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Old 02-22-2013, 08:13 AM   #1
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Removing Fireplace Hearth - Questions


Hi All

First post!!

My wife and I will be closing on a house we bought in the near future. It's not our ideal house (Needs TONS of updates) - but the location works and the price is right.

My first project is to get the family room set up. There is absolutely no place for a TV given the lay out of the room. So my only option is to put a wall unit entertainment center in front of the fireplace. I know...I know... but...We never used the fire place in our old house and have no use for the one that is in the house we are purchasing. And like I said, this is my only option.

The problem I have is that I need to remove the hearth in front of the fire place so the wall unit sits flush up against the wall. It's a brick and mortar hearth. I'm wondering if all of the bricks on this hearth will come off leaving me with a flush surface where the bricks meet the fireplace. In other words, is the face of the fireplace normally made first and then the hearth is put down. Or is it possible that some of the fireplace is actually built on top of the hearth. Ideally what I am trying to do is simply remove the bricks making up the hearth with a hammer and chisel without any cutting of any bricks.

This is what I'm dealing with (see pic). To me it looks like the bricks that are up against the fireplace almost go under the actual face of the fireplace. Is that not the way hearth's are built or is this actually a possibility?
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:25 AM   #2
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Removing Fireplace Hearth - Questions


More likly there's a footing under that whole area under the house supporting it.
I feel you will be shooting yourself in the foot on this one.
That fireplace would be a big selling feature to most people.
If there's gas avalble I'd be installing a gas log insert for heat during a power outage and for a great look.

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Old 02-22-2013, 08:49 AM   #3
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Removing Fireplace Hearth - Questions


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
More likly there's a footing under that whole area under the house supporting it.
I feel you will be shooting yourself in the foot on this one.
That fireplace would be a big selling feature to most people.
If there's gas avalble I'd be installing a gas log insert for heat during a power outage and for a great look.
I don't plan on damaging the fireplace if I can help it. I would put down some slate tile in place of the hearth. I'm just trying to find out if this is as simple as just removing the hearth brick by brick without any cutting.

Like I said, this is my only option.

As far as selling, that's 20 years down the road at least....
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Old 02-22-2013, 11:57 AM   #4
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Removing Fireplace Hearth - Questions


It would be cheaper and easier to modify the wall unit instead of the fireplace. Maybe you could just remove the top mantle so the unit could fit closer to the wall. Then either custom build or modify your unit to fit over the hearth.

Our situation was worst than yours, with the hearth and the corner.
This is what I came up with.
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:28 PM   #5
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Removing Fireplace Hearth - Questions


Is it a full brick fireplace and chimney or is a zero clearance unit? Full brick fireplace will likely not come apart flush with the wall.
Have you considered just removing just the wooden mantle and building your entertainment center on top of the existing brick hearth. You could put a wide skirt board around the bottom to cover the brick.
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Old 02-22-2013, 02:18 PM   #6
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Is it a full brick fireplace and chimney or is a zero clearance unit? Full brick fireplace will likely not come apart flush with the wall.
Have you considered just removing just the wooden mantle and building your entertainment center on top of the existing brick hearth. You could put a wide skirt board around the bottom to cover the brick.
How do I know the difference?? Can you tell from the photo?? We have our inspection next Wed and I can take a closer look at the fireplace and maybe some pics if you tell me what to look for.

In terms of building a unit, although I wish I was that handy, I'm not. We will be buying a wall unit entertainment center to put up against that wall.

Something like this.
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:17 PM   #7
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Removing Fireplace Hearth - Questions


Based on the smoke marks I see above the doors and what appears to brick interior, i think you have built in place fireplace not a zero clearance.
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Old 02-22-2013, 10:03 PM   #8
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Based on the smoke marks I see above the doors and what appears to brick interior, i think you have built in place fireplace not a zero clearance.
So then that's "bad" for what I want to do correct???

Forgive my ignorance - I know NOTHING about how a fireplace is even constructed!! I googled it and apparently there are several types of construction methods. Didn't help much.

After thinking about it, I think I can leave one layer of brick on the hearth and the entertainment center may be able to slide over that one layer provided the hearth isn't too wide. I can save the brick I take out and put the hearth back together if I ever decide I do want the fireplace back.
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Old 02-22-2013, 10:48 PM   #9
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Removing Fireplace Hearth - Questions


The bricks going to be distoryed when you remove it.
Trying to break it up with just a hammer and a chisle will be like bringing a stick to a gun fight.
It would be best to go rent a electric impact hammer.
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Old 02-23-2013, 01:26 PM   #10
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I would leave the fireplace alone and explore putting in an entertainment center to place your TV.
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Old 02-23-2013, 02:57 PM   #11
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i dont know the dimensions/layot of your room, but what about plaving a corner unit in there somewhere? or just to the side of the FP with the tv at a bit of an angle?
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Old 02-23-2013, 06:47 PM   #12
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i dont know the dimensions/layot of your room, but what about plaving a corner unit in there somewhere? or just to the side of the FP with the tv at a bit of an angle?
The room is small, narrow and long. 15' x 11'. The ONLY option I have is where the fireplace is. The only other thing I could do is put the TV over the fireplace but because the room is so narrow it would be way too high.

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Old 02-24-2013, 03:34 AM   #13
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Removing Fireplace Hearth - Questions


we all understand the romantic side of being a diy'er but, since you haven't figger'd out how f/p's are built or what is a chipping gun, howzabout starting your h/o resume by hangin' pictures & hire this work out ? know you wanna do it & you'd like to do it but fearful you'll spend LOTS more by actually doing it + run the risk of causing more expensive-to-repair damage
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:09 PM   #14
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Removing Fireplace Hearth - Questions


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I don't plan on damaging the fireplace if I can help it. I would put down some slate tile in place of the hearth. I'm just trying to find out if this is as simple as just removing the hearth brick by brick without any cutting.

Like I said, this is my only option.

As far as selling, that's 20 years down the road at least....
My experiences would tell me that the band of brick wrapping the fireplace is sitting directly on the hearth, so you may need to take them down as well. Most likely, the hearth was built first, and you're going to have to take it all the way back to the concrete block. Not a huge issue, and you can likely do it with a hammer and mason chisel. You will be extremely lucky not to damage at least a few of the bricks though.

As for what's below, there should be a concrete "sub-hearth" holding the rick up. This is typically a part of the fireplace foundation that's poured concrete, and cantilevered beyond the fireplace to the floor joists. It's usually sloped on the underside to reduce it's thickness as it meets the floor joists. It should be visable from the basement............
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:24 PM   #15
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My experiences would tell me that the band of brick wrapping the fireplace is sitting directly on the hearth, so you may need to take them down as well. Most likely, the hearth was built first, and you're going to have to take it all the way back to the concrete block. Not a huge issue, and you can likely do it with a hammer and mason chisel. You will be extremely lucky not to damage at least a few of the bricks though.

As for what's below, there should be a concrete "sub-hearth" holding the rick up. This is typically a part of the fireplace foundation that's poured concrete, and cantilevered beyond the fireplace to the floor joists. It's usually sloped on the underside to reduce it's thickness as it meets the floor joists. It should be visable from the basement............
Thanks!! Inspection is Wednesday so I am going to take a closer look.

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