It costs nothing to remove a fireplace, if you have your own tools. If you borrow tools, the job will likewise cost nothing. You could even make money on the project if you remove your fireplace with care and sell it to an architectural salvage yard. These command significant amounts of cash if they are historically significant. Although the job is fairly straightforward and only takes an hour or so, you might want to get a friend along to help with the lifting. In this case, the job might cost you a beer or two.
Only if you have to buy tools will you incur any cost. Hiring the required tools is not an option at most tool hire shops, which tend to deal in power tools and specialised items, rather than the hand tools needed for this job. You can think of buying tools as an investment anyway, as they will come in handy for future DIY projects. The total cost is likely to be about £25 or more, as of June 2011, depending on tool choices.
Typically, the tools required for the job, according to DIY experts Jackson and Day, are a 1 kg (2 ½lb0 club hammer, a bricklayer's chisel and possibly a crowbar. Whether or not the fire surround forms part of the fireplace is debatable. Try getting a free fire surround when you buy a fireplace and you'll soon see that fireplace retailers think of the two as separate items. However, if you wish to remove this too, you usually only need a screwdriver.
Hammer and chisel
A 1kg (2 ½lb) club hammer has a block-shaped, solid head, made from drop-forged steel. You use it to break the mortar below the hearth and also when removing the fire back. These useful tools cost between about £9 and £16, according to three of the UK’s largest tool retailers (See References 3 thru 5).
A bricklayer's chisel, more commonly referred to as a brick bolster in the UK, is a chisel with a flat, wide end. It costs between about £8 and £11 and is widely available at many other retailers as well as the ones herein referred to.
Crowbar and sundries
A crowbar, useful for levering out the hearth, is a strong, straight or bent bar used for prizing one thing from another. You can pay more than £25 for a demolition crowbar but you only need pay about £8, and even less,for a utility bar which costs about £5.50.
You can get a perfectly suitable screwdriver for £1 or less but invest a little more if you want a quality tool for future use too. For safety reasons, you ought to use goggles and gloves. You can get goggles for under £1 and gloves for about £1.50, though you can spend more if you wish.
Getting it removed
Consider getting the fireplace removed by a builder. Official government advice, supported by a recommendation from the National Federation of Builders is to find out the price by obtaining quotations. Even a relatively simple job like removing a fireplace can have several variables. However,the job should take a professional tradesperson about an hour and cost from about £30 to £60.
- Cox's Architectural Salvage: Reclaimed Cast Iron Fireplaces - inserts, combinations and fireplace surrounds from Cox's Yard
- "Popular Mechanics Complete Home How-To"; Albert Jackson, David Day; 2009
- Screwfix: Forge Steel Fibreglass Club Hammer 2.5lb
- Wickes: Powa Strike Club Hammer
- B and Q: JCB 2.5lb Club Hammer
- Directgov: Choosing a good builder