The ultimate beginners guide to removing a chimney breast  

What is a chimney breast?  

Firstly, a chimney breast is a portion of a chimney which projects forward from a wall to accommodate a fireplace. It is typically made of concrete or brickwork and is an integral part of the fireplace system if it serves to house the flue.  

Why would you want to remove your Chimney breast?  

For some, a chimney breast is seen as something that takes up valuable space that could be used for something else. However, some people love the idea of an open fireplace which is also the most inefficient way to burn fuel at home. Some may have the chimney piece removed for an eco-friendlier way of heating. 

Is it worth taking out a chimney breast?  

For older homes, chimney breasts are often classed as a desirable feature. They can offer a traditional and cosy feel that may attract homebuyers. Therefore, in an older home if you remove your chimney it may result in the value decreasing. However, if you are looking to make your home modern it may be best to remove the chimney.  

Removing the Chimney, the correct way –  

In truth, this is not a quick DIY job. When removing the chimney piece, you are also removing an important load-bearing wall. Due to this, you need to ensure that the structural integrity of your building isn’t put at risk.   

One of the most common internal altercations carried out is to remove an obsolete chimney breast at ground floor level to create more floor space. However, commonly chimneys are also removed at first-floor level leaving the roof bare and the external section of the chimney in place.   

Building regulations apply to this work because it is material altercation to the structure ensuring the remaining part of the stack is properly supported 

How much does it cost to remove a chimney breast?  

The cost of the removal will mainly be dictated by the structural report. It is recommended to budget at least £5000 for this project.  

Here’s some estimates for removing a chimney breast depending on the property: 

  • Ground or first floor chimney breast only: £1,400-2,400 plus VAT 
  • External stack: £1,000-2,000 plus VAT 
  • Full chimney in a two-storey property: £2,800–3,800 plus VAT 

Building regulations – 

You will need to make sure the structural works comply with the building regulations. You can resolve this issue by notifying your local authority and being assigned building control.  

Party wall act –  

If the chimney you are looking to remove is on a shared wall with your neighbour you will most likely have duties and obligations under the party wall act 1996.  

Gas –  

Finally, remember that any work involving the alteration of a gas appliance or its components has to be undertaken by a Gas Safe Registered engineer. After completing the works, a certificate, in accordance with the self-certification scheme, should be issued to the property owner.