Our house is 20 years old, and the base of the brick chimney attached
to a fireplace has started to sink into the ground. About 2 feet off
the ground is a 1/2 inch crack from where the base of the chimney has
split from the top of the chimney.
Every estimate we have received to repair the chimney is about $10,000
which is not affordable right now. However, all of these estimates
involve removing the old chimney and rebuilding a new one.
Are there any other options we can consider? The fireplace is
If the lower part of the masonry is dropping away from the upper
the house is supporting the weight of the upper masonry. I doubt that
intended to do that.
If the bottom is dropping away, the foundation and the soil supporting
it are not
capable of supporting even that small weight.
A gas fireplace does not require a masonry chimnery.
A ventless gas fireplace requires no chimney.
Considering it its gas, you have a couple of possible options. The existing
chimney must be properly supported or it could become a hazard. It may be
possible to fill the crack, but if the base is still sinking, that is not a
real solution, but a temporary fix. Talk to someone that can give some
advice on the footings or how to shore it up.
Once in place, you can consider a liner for the existing chimney so you will
have no worries about cracks.
Is the chimney needed for appearance or is it in the back of the house where
removing it is not a big deal? If removed, you can replace it with various
metal chimneys. They sure do not look as good as a well made stone or brick
Definitely, if the OP sees the only future use of that chimney as vent
for gas fireplace, and load-bearing is not certifiable for that
chimney, they'd be insane to toss $10K for another load of bricks.
Much better investment to dispose of it and remove all traces.
If the current fireplace requires chimney for draft, that deserves
looking-at too. Direct-vent, or ventless. Meanwhile- hard-hat area.
You can get metal-prefab chimneys that will work for oil and even
wood. The materials cost isn't any cheaper than masonry, and
they're ugly as hell, but they don't weigh in the tons, so that may
be another option to look at.
Since it is gas burning, if is not already, you can just add a inner
metal vent for a chimney and just use the chimney as decoration. As
for the sinking, you will want to at least stop it where it is at
now. You will need to support it and then get underneath it and pour
the footer to it correctly. Usually 3 foot down and from 8 to 12"
thick. I am assuming the footer for it is insufficient.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.