We have a plaster-covered chimney in the 3rd floor home
office. However, over the decades, it appears that the plaster has
developed many warts, bumps, and patches so that it looks more like
hilly countryside than a flat wall.
We are considering a couple of options:
1. Trying to scrape off the bumps and repatch (probably though a
2. Taking down all the plaster and replastering
3. Walling off the chimney with drywall (either with or without first
stripping the plaster)
- Any thoughts on what is best?
- What are the code requirements when either plastering over or
drywalling off a chimney?
Specifically, how much spacing is needed between the chimney and
drywall (particuarly if using fire-resistant drywall)?
[Note the chimney is now only used to vent our gas hot water heater
which goes up through a metal liner]
You sure have a lot of projects going on. I bet your house is a zoo.
Used only a gas vent with a liner you can do about anything you want and be
safe. I can't promise "to code" in your area but it will be okay.
New drywall (green board preferred) attached directly to the existing mess
with bugle head Tapcon screws is the least messy easy way to go. Use a
liberal amount of drywall adhesive and just the minimum amount of screws.
Option 2 is to furr it out and hang drywall in the normal manner.
Plaster is a really hard DYI project. You could use Durobond as a base coat
and regular sandable mud for the top coats.
If there is an open hearth or thimble that your failed to mention, brick it
up before adding the drywall.
We recently purchased the house and there is a lot to get done. I have
been trying to prioritize and then do some myself and hire
professionals for the hardest, most time consuming stuff. Either way,
I try to do my research first online so I can bring in the right
people, ask the right questions, and make sure that I am not
overlooking important factors or alternatives.
Should I be using the Type X (fire resistant) drywall?
Someone else mentioned possibility of using "hat channel" furring
mounted with Tapcon screws followed by Type X drywall as a way of
ensuring code compliance (though I will need to check with local
building inspector for confirmation).
I probably would hire a plasterer here directly. My most pressing
question is really whether it is better to just go hire a plasterer or
to hang drywall (which I can either do myself or hire for).
No hearth. Won't know about thimbles if or until I remove the current
layers of plaster.
BTW, is bricking out thimbles a DIY job or not? Note, I have never done
brickwork but other than the fact that I'm sure it will take me longer
and won't look as good (which doesn't matter here), I am not "afraid"
of doing it.
I don't know your local codes. You should follow them.
A double wall gas vent is rated for 1" clearence to combustilbe surfaces. A
properly installed single wall liner would have to heat 3+" of brick to 451
degrees or more to even ignite the paper backing on drywall. I would let my
grandchild sleep in this room after the drywall was hung. If X is water
resistent, and it makes you feel better, use it. IMO, the water resistent
factor is more important in this application than the fire protection
because I am betting that the minor moisture that created the bumps will
return in the future. Old brick was not "hard fired" and wicks a small
amount of moisture forever.
If you can put rectangular objects into a round hole using a LOT of mortar
and getting a good seal you can do the job. :)))) And like you said, who
the h*&% is ever going to see it.
I wonder if the top part of the chimney needs to be weather proofed.
Your description sounds like moisture penetration.
Without some weather proofing, that's going to continue behind whatever
you use to cover it.
We have used spakle to fill cracks and gouges in our plaster walls.
Depending on adjacent construction and the extent of deterioration,
that might be easier than matching gyp board to adjacent surfaces.
House is old (150 years) so damage has certainly occurred over the
years. A new rubber membrane roof was installed about 6 years ago in
that area (roof there is flat).
Any good way to tell weather issue has been solved or not?
Is it sufficient to dig into a few sample areas after a big rain storm
(or snow melt) and see if any of the plaster layers are noticeably
My only concern with this approach is that it seems like there are
already multiple layers of spackle upon spackle leaving the surface so
bloated and uneven that stripping it all back and/or covering it with
drywall may be the better approach.
like tbasc said, you may want to wait until you can get the exterior of the
chimney watertight before doing
anything inside. tuckpoint, sealer, condition of cap, etc. If moisture is
working down through the brick and
you cover it, it will get nasty and maybe moldy under (and through) the
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