Although chimney breast removal costs will vary depending on the overall complexity of this job, our guide is here to explain which factors can push prices up and how you can reduce what you spend.
Although proud owners of roaring open fires and log burning stoves may well be left scratching their heads as to why anyone might consider removing a chimney breast, there are some very valid reasons why homeowners tackle this task.
In some cases, particularly where space is at a premium, chimney breast removal will be the best way to increase the size of a room. This is also a job undertaken by those who have inherited a less than attractive chimney breast, keen to get it out of the way to allow for a new interior design scheme.
Whatever your reasons for taking out a chimney breast, you will undoubtedly want to know how much it is going to cost you. Here, we look at the kind of costs you are likely to be facing so that you can make an informed decision about whether this is a job that is going to be worthwhile for you.
Which factors affect chimney breast removal cost?
There are several things that will heavily influence the cost of chimney breast removal. So, before getting into the average figures associated with the job, it is useful to ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the chimney breast load-bearing?
- Will you demolish it yourself?
- Which professionals will you be using?
- Will you decorate after the work or hire someone else?
- Is it a ground or first floor chimney?
- Will you be removing an external stack too?
- Will any party structures be affected by the removal?
- Are any gas or electric appliances in place that will need to be removed?
Can you remove a chimney breast yourself?
If you have decided that there are just no chimney breast ideas you like other than getting rid of it entirely, you may well wonder if this is a job you can undertake yourself.
In general, removing a chimney breast is a job best left to the professionals — this is a feature that can alter the structure of a building and as such needs to be done with the upmost care and only after getting advice from a structural engineer.
The correct supports will need to be put in place and the rest of your house will need protecting from the disruption and mess that goes hand in hand with this job — removing a chimney breast is quite different from opening up a fireplace, which is a common job taken on by DIYers.
How much are chimney breast removal costs?
The main influencing factors when it comes to chimney breast removal costs will be the type of chimney breast you are removing and what structural solutions will be required in order for the job to be a success.
It is crucial that you consult with a structural engineer when undertaking this project — they will ensure the structural integrity of your property remains sound and determine how the chimney breast can be removed in the safest possible way. Even if in your case it is found that the removal of your chimney will not compromise the structure of your walls, you will still need proof of this to show your local authority when it comes to getting the project signed off by building control.
The works will need to comply with Part A of UK Building Regulations. For some homes, the removal of a chimney doesn’t necessarily affect the strength of your load-bearing walls. Regardless, your local authority will want proof of this.
Although costs will vary, as stated, and your final bill may well be less than this, property expert and Homebuilding & Renovating's Director of Content Michael Holmes recommends you budget around £5,000 for this project, while builder Neil Griffiths of Foxley Building Co estimates that to carry out the job in a Victorian house would cost between £5,000 - £6,000.
This might sound high, and it may well be possible to have a ground floor chimney breast removed for as little as £1,500, but there are other costs to take into account that will bump the price up.
These costs will be made up of the following:
- Ground or first floor chimney breast removal: Expect costs, on average, of between £1,500 right up to £3,500, depending on structural requirements, the make-up of your chimney and ventilation requirements. If the chimney breast is non-loadbearing this is likely to be a lot less — as low as £500.
- Chimney stack removal: If the chimney stack (the section of the chimney that can be seen above the roof) also requires removal, expect to pay around £300 per metre.
- Building regulations fees: To hire an inspector to approve the removal work you’ll need to pay fees of around £200-220 plus VAT.
- Structural engineer fees: Average hourly rates charged by structural engineers range from between £90 up to £200. For a straightforward project you could expect fees of around £350 - £500.
- Party wall agreement(s): If the chimney is built against a party wall, the works may require a notice to be served and a party wall agreement to be put in place. Expect costs upwards of £700 (plus VAT) per affected neighbour.
- Gas appliance alterations: If the work involves the alteration or removal of a gas appliance, you will need to bring in a Gas Safe Register engineer. Expect to be charged between £50-£100 to remove a gas fire.
- Plastering: Obviously the wall where the chimney breast was will need to be made good after work has finished. Although plasterers' fees vary, expect to pay from around £135 per day.
- Decoration: In order to cut costs, this is one job you might like to undertake on a DIY basis. If not, you will need to call in the pros, which can cost anything upward of £150 per day
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Natasha is Homebuilding & Renovating’s Associate Content Editor and has been a member of the team for over two decades. An experienced journalist and renovation expert, she has written for a number of homes titles. Over the years Natasha has renovated and carried out a side extension to a Victorian terrace. She is currently living in the rural Edwardian cottage she renovated and extended on a largely DIY basis, living on site for the duration of the project. She is now looking for her next project — something which is proving far harder than she thought it would be.