classicJackets (FS)
classicJackets (FS) SuperDork
8/7/22 7:59 p.m.

Anyone else have that weird wall in your house?? My wife and I bought this 1920 home in 2019 and have slowly been working through things. This wall had been on our list for a while.. drywall over furring over plaster... On the fireplace wall. Our room upstairs has some paneling over this too.

We pulled the wall off today and found some severely water damaged plaster and a hidden window!

Exciting that we have a window, but I need to figure out how to cover the brick back up safely, which I'm not sure how to do.

Is there a go-to resource for walling over a brick chimney? Is it possible to get an outlet framed in up there for TV/Xbox? Anything else I should be thinking of?

EvanB
EvanB MegaDork
8/7/22 8:31 p.m.

Yours looks different than mine and you may not have the mantel depth for it but this is what I did to cover mine. Basically built a wall for the right width and height then set it up there and fastened top and bottom, trimmed in the sides with 1x12 pine boards cut to fit the contour and drywalled the front then trimmed around it. I dropped a wire from the attic above to add an outlet for the TV. 

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
8/8/22 12:37 p.m.

If you forgo the electric/tv hook up I would run over that with 1/4 inch durarock and then finish as you want with another layer of GYP or tile or even thin set brick. If you want wiring I think you are going to have to fur it out to make space. Fill the wall cavity with cerawool (ceramic batt insulation) and use steel studs.   I would add some small tap cons at 6" o/c through the back flange of the steel studs to the chimney if you are then going to hang a tv there. 

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/8/22 12:46 p.m.

ha. I'm literally going through this right now too. 

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/off-topic-discussion/how-do-i-find-and-fix-a-chimney-leak/186457/page2/#post3521157

I think we are going to frame around it with 2x4 and then drywall. We're going to add a gas insert, and probably some tile around the insert. Then I plan to do a bit of decorative woodwork and trim to add some flair and a mantle and then we will paint the whole thing (except the tile). 

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/8/22 12:54 p.m.

looks about like this now:

 

and we'll be going for this kinda look (but not white):

Fireplaces Without Mantles

classicJackets (FS)
classicJackets (FS) SuperDork
8/9/22 8:42 p.m.

A few more questions for folks with experience!

Picture 1: is this discoloration from smoke, or water? Or neither? 

Picture 2: this "gap" is between the front fireplace brick and the actual wall/framing around it. Do I need to fill this gap? Or is it okay as is? Drywall will replace the plaster that was in there.

 

Picture 3: found (part of) the leaky area. I'll likely try to treat/cover the wood even though it feels to be very dry.

RacetruckRon
RacetruckRon Dork
8/10/22 10:49 a.m.

Have you been up on the roof? I'd be looking for loose flashing around the base of the chimney on the roof or a leaky chimney cap.  The water is likely getting in higher up and running down to that point.

Also, insulation while the sheet rock is removed?

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
8/10/22 11:16 a.m.

In reply to classicJackets (FS) :

Picture #1- can't tell. But it doesn't look like water. I'd hire a chimney specialist to inspect that firebox and chimney before covering it up. It looks suspiciously like smoke. 
 

Picture #2- Seal cracks for drafts. A product like Great Stuff

Picture #3- Even if it's dry, that sure looks like mold. Rip the header out and replace. If you don't, it will continue to dry rot.

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
8/10/22 11:19 a.m.

In reply to classicJackets (FS) :

Original question...

Covering it is the easy part. You can frame a wall around it, or furring strips, or plaster directly. 
 

The hard part is insuring the water leak is fixed, then sealing the face of the bricks and mortar joints. That brick is probably ridiculously soft (you might be able to stick your fingernail in it).  You need to know that it is not compromised for structure or smoke.  This would typically be with cement stucco on the face of the brick.

classicJackets (FS)
classicJackets (FS) SuperDork
8/10/22 12:39 p.m.
RacetruckRon said:

Have you been up on the roof? I'd be looking for loose flashing around the base of the chimney on the roof or a leaky chimney cap.  The water is likely getting in higher up and running down to that point.

Also, insulation while the sheet rock is removed?

Our house is a 2.5-3 story, with a very steep roof. I haven't been up there and I'm not sure I'm willing to at this point. We Believe the water leak was fixed in the past and the 'restoration' work inside the house was just never done. Definitely going to be insulating anywhere we can - we had our bathroom walls open previously and insulating has made that the coziest room in the house.

 

classicJackets (FS)
classicJackets (FS) SuperDork
8/10/22 12:41 p.m.
SV reX said:

In reply to classicJackets (FS) :

Picture #1- can't tell. But it doesn't look like water. I'd hire a chimney specialist to inspect that firebox and chimney before covering it up. It looks suspiciously like smoke. 
 

Picture #2- Seal cracks for drafts. A product like Great Stuff

Picture #3- Even if it's dry, that sure looks like mold. Rip the header out and replace. If you don't, it will continue to dry rot.

The hard part is insuring the water leak is fixed, then sealing the face of the bricks and mortar joints. That brick is probably ridiculously soft (you might be able to stick your fingernail in it).  You need to know that it is not compromised for structure or smoke.  This would typically be with cement stucco on the face of the brick.

Thank you for your replies. We have a Chimney Sweep/expert who lives down the street and did our intial cleaning 3 years ago, when we pulled the concrete off the damper. I was thinking we should call them, this confirms that. 

We'll be re-framing for a new window to match the existing one anyway, so that's a good excuse to take out that section of ugly. I suppose worst case we can pull siding outside the house and replace those outer boards with some sheathing, too. The hard part here is this all runs up into the 2nd floor (and our bedroom) where we are not quite ready to take that part on yet. I suppose fix what we can here, and we'll address the rest when we get this part wrapped up!

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
8/10/22 12:57 p.m.

In reply to classicJackets (FS) :

Then hire someone to inspect the flashing on the roof.

You need to confirm the leak has been corrected before doing the interior repairs

 

Edit:  The problem is that your interior repairs will most likely include a cavity. Furring strips, studs, etc. If you don't confirm the leak has been fixed, your repairs may not show the issue. The water may run down the cavity without damaging your ceiling or wall, and you won't know anything about it until your floor rots through. 

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