If you have an old brick fireplace stuck in the wall, you can easily remove it, cover it up and you’ll never know it was ever there! Best of all, it doesn’t take a whole lot of tools and novice carpentry skills are all that are necessary for removing a brick fireplace and covering it up with your choice of wall coverings.
Removing an old brick fireplace is a pretty straight-forward project but it does contain some structural issues that need to be dealt with first. Is the brick fireplace in poor condition? If it is, you may need to get it professionally removed. Calling in a chimney specialist is a must since they are going to professionally cap it. They can make perfect measurements for an attractive fitting or modify an existing one to cover the old chimney or good. You don’t want bats in your chimney (or belfry).
Once you’ve got the outside good and secured, you can focus on the inside part of removing a brick fireplace. Begin by dismantling the fireplace hearth. Put the bricks or debris into buckets to easier transport them all rather than one or two at a time.
Next, working from the top down, begin removing the upper section of bricks. An electric grinder with a diamond-blade can make quick work of old mortar. Always wear sufficient eye and lung protection. Glove, long sleeve shirts and pants are a must. If you’re a good DIY aficionado, then you’ve already taped off the area with plastic and drop cloths prior to beginning removing an old fireplace.
Remove enough brick so that ¾” minimum is behind the existing wall the fireplace is on. How much brick you remove really depends on what type of material you will be framing the hole with. Obviously if your using 2×4’s you’ll either need 1 ½” or 3 ½” depending on which way you turn them. FIY, they also need to be pressure treated.
Now cut pieces to fit horizontally across the brick. You’ll need to first rip down any 2×4’s to fit brick that aren’t quite 1 ½” minus your drywall’s width or other wall finishing width. Use a straightedge and tape measure to find out exactly where you need to be.
Next, set the first piece on the bottom of the wall and attach it in place with Tapcons. You’ll need to first drill a ¼” hole through the wood, then into the brick using a concrete drill bit. Attach the first screw before drilling the next ones; this will prevent the holes from misalignment.
Attach boards ever 16″ apart minimum in the same manner. Next attach drywall or other wall coverings to suit your design.