Can I Remove a Brick Chimney?


Removing a brick chimney will require strenuous physical work at elevated heights. Brick-by-brick is the formula to follow. Check the weather forecast in advance to make sure you'll have dry days to work on the demolition. A roof frame covered with decking and shingles will need to cover the hole left by the removed chimney, so prepare accordingly.

Things You'll Need

  • Pry bar
  • Carpenter's hammer
  • Sledge hammer
  • Nails
  • Lumber
  • Shingles
  • Tarpaulin

How to Remove a Brick Chimney

  • Thoroughly inspect the area around the chimney to make sure it is solid and safe. Roof areas around chimneys often have rotten decking, so make sure the roof can safely support your weight plus the weight of the bricks and debris that's removed. Take note of existing utility power lines that need to be avoided.

  • Place some wood inside the fireplace to protect the bottom and sides of the fireplace from bricks and debris that may fall down the flue during the dismantling process. Also use a tarpaulin to cover the front of the fireplace to prevent falling debris and dust from entering the home.

  • Start at the top, removing the chimney cap and each brick, one at a time. Tap the bricks with a hammer to loosen them. If necessary, drive a pry bar into the mortar joints to knock the bricks loose. Remove the bricks by hand and have a designated area to place the bricks as they are removed.

  • Remove the center flue of the chimney, piece by piece, as the bricks are removed. Break the flue and materials holding it in place into smaller pieces with a sledge hammer. Try to catch the debris before it falls down into the fireplace. If too much material falls into the fireplace it can become jammed in tight and require a lot of extra work to remove it.

  • Go into the attic, if necessary, and continue the dismantling as the chimney recedes below the roofline.

  • Remove the flashing and damaged shingles around the opening of the roof where the chimney was located. Build the roof frame in the open hole and cover with decking and shingles. Temporarily cover the hole or framing and decking with tarpaulin, if necessary, to prevent moisture from entering the house.

  • Continue dismantling the chimney all the way down to the foundation. The chimney foundation is much thicker and usually separate from the house foundation.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider what access is available to the entire chimney before starting the project.
  • Always take safety precautions and wear proper safety equipment while operating machinery or using hand tools.
  • Falling debris can cause serious injury or damage to property.

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