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What's behind this fireplace chimney??

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[OP]
Deal Guru
Sep 2, 2008
12250 posts
2026 upvotes

What's behind this fireplace chimney??

This is a wood fireplace. My wife would like to replace the tiles around the fireplace and add a mantle. I'm curious what could be behind the drywall above it. If it could be brick I would like to expose it. Could it simply be a flue/vent and that's it?

Just wanted some opinions before I cut a hole to take a peek inside.
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9 replies
Deal Expert
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Feb 11, 2007
18711 posts
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GTA
slowtyper wrote: This is a wood fireplace. My wife would like to replace the tiles around the fireplace and add a mantle. I'm curious what could be behind the drywall above it. If it could be brick I would like to expose it. Could it simply be a flue/vent and that's it?

Just wanted some opinions before I cut a hole to take a peek inside.
I would guess just a drywall/wood frame around steel pipe chimney.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
20931 posts
19209 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
How old is the house ?

If it’s built after 1990 it’s pretty unlikely you are gonna find any brick or stone. That’s about the time builders began to cheap out and just do plywood & drywall for fireplaces.

If it’s built before that, then there’s a possibility that a previous homeowner covered any brick / stone for a more clean lined modern look ... as was all the rage in newer construction. Or someone thought the existing fireplace design / finishes were dated / ugly.

But my guess ... based on the basic square shape ... is it’s just as is ... a boring box etc
[OP]
Deal Guru
Sep 2, 2008
12250 posts
2026 upvotes
engineered wrote: I would guess just a drywall/wood frame around steel pipe chimney.
Thats what I was thinking. It "sounds" very hollow all over. If so, I'd like to come up with a design that just exposes that chimney and take the frame down to open up the place a little bit.
[OP]
Deal Guru
Sep 2, 2008
12250 posts
2026 upvotes
PointsHubby wrote: How old is the house ?

If it’s built after 1990 it’s pretty unlikely you are gonna find any brick or stone. That’s about the time builders began to cheap out and just do plywood & drywall for fireplaces.

If it’s built before that, then there’s a possibility that a previous homeowner covered any brick / stone for a more clean lined modern look ... as was all the rage in newer construction. Or someone thought the existing fireplace design / finishes were dated / ugly.

But my guess ... based on the basic square shape ... is it’s just as is ... a boring box etc
Its build in late 70s. I looked on old MLS photos and as far back as I can go, its always been covered in drywall.
[OP]
Deal Guru
Sep 2, 2008
12250 posts
2026 upvotes
Took a look inside. What a waste of space. I wouldn't mind an exposed flue but this one is ugly. Maybe just rip the entire thing out.
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[OP]
Deal Guru
Sep 2, 2008
12250 posts
2026 upvotes
engineered wrote: I would guess just a drywall/wood frame around steel pipe chimney.
Do you happen to know if there is a minimum distance that the drywall has to be from the pipe? I'm wondering if the box around the pipe can be built smaller so it doesn't block so much light from the windows.

Or if there is a way to replace the existing pipe with a more attractive pipe that can be exposed?
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
4196 posts
3410 upvotes
Toronto
I'd rip the entire thing out and replace it with an air tight woodstove. Will open it up and be way more efficient and clean burning, depending on the current fireplace that's there.

Lots of clean, modern looking wood stoves out there. Go to Marsh's https://www.marshsfireplaces.com/

You can put a double-wall black stove pipe in and have a really nice looking setup.

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Deal Expert
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Feb 11, 2007
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GTA
slowtyper wrote: Do you happen to know if there is a minimum distance that the drywall has to be from the pipe? I'm wondering if the box around the pipe can be built smaller so it doesn't block so much light from the windows.

Or if there is a way to replace the existing pipe with a more attractive pipe that can be exposed?
Not sure on distances, I think you can get within a few inches if using heat resistance material. You might be able to wrap it with a nicer looking cover, but I like torontotim's idea.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
4196 posts
3410 upvotes
Toronto
Frankly I'd ditch the wood and go to a gas fireplace. I just got rid of my wood stove at the cottage and went with a Jotul 305 propane unit. The convenience is fantastic and no clean-up. No chimney maintenance, no ash to clean out...

Wood fire is great - sometimes we do miss the crackle etc. but the gas fire is so much cleaner. Wife and daughter both have allergies and the wood fires were starting to bother them. Tons of particulate in the air with a wood fire.

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