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How to knock down a brick fireplace

Updated February 21, 2017

Removing an old brick fireplace becomes necessary when the structure requires major renovations or the homeowner no longer wants the fireplace. Removing a fireplace creates more space in a home and opens up decorating possibilities. In most homes, fireplaces are unnecessary for anything but aesthetic value. Knocking down the fireplace is not as daunting as it sounds, but it does entail a lot of physical labour.

Remove all furniture and unsecured items from the room. If the items are not removable, move them as far from the fireplace as possible.

Place sheets of plywood on the floor around the entire fireplace to protect the floor from falling bricks and highly abrasive masonry dust.

Lay tarps over exposed flooring and furniture.

Place a masonry cold chisel or a masonry cape chisel onto a top corner mortar joint of the fireplace and strike with a heavyweight masonry hammer. Move the cold chisel along the mortar joint and strike with the hammer until a brick loosens. Mortar surrounds the bricks on the sides, bottom and top, so this process will entail chipping mortar away from all of the bricks that make up the fireplace. It's important to begin at the top corner of the fireplace and work your way across and down to the floor to avoid having the brick structure crash and ruin the floor.

Remove the brick from the fireplace and move to the mortar line of the next brick. Continue to move the cold chisel along the mortar lines, striking with a hammer and removing the bricks one-by-one, until no bricks remain.

Cut around the firebox with a reciprocating saw equipped with a carbide masonry blade until the firebox is free. Remove the firebox. You will have a large hole through the wall and a missing section of flooring. If you are reconstructing the wall and floor, frame the areas with 2-by-4 lumber, add drywall to walls and nail in place. Lay plywood on the floors and nail it in prior to laying the surface flooring.

Tip

Consult a structural engineer prior to removing a fireplace to determine if the bricks are also a supporting wall. Wear safety goggles, gloves and a dust mask when removing brick fireplaces.

Things You'll Need

  • Plywood
  • Tarps
  • Masonry cold chisel or cape chisel
  • Masonry hammer
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Carbide masonry saw blade
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About the Author

Sal Marco began writing professionally in 2009. He has written many online home improvement articles based on his more than 20 years of experience in the home improvement and building industries. He has worked as both part of a team and as a site supervisor. Marco has a Bachelor of Science in management science from Kean University.