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Hi, I have a space in my house that used to house a pellet stove. I want to remove the raised bricks from it and then install a frame to install a new gas fireplace and then cover the brick with either reclaimed wood or ship lap.

My question is, can I just chisel out the bricks that extend beyond the plane of the majority of the fireplace or will this weaken the whole brick facade? I was even thinking of chiseling out the bricks up until the weirdly spaced bricks a couple rows above the arch. Then I could frame it up and do a kind of header to hold the above bricks in place. Am I getting in over my head? Any advice is welcomed.

Attached are a couple pics of the fireplace. The third pic is the inside edge of the side of the brick arch.
 

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The pellet stove probably has a fan powered exhaust and a gas fireplace will usually be naturally drafted. Verify what is needed for the model you want.

On a personal note, I like the brick and I think their approach of an enclosed cavity to promote air circulation is unique. I have noticed all of the home renovation shows painting the brick and it reminds me of the days when they gave up on real hardwood floors. Now, when they find real hardwood under the carpet they are excited. maybe 40 years from now they will be trying to restore that old brick :).

Now, from an energy point of view, a gas fire place is typically not something you would want to heat a house with. Check btu output if that is your intention.

Bud
 
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