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Old 08-11-2013, 02:00 PM   #1
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Removal of a fireplace mantel / surround


I'm buying a house that has a fireplace with a gaudy mantel/surround, so I'm trying to figure out what I should do with it. I have no idea when it was put in, but the house was built about 100 years ago and it has a bunch of detailed carvings in it. It feels like it'd be a shame to just destroy it, especially if it might be worth something.

That said, my first question is how should I go about removing it?

Secondly, when/if I do remove it, do I need to worry about the flooring underneath it? The flooring is new and I see some trim pieces around the base which make me wonder if the floor goes underneath this thing, or if they just go to the trim.

In either case, I'd probably have to put in a new mantel/surround but in the latter case it'd probably have to be just as bulky as what's already there, right?

I don't move into the place for a few weeks, so I'm just looking for some general info at this point.

Thoughts?
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Old 08-11-2013, 02:35 PM   #2
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Removal of a fireplace mantel / surround


That is not Gaudy, that is what is considered French Classic. I would just strip off all the paint, return it back to its original style. Now of course if it is a non-wood material, most times you can just remove carefully and sell it on Craig's List, or take it to the local Habitat store, or if you are lucky to be in an area that has a Architect resell warehouse, see if they will take it in trade for a different mantel that they may have in stock.

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Old 08-11-2013, 02:54 PM   #3
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Removal of a fireplace mantel / surround


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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
That is not Gaudy, that is what is considered French Classic. I would just strip off all the paint, return it back to its original style. Now of course if it is a non-wood material, most times you can just remove carefully and sell it on Craig's List, or take it to the local Habitat store, or if you are lucky to be in an area that has a Architect resell warehouse, see if they will take it in trade for a different mantel that they may have in stock.
Ah, thank you for identifying it as French Classic and for the other info.

Stripping the paint off was my first thought, but the more I look at it, the less I feel it suits me ... but then again, that might just be because of the paint, so maybe I'll explore that first.

Question - what if it is wood? Is it still removable?
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Old 08-11-2013, 03:53 PM   #4
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Removal of a fireplace mantel / surround


I was just taking a guess on it. May not be, but looks French to me, due the Cherubs. Looks like it was previously stripped and repainted, due to how clean the lines are around the Cherubs eyes, and other detail.

As for if it is wood, could just have been a cast Fiberglass, or Plaster piece, or some other kind of Fire rated material. As for removing, it may just be able to pull up and removed out of place, or has hidden screws along the top of the mantel and sides, that are hidden under the trim.

If the owners are available, that are selling this place, maybe ask them. Looks like it is painted brick behind it, so this may have been added after the fact.

Update at http://www.diychatroom.com/profile.php?do=editprofile with your location down in the section titled "Additional Information" for your location. Check with your local tax office if there is record of previous owners, and maybe ask them if the current owner did not install that mantel.

It would be worth bringing in an interior decorator to look at the place, along with bringing in a electrician and hvac tech during a walk through, to make sure you are not going to have any issues later, but would allow you to negotiate for the sale.
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Old 08-11-2013, 05:14 PM   #5
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Removal of a fireplace mantel / surround


My guess, since I see cords behind it, it is a single molded unit of some kind and is more or less sitting on the floor. Is there an actual chimney structure or flue of any kind or is this some sort of freestanding, ventless decorative fireplace situation? The firebox does not look like it ever had anything burning in it? Maybe those cans of sterno and "Campfire Memories" incense. Does the listing sheet list it as a real fireplace?

The baseboard trim does not match that on the walls either. This does not mean someone would not want it. It could be plaster, some sort of fiberglass or even concrete. You might strip one corner to see what you have? Does it sound solid and like wood or something solid when you pound on it?

As mentioned, in most cities with old houses, there are architectural detail salvage yards---for and not-for-profit. Central Illinois has a great one that sells what it rescues to continue it efforts to preserve antique buildings. I did some work at times pulling thing out of old houses for sale in the warehouse and yard. If you have such a place they may send someone out salvage the thing and hand you a receipt for what you think it is worth for tax purposes. Habitat ReStore will take it but you will have to pull it apart.

Certainly someone on CL will probably want it but I wouldn't want people I did not know messing around too much in my home.

It is sort of like having a hunchback, one-eyed rhino in pink flannel in the room. That thing is really overboard. Gaudy was a kind description.

