Asked on May 13, 2017

Advice from HOMETALKERS who've uncovered a chimney in their old house.

Shauna SteadmanShe's Crafty! Hometalk HelperStephanie
+8

Answered

I live in a 1930's craftsman Bunglow, and I'm considering removing the drywall that is covering a huge all brick chimney in my kitchen. (The actual fireplace is in the next room, not in the kitchen) I've cut some exploratory holes to see the actual chimney and it's about 4 feet wide at the base. It used to be part of the origional furnace. I've done this before in my daughters room with a much smaller 3ft wide straight chimney that was really easy. This kitchen project will involve installing drywall because the chimney appears to have a wide base with a smaller brick collar above that, then tapering up to the chimney on top. Whoever put up the drywall just boxed it in square and left it hollow inside (see photo).
I'd like to hear from some hometalkers who've done this already- what problems did you encounter? Do you feel like the work was worth the reward? Did it improve your property value?
The fireplace was framed in 2x4s before being dry walled over. This empty space goes all the way back to the lathe of the wall in the next room.
10 answers
  • Hillela G.
    on May 14, 2017

    I think its a great idea to remove the drywall, it will add character and visual interest to your space, good luck! Keep us updated!
  • Diane Joss
    on May 14, 2017

    So much work and the old brick doesn't end up looking very nice, just kind of ugly. Some folks paint over old brick in an off white that is cleaner and better looking.
    • None
      on May 14, 2017

      We have a brick chimney in my sewing room and I painted it white 20 years ago. Also still one hiding in my kitchen but not sure when that will be uncovered it at all.
  • Lynne Forrestal
    on May 14, 2017

    I've never done this but if you like the rustic look I'd say do it. I think its nice to have a taste of the history of the home and adds lots of character, especially with the design not being just a straight line.
  • Bev Langlands
    on May 14, 2017

    I have a chimney in my house and it does add character to the room. The kitchen counter is built around it halfway of course. In time I think I will paint it off white.

  • Florent
    on May 15, 2017

    It's a great idea to do so...!!! You'll have a touch of authenticity in your room. You can either paint the bricks, or pass some lin oil to increase their look. You can also pass a "french patina" on it so that it will become old instantly, and then protect it with lin oil...
  • Teresa
    on May 16, 2017

    I removed lathe and plaster to the chimney in my kitchen hoping to leave it exposed. But due to the fact that the house was built with a gap between the structure and the chimney and the bricks seems to be of different sizes, I had to change plans. Unfortunately, you can see the basement through the gaps. I ended up boxing it back in with sheet rock. Adding sheet rock included building out the framing to offset the bricking.
  • I think this is the answer I was looking for. I'm afraid that's what will happen to me. There doesn't seem to be anything between the drywall in the kitchen and next room. (I can see the lathe in the next room). Bummer.
    Thanks!
  • Stephanie
    on May 17, 2017

    If you have the skills (or budget) to add sheetrock to the upper section, I'd encourage you to do it. We exposed the back of a chimney in our kitchen and used trim pieces to fill in smaller gaps than what you have. It's a softer brick--and 118 yrs old-- so we used a sealer to keep it from shedding. Good luck!
  • I used a sealer in my daughters room for the same reason-the mortar had turned to sand! It's rock solid now and no longer seeps cold damp air.
    Thanks for your reply!
  • Shauna Steadman
    on May 23, 2017

    I also live in and am restoring, (which has included taking down textured ceilings and stripping 36, 6 over 1 windows, some of which were French Casements - I took every one fully apart) a 1930's bungalow. There was an old kitchen chimney that went through the second level and attic. I totally removed it and made the resulting space into a utility closet off the up bath. I used the brick I salvaged as a back gardens walkway. I had to be sure that this removal did not sacrifice structure, don't want the house to implode. I have done several of these projects in 7 houses and every one is a specific issue, so make sure that what you decide to do isn't going to cause a failure in another part of the house. Once while removing adobes in one leg of a Brigham 'T' (circa 1800 hundreds), my husband pulled a joist in the leg of the 'T' and the roof fell down in the left side of the top of the 'T', where my teenage son and I were puling out adobes. We hit the deck, but the window sill 18 inches above our heads caught the roof. A friend of mine nearly collapsed her tub into her kitchen while saws-alling some floor joists. I love these adventures!
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