If you live in a period property it’s likely that you will have a number of fireplaces around your home. With modern heating, it’s unlikely that you’d want to bring them all back to life, but it can be a fantastic focal point in a living area and provides some extra cosiness on a cold winter’s night. Whether your heart desires an open fireplace or a wood burning stove, This short guide will talk you through the basics of how to reinstate a fireplace.
To reinstate a fireplace, your chimney will need to be:
- Properly lined
- Compliant with building regulations
To help you through inevitable conversations with specialists:
- Chimney: the housing or structure surrounding the flue(s).
- Chimney stack: The part of the chimney visible externally.
- Chimney breast: The projection into the room internally.
- Chimney pot/cowl/terminal: a way of finishing the top of the chimney externally
- Flue: The void to carry the products of combustion outdoors.
- Flue liner: The material used to form the flue within the chimney. Traditionally this would have been made from clay tiles. However, to pass modern building regulations it is most cost-effective and efficient to ‘line’ the chimney by using a continuous stainless steel or aluminium tube.
- Flue pipe: A metal pipe that connects the flue to an appliance (e.g. wood burning stove)
- Hearth: The floor of the fireplace i.e where the fire burns
- Heath stone: material of the hearth which typically projects into the room to protect the floor from sparks/embers etc.
- Fireplace: This could refer to the general area inside the room. Or more specifically, it can refer to the decorative surround.
You will require building regulations approval to reinstatement a fireplace. Even if you’re only lining the flue or installing a wood burning stove, the potentially safety risks associated with fire and fumes mean the rules are strict. Part J deals with combustion appliances and any structural work will also need to comply.
How to install a wood burning stove
Firstly you will need to find out if your chimney is functional and meets a certain standard for use. Get a chimney sweep round to help with this.
For a wood burning stove the most popular and cost effective route is to install a flexible flue liner, which is inserted down through the top of the chimney.
How much does it cost to install a wood burning stove?
For supply and installation for a two-storey house it should cost around £1500 (+£2-300 per each additional storey). This is for a basic model wood burner – you can spend a lot more! However, there may be other aspects to your chimney that need addressing too, which could push up the costs. For example, if it’s necessary to enlargen the opening and add in new finishes such as a hearth or surround the cost could be more like £2000-£3000.
How to reinstate an open fireplace
A common question (especially in London) is:
Am I allowed to burn fuel in an open fire?
There are rules around burning fuel in many parts of the UK, including London, which are called ‘smoke control areas’. If you are in a smoke control area you’ll need to stick to the list of authorised fuels. One of these is smokeless coal, which you can pick up from most big DIY stores or order online.
A small amount of kindling can usually be used but ask your council because there are different rules in different areas.
How much does it cost to reinstate an open fire?
In an older (e.g. Victorian) property, it can cost a similar amount to reinstate an open fire as it would to install a wood burning stove – approximately £1500 for a two-storey house. This involves lining the chimney with flue liner – which will be similar to that installed for a wood burning stove but with a wider diameter.
Where should I start?
To reinstate a fireplace, the best place to start is to get a chimney sweep/fireplace specialist round to assess the existing condition and provide a quotation for the alteration.
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