How to Tell If a Chimney is Structural? | Everything You Need To Know


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This article’s primary objective is to educate us on how to tell if a chimney is structural, partial chimney removal, understanding chimney breast, and other relevant topics discussed in the article.

How to Tell If a chimney is Structural

For a chimney to be structural, the following recommendations must be observed:


The chimney must be covered with a tin or concrete cap, which is 50 mm wider on all sides than the chimney.


The chimney draft is directly related to the structural state of the brick chimney; therefore, a low chimney draft contributes to a decrease in the temperature of the flue gases, which, in turn, contributes to the formation of more condensate.  The chimney draft deteriorates with the tightness of the building and the long-term natural operation of the chimney. If the building is not provided with forced ventilation, repair of facades, and replacement of openings will lead to deterioration in the chimney’s draft. For this purpose, it is advisable to leave adjustable vents on the outer wall to allow the oxygen needed for combustion to enter the building.


The chimney and combustion chamber must be designed and constructed so that the flue gases’ temperature at the outlet does not fall below 100 ° C.


If liquid fuel (oil, gas, etc.) is used as heating material in the furnace, the flue gas temperature remains below 100˚C. Also, low flue gas temperature and the large amount of water contained in the flue gas. The liquid contained in the flue gas condenses in the chimney area on the flue pipe’s cold inner surface. Condensate (sulfuric acid solution SO₂, SO₃) has a corrosive effect and begins to disrupt the smoke channel’s operation actively. Therefore, all oil boilers manufacturers recommend using acid-resistant pipes (stainless steel or ceramic material) in such heaters’ chimneys.


When heating a building in winter, due to the massive temperature difference in the chimney. A situation occurs when liquid from the inside of the chimney is squeezed out onto a colder surface – outward. For stone and a joint with a thickness of 120 mm, this drying cycle takes 3 to a half year. It builds the grouping of dampness in the stack.

The night cold quickly cools the chimney after the furnace’s end, and humidity on the duct’s outer surface and inside the stone and seams crystallizes (ice crystals are formed). When ice forms, the volume increases, and in turn creates internal stresses. Due to internal stresses in a silicate brick, surface destruction or splitting of the entire stone occurs to a thickness of 120 mm. Therefore, it is recommended to lay the chimney in our climatic zone no later than the beginning of September.


Heating should only be done with dry wood with no more than 20% moisture content.


When laying the chimney, the Fire Safety Requirements for Buildings EVS 812-3: 2007 and the Fire Safety Act must be observed.


In Estonia, silicate bricks are mainly used for the exterior of the chimney. An anti-corrosion, acid-resistant stainless steel sleeve must be installed in the duct. The lining of the duct made of silicate stone is placed on a strong cement mortar (T100 / 300). The chimney’s end is protected with a galvanized or painted metal cap or a slanted grout covering.

How to Clean Chimney

Cleaning a fireplace can turn out to be one of the most unpleasant and complex tasks in the cleaning world. The soot is filthy and difficult to remove.

The straight from the fire’s combustion is very toxic, tarry, and lethal substances. Their incorrect cleaning can cause the chimney to catch fire or badly generate unpleasant and dangerous fumes.

Cleaning a chimney and its flue is a complex and not very pleasant job, but if you use the correct equipment and follow a few simple tips, it may be easier for you.

To start cleaning a chimney, you need:

After having prepared all the recommended instruments to clean a chimney, you have to follow the following steps:

  • Use cleaning coverall or old clothes that you will not use again to clean a fireplace. Cover all parts of the body and wear rubber gloves and a hat to protect your hands and hair.
  • Place sheets and towels are covering the furniture near the fireplace.
  • Cover the floor and around the fireplace with newspaper.
  • Prepare a garbage container to deposit papers and debris after cleaning a fireplace.
  • Check that the ashes are well extinguished and cold. If they are off, remove the grill to be able to clean it separately. With a shovel, collect the ashes until the fireplace drawer is clean. Use a vacuum cleaner if necessary.
  • Inspect the chimney and flue. Make use of good light to get a good look inside. Check that the air outlet is free and scrape the sides where the soot is embedded.
  • Use a circular metal brush to scrape the inside of the shot. Rub all over the walls to remove the soot.
Now what? Well;
  • After removing the soot from the walls, use a wire brush to clean the grates. Rub from top to bottom so that all the grime that remains on the walls comes out.
  • Clean the drawer with soap and water. And go removing the papers that are around. Please pick them up carefully as they will be full of soot. Put them carefully in the garbage can.
  • Clean the walls and the front with a sponge and cloths. When the water is no longer dark, rinse and dry the walls with old paper and towels.
  • Next, the next step in cleaning a fireplace is to clean the grates and other metal parts with a wire brush.
  • Dry them carefully with newspaper, so they don’t rust.
  • When everything is clean, you can remove the sheets and papers protecting the surroundings.
  • Put each piece in its place and close the air duct.

How to Clean Chimneys from Inside and Outside of House

Chimneys are located in or outside of all buildings in which devices for generating heat produce combustion gases. In residential buildings, these so-called firing systems include heating systems that generate heat by burning coal, gas, oil, wood fuels, fireplaces, and wood-burning stoves. A chimney’s primary task is to discharge the exhaust gases and flue gas produced during combustion through the roof into the open. Depending on the chimney’s design and the combustion system, the oxygen required for combustion is withdrawn from the room air or supplied via a fresh air draft in the chimney.

