How Much to Remove a Chimney Breast: Essential Cost Guide for Homeowners

When considering a home renovation, one project often overlooked is the removal of a chimney breast. Yet, it can significantly increase the usable space in your home and create a more modern and open layout. The cost of removing a chimney breast, however, tends to be a key concern for homeowners. This article will introduce the factors that impact the cost of such a project and provide a general understanding of the price range involved.

There are several variables that can influence the cost of removing a chimney breast. These include the complexity of the project, the labour fees, the location of your home, and whether any structural work is required. Due to these factors, it can be difficult to provide an exact figure for the cost of your chimney breast removal. Nevertheless, a rough estimate of the cost involved can be helpful in planning your budget.

By examining various scenarios and taking into account the factors mentioned above, one can think of an appropriate budget for a chimney breast removal project. This article aims to provide that information to help homeowners make informed decisions on their home renovation journey.

Chimney removal from afar

Understanding Chimney Breast Removal

Reasons for Removal

There are multiple reasons why homeowners might consider removing a chimney breast. One of the main motivations is to free up space, as chimney breasts can take up valuable room in your living area, bedroom, or kitchen. Additionally, removing a chimney breast can modernise your home’s appearance and eliminate potential safety hazards, such as structural instability or dampness.

Regulations and Permissions

Before initiating any chimney breast removal project, it’s important to be aware of the relevant regulations and permissions. In the UK, you may need to obtain planning permission, especially if the property is listed or located in a conservation area. Furthermore, removing a chimney breast could affect your neighbours, so it’s important to discuss your plans with them and obtain a party wall agreement if needed.

Building regulations also come into play as they ensure the structural integrity of your home is maintained and other safety aspects are considered. You should consult with a structural engineer to ensure that your chimney breast removal project complies with these regulations. Additionally, it might be necessary to notify your local building control authority about the work being done.

Now that you have a clearer understanding of chimney breast removal, let’s have a look at the costs involved:

Ground or first floor chimney breast removal: Costs generally range from £1,500 to £3,500, depending on factors such as structural requirements, chimney composition, and ventilation requirements. If the chimney breast is non-loadbearing, the cost could be significantly lower, even as low as £500.

Chimney stack removal: This part of the process involves removing the external chimney stack. Prices can range from £300 per metre or £1,800 per project, depending on the stack’s height and complexity.

Labour costs: Typically, the average timescale for a chimney removal project is between 5 to 8 days, though it can vary based on the project’s complexity and the contractors involved.

Remember, these costs are just estimates, and actual expenditures will depend on the specifics of your individual project. It’s recommended to get quotes from multiple professionals to ensure you get the best value for your money.

Assessing the Project Scope

When planning to remove a chimney breast, it’s important to understand the full scope of the project. This involves taking into account structural considerations and the possible impact on property value.

Structural Considerations

Before undertaking any work, it’s essential to consult a structural engineer to assess the chimney breast’s structural significance and determine if it is load-bearing. They can help you understand how the removal could affect the overall structure of your property. Keep in mind that the costs for removing a chimney breast can range from £1,750 to £3,250 for a single room, and up to £4,000 for more complex jobs.

  • External stack removal: £1,000-2,000 plus VAT
  • Ground or first floor chimney breast only: £1,400-2,400 plus VAT
  • Full chimney in a two-storey property: £2,800-3,800 plus VAT

In most cases, chimney breast removal falls under permitted development rights and doesn’t require planning permission. Nonetheless, it’s always best to check with your local council.

Impact on Property Value

The impact on property value can vary depending on several factors, such as the overall condition of your property, local market trends, and how well the project is executed. Removing a chimney breast can create additional living space and modernise the aesthetic of your home, which might increase its appeal to potential buyers.

However, it’s worth noting that some buyers may prefer a property with its original features retained, especially if the building has historical or architectural significance. Therefore, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of removing a chimney breast before making a decision.

chimney structure

Cost Factors

Labour Expenses

The cost of removing a chimney breast largely depends on labour expenses. On average, the timescale to remove a chimney is 5 – 8 days. Actual labour costs can vary depending on the size and complexity of the project.

