Help w/ Falling Chimney - Posted by GregNorman

Posted by Bud Branstetter on August 15, 2000 at 10:09:56:


When I hear the word “committed” I need to ask you your intent on the property. Is this not a property you are fixing to resell? Things that you would do for yourself are different than what will make the house saleable and cost effective. A brick fireplace is not cost effective. A recent gas line was replaced- 60 feet= $600 with trench and pipe. Save a bunch by contracting the trench yourself. The buyers typically want the ambiance of a fire inside and are less concerned with the brick appearance outside. Much of the cost of a brick fireplace is a concrete pad. It’s like a foundation only more. Figure 3K on the cost of the brickwork.

Help w/ Falling Chimney - Posted by GregNorman

Posted by GregNorman on August 14, 2000 at 11:33:40:

I bought this home to rehab and it’s got a brick chimney that’s falling away. The home is a 2 story colonial (chimney on side) where the backyard falls away (into oblivion). The home has no basement, but a crawlspace instead. The chimney has separated from the home about 8 inches at the top (guessing) and is attached at the bottom. A look under the crawlspace revealed no separation or crack of the foundation (the house is set on ‘piers’ which are in good order). The brick facade(sp?) that runs along the crawlspace on the outside has split in two areas also (not big cracks). One crack about 10 ft from the back corner on the backside of the home and another crack about 20 ft up from the chimney on the same wall. Again, I’ve had several folks take a look and said the home is fine, it’s just the chimney & facade.

Going opinion among a bunch of masonry and chimney folks I’ve had take a look at it say the backside of the house was built on fill dirt (back yard has NO topside… only fill dirt looking stuff) and the chimney has so much weight in such a concentrated area that it’s foundation is settling quicker than the house (and at an angle). Foundation of the chimney appears fine (from the crawlspace and outside inspection), but no one can tell unless they remove the brick facade and take down the chimney.

I do have money in the budget to replace the chimney (and my guy will be out there on Wednesday to take it down). My question is: Is there something else I can do to save a little cost?

I’ve had mixed opinions on ‘strapping’ the chimney to the home. Some chimney folks say the chimney weighs A LOT (plus it never had a cap to keep it from being waterlogged) and you’d have to put in reinforced wood to hold the chimney. And if there is a foundation problem the wood may not stop something that size from falling (leading to bigger problems). Plus, I’m looking to resell this thing for cash. It’s in a nice neighborhood. I figure doing all that work is like saying “Look… I’m putting up a band-aid fix.”

The siding for the home is painted wood. We were thinking of going gas or propane (no gas line currently to the home), but figured it would look weird with a ‘sided’ chimney against a wood sided home.

Any ideas would be appreciated. If I’ve missed any info that may help, let me know. I’ll add. Thanks for the help.


Same opinion - Posted by Bud Branstetter

Posted by Bud Branstetter on August 14, 2000 at 21:13:21:

Taking it down is the best thing to do. In the Dallas area I can put a metal fireplace in for $1500. The gas line to it would be easy on a pier and beam if there were gas to the house. You can frame inside so the exterior would be flat.

Re: Help w/ Falling Chimney - Posted by Laure

Posted by Laure on August 14, 2000 at 21:01:56:

That’s a tough one. I’ve not seen it here, but have seen a home like this in Texas. It was my in-law’s house. They “patched it up” like they did everything in their lives. Jury-riggers to the end ! But I divorced out of the family ! LOL

My opionion, for what it’s worth, is that your reputation is worth more than the cost of fixing this problem right. You said you have the funds to fix this right. I’d be tempted to follow the advice of your masonry contractors. The other option is to remove all the masonry all together and replace it with a metal chimney and a stone or brick facade. I think that would be less expensive than rebuilding all the brick from the ground up. It’s a tough decision, but an 8 inch lean is pretty substantial. I’d hate to leave it that way, and have it fall over in a year and be looking a lawsuit in the face.

Laure :slight_smile:

Re: Same opinion - Posted by GregNorman

Posted by GregNorman on August 15, 2000 at 08:38:56:


Thanks for the info. Is a metal fireplace one that runs off of gas or propane?

I just found out something new. Masonry guy that’s going to do the work said the fireplace isn’t an ‘insert’, it’s built right into the chimney. Suppose to look nicer. Makes things a little different for him (no extra cost). Just wondering if you know how that would affect the ‘metal fireplace’?

I’m pretty committed to replacing it with a regular old fireplace. Wife and I are committed to brick exterior, and I think the money we’d save with anything different would be made up in ‘tackiness’ (with running propane outside). Again, no gas line currently at the house, so running one out there would be expensive (good sized lot).

Just looking into the future.

Thanks again.