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Dwillems 09-05-2011 10:29 PM

Need opinions on tearing out old fireplace
 
1 Attachment(s)
I added a sketch which is not to scale by any means, but is certainly fairly accurate for this concern. It's a sketch of my first floor with joist location, direction, room locations, etc.

As you can see in the sketch there's a see through fireplace right in the middle of the house that's prefabbed, but enclosed in red brick all the way up to the ceiling all the way around, except directly above the fireplace openings on either side. The openings have brick till about 1' above, then it's drywall to the ceiling. This thing needs to go! But I don't know if I can just rip it all out, or if I need to leave at least a post in there somewhere to support my house. I know I won't know for sure until I open it up but I would like some opinions before I tear into it.

Above this fireplace is another fireplace that's prefabbed in our master bedroom. It's not directly above, but only a couple feet off to the East side of it. That one doesn't have any brick work around it, it's just framed in with tilework surrounding the opening. They don't share a flu either, they both have dedicated flu's that rise straight up to the roof. Sorry if I spelled flu wrong but I'm sure it's understood what I'm referring to. Also as far as I can tell each fireplace has it's own dedicated exterior wall fresh air intake.

Ok I can't find out how to make my sketch bigger. I hope it's big enough to understand still. But the black lines are what you see downstairs. The red lines are exterior walls of second level. Blue lines are joists, on the West side of the red line they run E-W the whole way, and on the East side of the red line they run N-S. There are support beams running under the red lines, the one through the house is flush with the ceiling and covered but still noticeable with bad taping jobs. The green line in the sketch is another support beam from the first beam, and continues into above the fireplace. There is an open doorway framed in between the fireplace and laundry room, and the front view is drawn off to the right side.

Any opinions if this fireplace is load bearing or not?

gregzoll 09-06-2011 01:03 AM

It is not the fireplace that would be load bearing, it would be the framing of the structure. As for the fireplace above, yes if you remove the one down below, the structure could shift, due to the load upstairs may no longer have support to carry the load through, to the structure below it. When you tear it down, if you are taking both out, you start from the roof, and take it down from the top down. If only pulling one of the fireplaces, that means if you want the first floor gone, but keeping the upper floor fireplace, that means that you will have to put up bracing on the first floor to support the structure, while you remove and then repair the structure. You may have to build a wall, or have to put up a beam to support the second floor fireplace, so keep that in mind, if you are keeping that one upstairs. I hope that is what you were asking.

Can you post pictures, showing the two fireplaces, the chimney outside on the roof, if you are able to get to the attic space, a picture showing the pass through there, and if there is a basement or crawlspace, a picture showing the framing below, or clean out. Anything like this though, you are best to consult with an architect & engineer regarding this project. Especially, since most jobs like this, means that the city is going to want you to pull permit for demo, and fixing up the structure.

Dwillems 09-06-2011 02:41 AM

Thats the thing though, the house was built in 1989 with a new neighborhood so it was built cheaply and quickly, but with options for the buyer (like the fireplace upstairs). So the fireplaces are prefabricated out of tin and whatnot. It's light. Theres no brick above the first floor, no chimney, just the flu thats the double walled tin pipe. The house is a slab foundation so theres no way of seeing under the fireplace. I'll try to get some pictures tomorrow.

gregzoll 09-06-2011 02:51 AM

In that case, you should have no problems, other than fixing structure up on the roof, and the floor where the one duct goes up. As for pictures, you explained it better the second post. Get the flue out of the roof, which a reputable roofing guy can do. If the original roof has been on since 1989, now is the time to do the roof, and get rid of the flue going through the roof.

Then over the Winter, you can tear out the old unit. I would take the metal from the fireplace & flues to a scrap yard for the tin value, so at least it will buy you a nice dinner or lunch.

AndyGump 09-06-2011 09:30 AM

Well, that looks like a California house.

Andy.

BigJim 09-06-2011 10:45 AM

If you plan to remove the brick also you shouldn't have any problems, just take them and the fireplace out. I can't see any structural problems that you should have, just fill in where the pipe goes through the floor and cap off the chimney. The wall that the door goes through is for sure load bearing so don't try to take that wall out. I am sure you already know that but you would be surprised how many people don't.

I was called by a lady who took a weight bearing wall out downstairs on a two story house, not a pretty sight, and she was an architect.

Dwillems 09-06-2011 10:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AndyGump
Well, that looks like a California house.

Andy.

Yes it is. Wish I could get my hands on blue prints if you know who designed these things.

Thanks for all of your help! Now I can make my wife happy and tear this thing down

AndyGump 09-06-2011 10:59 AM

Quote:

I was called by a lady who took a weight bearing wall out downstairs on a two story house, not a pretty sight, and she was an architect.
Why do I not find that surprising.

Andy.

AndyGump 09-06-2011 11:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dwillems (Post 722246)
Yes it is. Wish I could get my hands on blue prints if you know who designed these things.

Thanks for all of your help! Now I can make my wife happy and tear this thing down

You may be able to find the as-built plans at your local Building Department.

May have plans for custom homes and tract type homes on micro-fiche.

Look there before you start tearing out and see if you can have your inspector do a courtesy call for a kind of a pre-inspection at your house.

And get permits.

Andy.

Dwillems 09-06-2011 11:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AndyGump (Post 722259)
You may be able to find the as-built plans at your local Building Department.

May have plans for custom homes and tract type homes on micro-fiche.

Look there before you start tearing out and see if you can have your inspector do a courtesy call for a kind of a pre-inspection at your house.

And get permits.

Andy.

yeah yeah permits lol. Never had to go through that process yet, but I plan on it for this. I would like to be able to sell the house later without any problems ;)


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