For instance, non-loadbearing chimney breast removal could be significantly less expensive than loadbearing ones. It’s important to consider that more experienced professionals might charge higher rates, but they could potentially save time and reduce the risk of costly mistakes.

Materials and Waste Disposal

The supply costs for the required materials to remove a chimney breast play an important role in determining the total removal cost. Depending on the specific project, these expenses can range from:

  • £525 to £940 for chimney stack removal only
  • £675 to £790 for ground floor chimney breast removal
  • £790 to £900 for first floor chimney breast removal

Additionally, homeowners need to consider the cost of disposing of the waste generated during the project, like bricks, debris, and other materials. Waste disposal fees can vary based on the volume and specific disposal methods required by your local regulations.

Additional Costs

There are additional costs that might arise in relation to a chimney breast removal project:

  1. Structural requirements: If the chimney breast is part of the structural support of your home, the removal process could demand additional structural reinforcement or support beams. This will usually increase the overall cost of the project.
  2. Ventilation requirements: Proper ventilation is necessary for the remaining part of the chimney, particularly if the chimney stack is left in place. Installing ventilation solutions like air bricks or vents can add to the project’s overall cost.
  3. Masonry work and making good: Once the chimney breast is removed, additional masonry work might be needed to fix walls or ceilings and make them presentable, like plastering, patching, or painting. These additional works can also increase the overall cost.
  4. Potential alterations to the heating system or flue: If the chimney breast formed part of your heating system or flue, you might need to make alterations or modifications to comply with British regulations. This could also contribute to the project’s overall cost.
broken chimney

Using Professionals

Choosing a Company

When it comes to removing a chimney breast, it is highly recommended to hire a professional company. Relying on professionals ensures the job is executed accurately and safely. To choose the right company, you should first gather recommendations from friends, family, or online reviews. 

Don’t forget to consider:

  • Credentials: Make sure the company is insured and has relevant qualifications, such as being a member of a trade association.
  • Experience: Opt for a company with ample experience in chimney removal projects, as this ensures their familiarity with any complications that may arise.
  • Customer reviews: Gathering feedback from previous clients can provide valuable insights into the quality of service provided.

Ensuring Quality of Work

Once you have selected a company, it’s important to monitor the progress of the project to guarantee a high-quality result. Here are a few steps to follow:

  1. Clear communication: Maintain open communication with the company, establishing your expectations and preferences from the beginning.
  2. Regular updates: Request regular progress updates throughout the project, allowing you to assess the work being completed.
  3. Site visits: Schedule on-site visits to inspect the quality of work and address any concerns or questions you may have.
  4. Documentation: Ensure you receive all required documentation, such as safety certificates, planning permissions, and building regulation approvals.
  5. Raising concerns: If you are unsatisfied with any aspect of the work, address your concerns promptly with the contractor, allowing them to rectify any issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the expenses associated with removing a chimney breast from a bungalow?

The costs associated with removing a chimney breast from a bungalow are typically similar to those of a ground floor room in a two-storey house. On average, you should expect to pay around £1,800 to perform the removal per project. However, in a bungalow, you may find that there are fewer structural alterations required, which could help reduce costs. Remember that using a professional, obtaining planning permission or structural assessment fees might contribute to the overall cost.

How do I find reputable chimney breast removal services in my vicinity?

Finding reliable chimney breast removal services in your area can be achieved through a few different approaches. You can start by asking friends, family or neighbours for recommendations based on their personal experiences. Online resources like Checkatrade can also provide reputable professionals, ratings and reviews, giving you added confidence in your choice. Ultimately, you should gather quotes from multiple providers and select the one that best matches your needs in terms of expertise, experience and cost.

Is engaging a structural engineer necessary for the safe removal of a chimney breast?

In most cases, using a structural engineer is highly recommended when planning to remove a chimney breast. A structural engineer can evaluate the current construction of your property, determine the need for any additional supports and help ensure the safe removal of the chimney breast. This assessment is particularly important when working with load-bearing walls or dealing with properties that have undergone previous renovation work. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to structural modifications within your home.