Last edited by user1007; 08-11-2013 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 08-11-2013, 05:39 PM   #6
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Removal of a fireplace mantel / surround


Ours is no longer SdSester. The nearest one is the one in St. Louis. Otherwise a drive to Chicago would be in order, to get old door hardware, etc.. Sometimes you can find old hardware at the local Habitat Rehab store, but it is a real hit or miss.
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Old 08-11-2013, 06:57 PM   #7
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Removal of a fireplace mantel / surround


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Ours is no longer SdSester. The nearest one is the one in St. Louis. Otherwise a drive to Chicago would be in order, to get old door hardware, etc.. Sometimes you can find old hardware at the local Habitat Rehab store, but it is a real hit or miss.
Keep the Preservation and Conservation Association (PCA) Architectural Salvage Warehouse in Champaign in mind. Lots of great rescued stuff. Note they are only open Sat 9-12 and Wed 4-7 (or by appointment). It is NFP and usually gets first crack at old farmhouses, buildings and residences and so forth coming down. They salvage anything worthwhile for the most part. All proceeds but for utilities and one part time director go back into antique preservation.

Of course for door hardware repair, replating/polishing of parts you find at PACA and specific parts replacement, Al Bar Willmette Platers and Hardware Store next door are hard to beat. But you probably know of them already?

http://www.albarwilmette.com/service...e-restoration/
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Old 08-11-2013, 08:22 PM   #8
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Removal of a fireplace mantel / surround


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Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
My guess, since I see cords behind it, it is a single molded unit of some kind and is more or less sitting on the floor. Is there an actual chimney structure or flue of any kind or is this some sort of freestanding, ventless decorative fireplace situation? The firebox does not look like it ever had anything burning in it? Maybe those cans of sterno and "Campfire Memories" incense. Does the listing sheet list it as a real fireplace?

The baseboard trim does not match that on the walls either. This does not mean someone would not want it. It could be plaster, some sort of fiberglass or even concrete. You might strip one corner to see what you have? Does it sound solid and like wood or something solid when you pound on it?

As mentioned, in most cities with old houses, there are architectural detail salvage yards---for and not-for-profit. Central Illinois has a great one that sells what it rescues to continue it efforts to preserve antique buildings. I did some work at times pulling thing out of old houses for sale in the warehouse and yard. If you have such a place they may send someone out salvage the thing and hand you a receipt for what you think it is worth for tax purposes. Habitat ReStore will take it but you will have to pull it apart.

Certainly someone on CL will probably want it but I wouldn't want people I did not know messing around too much in my home.

It is sort of like having a hunchback, one-eyed rhino in pink flannel in the room. That thing is really overboard. Gaudy was a kind description.
I'm pretty sure this attaches to the chimney. The owners say that the fireplace is just for looks, but that it could probably be restored... at least that's how I understood it (their English is a little shaky).

I'll have to take another look at it when I'm in there for the walkthrough. Having a professional with me for the walkthrough sounds great, but at this point in the process, I'm strapped for cash so that probably isn't do-able. I'm not sure what problems I could run into later with it. It would be great if it is functional, but my main concern is, well, just changing it so it isn't so loud.

Thanks for all your input everyone. I at least have an idea of what to do when I get in there.
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Old 08-11-2013, 08:43 PM   #9
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Removal of a fireplace mantel / surround


Thank you SdSester. Will have to check it out, next time we head that way to visit my wife's mom in Savoy, and her sister in Champaign.
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Old 08-19-2013, 11:49 AM   #10
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Removal of a fireplace mantel / surround


That does not look like a real working fireplace???
Is there a chimney behind it? It looks free standing to me.
What are all the electrical wires behind it? Maybe
it has a plug in faux ceramic log burner inside it, or
an electric faux log burning set-up.

Did you see if it moves. I mean slides away from the wall?
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Old 08-19-2013, 01:16 PM   #11
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Removal of a fireplace mantel / surround


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Originally Posted by Two Knots View Post
That does not look like a real working fireplace???
Is there a chimney behind it? It looks free standing to me.
What are all the electrical wires behind it? Maybe
it has a plug in faux ceramic log burner inside it, or
an electric faux log burning set-up.

Did you see if it moves. I mean slides away from the wall?
There is a real fireplace box in there, that was meant for an insert. What you are seeing is a mantel in front of it, that was added later on.
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Old 08-19-2013, 02:29 PM   #12
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Removal of a fireplace mantel / surround


So then - the owner can easily remove the surround
mantle and build a new one?
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Old 08-19-2013, 02:56 PM   #13
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Removal of a fireplace mantel / surround


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So then - the owner can easily remove the surround
mantle and build a new one?
Do not think that the OP wants to place a full unit like that, from their description, they want to go with something else, since it does not fit into their decorating that they want, when they buy the place.
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Old 08-19-2013, 05:48 PM   #14
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Removal of a fireplace mantel / surround


Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
Do not think that the OP wants to place a full unit like that, from their description, they want to go with something else, since it does not fit into their decorating that they want, when they buy the place.
That is my point. Since they do not like what they have, they'll
have do something else. Do they want to make a new surround
mantle? That's why I asked if it can just be moved away. It looks
portable to me.

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