are in the coal into it's individual components. This is where it gets worrying. When the heavier parts clamber up the chimney they end up getting stuck to the inside of the flue and seen as we recognise as soot. When the unwary begin smashing it out they have several considerations. Collapse if undertaken without removing the roof stack first and patching the opening it may leave. The next is when you commence demolition on the upper floor the debris will fall down to the lower levels of the chimney so that area has to be covered to prevent dust, soot and stuff getting passed into the internal space(s). By now I hope you have loaned some thought to your chemistry lessons at school as it is now you need to remember them and understand them. Water has a chemical symbol of H2O which is 2 parts hydrogen and a single part of oxygen and the coal burning process has deposited the dangerous bit as in sulphur which has a chemical symbol of S now is combined with water (H2O) It hangs loose until it has 3 more pieces of oxygen and then it becomes a recognisable chemical component as in H2SO4. Ozone has the chemical symbol of O3 and although found in proliferation at the edges of the earths atmosphere it also exist at lower levels which is broken into single atoms as in O (oxygen) also, making the forming of H2SO4 a much quicker process. Bingo you now are not a builder but a chemist and if you ignore the math then a very chemically burnt builder to boot. As long as you are aware of this then you can prepare for it.
Before you begin removing the physical structure you must have sturdy patches to place in the holes the removal has been undertaken. Bag up ALL of your debris and ensure it is disposed of responsibly and if a sub contractor removes the material be sure they have a current and valid licence to be sure they are empowered by the rules of Responsible Disposable of Waste and it doesn't end up alongside a kids play ground where they have put a flag on top and use as their 'new mountain' or a pretty dog walkers lane. Apart from them teensy weensy points the rest is easy as falling off a log.
Enjoy and be careful and let us know how you get on
DIY how to tutorial projects and guides - Did you know we have a DIY Projects section? Well, if no, then we certainly do! Within this area of our site have literally hundreds of how-to guides and tutorials that cover a huge range of home improvement tasks. Each page also comes with pictures and a video to make completing those jobs even easier!