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Rediscovering and Recommissioning an Old Fireplace

Recommissioning a hidden fireplace is a quick and easy way to add value and functionality to your home. As part of a renovation project, an original fireplace with period correct features are more cost-effective than loft conversions or conservatories, which are other common home improvements. Once reinstated, your fireplace could host an open fire, a log-burner or be a decorative focal point for the room. Whatever you decide, reopening a fireplace will often require a thorough clean and sweep to dislodge and removes decades of built up dust and debris. This way, you’ll have a good-looking and safe fireplace to enjoy.

Is Planning Consent Required?

Reinstating a fireplace rarely requires permission as it falls under ‘permitted development’. The only reason you might have trouble developing your newly discovered fireplace is if you live in a listed building. Though you don’t need planning permission, the fireplace will need to comply with building regulations. This will guarantee the safety of the fireplace once it resumes its original use as a fuel burning appliance.

Building Regulations Related to Fireplaces

Approved installers of fireplaces are classed ‘competent persons’ who can self-certify the work to restore your fireplace does comply with regulations. Part J of the building regulations deal with combustion appliances. Once you have cleaned the opening and swept the flue, it’s time to upgrade the hearth. Most old fireplaces will have concrete floors that are set flush with the room’s floor. This will need raising by a few inches to satisfy modern safety standards, but this is a simple fix that gives you multiple options for the hearth material, including marble and slate.

Further Considerations

A sufficient amount of oxygen will be needed, both to maintain safe levels for occupants and also to supply the fire with the air it needs to combust. Often this means fitting vents close to the fire. If your home has a wooden floor, vents can be installed here. This has twofold benefits. Firstly, the draft for the oxygen will come from the subfloor and not under the door, and secondly this will aerate the subfloor and provide some level of damp prevention.

Restored Fireplace Safety

Have your fireplace inspected by a chimney specialist and you’ll be safe in the knowledge that your flue, flue liner and fireplace is able to avoid such problems as bird ingress, chimney fires and poor burning. It’s tempting to make a fireplace that is pleasing to the eye but in order for it function properly, it will need a properly sized flue, ventilation, and possibly a chimney mounted cowl or pot extender.

London Chimney Sweeps proudly keep the capital’s fireplaces and flue networks smoking happily all year round. We’re a traditionally reliable, courteous and efficient company but we also use the latest in remote visual technology to inspect your chimneys and flues. The enjoyment of your fire and safety around open flames is our priority. So, to make your fireside ready for winter fun, contact us today. We’re always happy to help.


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