How to Clean the Brick Chimney from inside and Outside of the house

  • To repaint or enjoy a brick fireplace in its current state by cleaning it.
  • Whatever technique you use, be sure to cover your fireplace with newspapers and cloth to prevent spills on your floor and walls.
  • With this technique, we mix soap with an abrasive substance (in this example, salt), creating a paste that will collect the filth and be washed away once it dries.
  • A cloth, a firm bristles brush, some alcohol, liquid soap, table salt, eye protection, and safety latex gloves are also required.
  • Mixing two fluid salt washes together by combining roughly 25 grams of each. If required, add a little water. A smooth solution should result after thorough mixing. Please don your protective gloves, grab a cloth, and massage the solution onto the block with it.
  • Let the solution at least 5 – 10 minutes to dry. After that, scrape the dried mixture off the wall with the stiff brush you just used. Based on how soiled the stones are, you may need to redo this.

Reasons for Restructuring Chimney

  • The shooting, the classic among the refurbishment reasons. This phenomenon occurs as soon as moisture settles in the chimney, and the masonry starts to decompose from the inside. You can recognize this by the unsightly yellow and brown spots on your house wall. The chimney’s inside accumulated, especially in old brick chimneys, apart from water vapor, tar, and sulfuric acid. Therefore the chimney interior should be cleaned regularly by a chimney sweep.
  • Soot formation and soot burn. This is due to insufficient regular cleaning, overloading the stove with too much fuel and the residual moisture contained in it, or incorrect operation of the furnace with the air slides closed. Particularly in brick chimneys, an increasing number of stubborn soot deposits make renovation with an internal, single-walled stainless steel chimney necessary. If it is not removed permanently, the chimney can heat up so much that your facade could catch fire.
  • Asbestos, as a remnant of past construction methods. The additive in cement preparation, which has been banned since 1990 and was very popular in the construction of chimneys, is a not-insignificant reason for the renovation. It is very harmful to health.
  • Converting to a modern low-temperature or condensing heating system and a pellet stove, which are to be attached to an existing, brick-built chimney. The old shaft diameter is too large for the rising exhaust gases’ low temperature and no longer has enough draft. As a result, the flue gases cool down inside the chimney and also promote soothing. By renovating a chimney with a stainless steel chimney, for example, you can significantly reduce the pipe diameter.
  • The chimney renovation can also affect the outside area. For example, the masonry or the sealing or cladding would have to be renewed.

Chimneys Removal Tips

 Understanding the chimney removal process will ensure that you are prepared for any eventuality. Whether you are doing the job yourself or using a contractor, be sure to follow the procedure to make sure it is done correctly. 


While it is easy to consider chimney removal in terms of just the chimney on top of the roof, you need to assume that the cost is also the cost of removing the chimney’s face. Make sure that your budget always includes the cost of removing the chimney face and cleaning up the resulting space. Since this area is likely to be in your living room, make sure you have enough budget to achieve a high-quality standard. Suppose you plan to do the job yourself. In that case, the total cost can be estimated by examining the materials used for the existing fixtures, such as roof joists and drywall, and measuring how much of each material, you will need.

Partial removal

Remember that removing the chimney does not automatically mean that you also have to remove the chimney’s face. Not only will breast removal result in a hole in your roof, but complete removal will also leave a hole in your floor. If you are not inclined to carry out the necessary repairs or like the chimney’s design but never use the fireplace, the chimney face can stay in place. This method will limit the need for repairs to the roof and reduce the need for support beams. There will also be some variation in the way the chimney opening is treated. For example, the existing arch can be retained, or the entire gap can be closed off with drywall.


Don’t think that you don’t need special chimney removal approval as you are removing one aspect of your property rather than adding one. Depending on your property’s zoning area and your home’s status, you may need specific approval from the local authority to carry out the work. 

The work must also comply with building codes to ensure no structural damage to the property. If there is a need, make sure to get approval before starting the work.


Chimney removal can be a tedious task, but don’t let that convince you that a contractor must get the job done. With a little self-confidence and intensive research, you can do the work yourself and save money by negating the labor costs. 

While a professional will get the job done a lot faster than you could do it yourself, this shouldn’t be a significant concern. However, it makes sense to schedule the work to suit clear weather, although it is still possible to protect the resulting hole after the chimney has been removed; any special tools you may need can always be rented instead of bought to save more money.

Understanding the Structure of Chimney Breast

A chimney breast is a fireplace portion that protrudes forward from a wall to house a fireplace. Typically extending walls of a building up on the ground floor and includes a fireplace, the smoke through a chimney transported out of the building. 

Chimney robes similarly project from the wall, but they do so on either side of the fireplace and serve to support the fireplace. The inside of a chimney breast is usually filled with masonry or concrete. The construction and appearance of a chimney breast can vary depending on its function and style. English and American builders are more likely to treat the chimney and chimney as distinct architectural features, while French buildings are gradually moving towards underground constructions. 

Chimney tops often become superfluous in their function as a chimney due to installing alternative heating methods such as central heating. Removing the chimney breast can provide more floor space and more shared space. However, chimney pots often have structural functions. 

Therefore, removal must be done with care and preferably with professional advice. Removing part (especially the lower part) of a chest can result in uneven loading of a wall, especially if the upper part is not adequately supported, ideally on an I-beam. In some cases, support on a steel beam and post or through boom brackets may be acceptable. Other factors to consider when removing a chimney breast are: 

  • Fire protection, especially for party walls.
  • Noise insulation
  • Effect on the neighbor’s chimney 
  • Moisture prevention
  • ventilation 
removing a chimney from side of house

Last Words

We believe you have learned a lot concerning this topic on how to tell if a chimney is structural and other relevant topics discussed in the articles.

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