Should I Remove Chimney and Leave Firebox with Gas Logs?

by Mzsmith1
We purchased a 1980's house a little over a year ago with a wood-burning fireplace. The brick chimney is on the outside of the 2-story cedar-sided house and extends through the roof and guttering. The chimney is on the back of the house inside of a fenced in yard. We have not used the fireplace because it leaks and frequently has water standing in the firebox.

When we purchased the house last year, the home inspector said that the water in the firebox was because the gutters, which butt up against either side of the chimney needed diverters to direct the water away from the chimney. The seller added diverters to the guttering, but the water leaks continued.

I had the fireplace cleaned and inspected recently by both a chimney sweep company and a contractor. The chimney is leaking in multiple places and needs repair and sealing including the top of the fireplace. The flashing also needs repair/replacement. All of the siding and trim right around the chimney is rotted and will have to be replaced. Some of the sheathing on the house is also rotted. The chimney inspection also revealed a hole in the interior of the flue which means I can't use the fireplace unless the flue is re-lined.

So, it looks like I need to repair and seal the chimney, fix the flashing, fix the top of the fireplace, line the flue with a stainless steel flue, replace the sheathing, siding, and trim. The fireplace, hearth, and mantle inside of the house look fine.

My question is this... Would it be feasible to remove the chimney down to the firebox instead of repairing and sealing, cover the opening in the firebox somehow, and install ventless gas logs? I know that I would have to replace the siding where the chimney is now and also rebuild the roofline and add guttering all the way across. Would like any ideas of options besides full repair/seal/relining of fireplace and replacement of siding, including which would be more economical.

Thanks for the help.
  5 answers
  • Debbie Harris Debbie Harris on Nov 24, 2013 or or
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Nov 25, 2013
    Oh my! What a mess! Were you given any idea of the cost to repair all this? I think I would repair the chimney to the point you stop the water coming in and you can put in gas logs that are vented. It may be cheaper to repair and keep the fireplace than it would be to take it out and remake the back of the house.
  • Mzsmith1 Mzsmith1 on Dec 08, 2013
    I don't have an estimate for the total job from any one company. I have estimates for sealing/repairing the chimney without relining and without repairing the siding, another estimate for repairing the siding and repairing the chimney without relining, and a final estimate for the chimney repair/sealing and relining but no siding repair. So far no estimate for running a gas line and installing gas logs. Since I got different stories concerning the need to reline the flue from the two chimney sweeps, I am planning to get another chimney sweep to inspect the chimney with a video for a tie-breaker opinion. I am then going to decide what exactly what I want to do, then get at least two estimates for the total job so I won't have to hire multiple companies. I will probably wait until after the holidays at this point.
  • AvonelleRed AvonelleRed on Jul 21, 2014
    My ex did have this done on his house, and it just didn't look good. He had the chimney removed down as low as he could go below the roof line and still keep the inside box part to add the gas fire logs. It just looks really weird, wasn't done well, and I really felt like he should have just fixed it rather than remove it
  • Sherrie Sherrie on May 25, 2015
    We removed several chimneys but when we removed them we had the roof fixed. It isn't hard to remove the chimney yourself. If the grout is good we used a chisel hammer. But we also did this when we tore off the roof on one house. Mithe other house we removed it and then had the roof patched where we took it down. I also got into the attic and removed the brick as low as I could get which was pretty low.