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Old Heatform... Can I take it out?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by BKPmax, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. BKPmax

    BKPmax New Member

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    Hi,
    I Would like to rebuild my living room, wood burning fireplace.
    Any advice would be great.
    First off: Money is too tight to hire a pro. I'm fairly handy and I would enjoy this.

    The damper on my 1952 Superior Heatform is broken. Overall, the damper seems fairly deteriorated.
    I would like to build a new firebox/mantel/hearth, for a wood burning insert.
    OK, so after I remove the old stone face... I would like to raise the firebox off the floor and build a nice hearth.
    ...but I don't understand the Heatform. Does the heatform support the chimney? Can I remove chunks of the heatform as necessary?

    I also would like to open the firebox area a couple inches taller, but am concerned about damaging masonry that supports chimney.

    Attached Files:

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  2. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    I think you can cut up the heatform with a recipricating saw and a metal blade. I've heard it can be done, but its not fun. Have you considered just removing the damper and installing an insert with the heatform in place?
  3. rphurley

    rphurley Feeling the Heat

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    When they installed my insert they tried to cut through with a reciprocating saw and metal-cutting blades, but they went through a ton of blades and progress was too slow. They came back with a plasma cutter and cut out several pieces in the back to accomodate the large square insert and cut the damper out too. It was a tough job, but they were able to get it done and allowed me to put in the large I3100 insert that I wanted.
  4. Rougement

    Rougement New Member

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    I cut it out with a reciprocating saw so the liner could drop straight down. It's not easy work but it can be done. Wear eye protection and take your time. Use shorter blades so you don't end up bending the blade if it hits any masonry behind.

    You never know what's behind there. I found newspaper, pine needles, a rusty nail puller and some 13 x 13 styrofoam an idiot had fashioned into a chimney cap and attached with duct tape.
  5. BKPmax

    BKPmax New Member

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    Thanks.
    So, does anyone know if the Heatform supports the chimney?
  6. BKPmax

    BKPmax New Member

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    Regarding: Removing Damper.
    We want to move the fire box off the floor, so we can have a raised 8" hearth. Given that, I need to cut a bunch of the upper Heatform out.
    I just don't know what I'll need to rebuild once the Heatform is cut open, or if any part of the chimney weight is resting on Heatform.
  7. rphurley

    rphurley Feeling the Heat

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    It didn't look like there was any masonry resting on the Heatform in our situation. I'm no mason, but I can't imagine that the Heatform is anything more than a double-hulled liner. Since it is double walled, then I would imaging that removing it would be a pretty big job. Somebody on this forum will respond with some more definitive answers. Good Luck.
  8. BKPmax

    BKPmax New Member

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    Guys, I've read a lot since this post... If I damage the Heatform (as I want to raise the fire box 8") I could possibly be exposing combustibles, correct? I really want to get the firebox off the ground to build a hearth.
  9. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I have a heatform and modified it recently for installation of a freestanding woodstove. Sorry, I can't tell you for sure whether the heatform itself supports any of the masonry in your install. I can tell you that it was tough cutting that thing. The inner wall is quite thick and tough and the outer wall, though thinner, was in contact against masonry making it tough to cut. In some cases I found the outer wall to be rusted out probably because we had no chimney cap. I ended up using a cutting torch for most of the mods after lots of explicatives with a reciprocating saw.

    I read that these things were created, in part, so that unskilled masons could construct a fireplace, hence the name, heatform. The steel being used as a form to build masonry around. In my case only masonry was in contact, or anywhere near, the heatform metal and I was able to cut near the top of the heatform without compromising the fireplace structure. At the front of mine there is a built-in lintel that supports the masonry so I wouldn't want to cut there.

    If you want so see photos look up my earlier post.
  10. BKPmax

    BKPmax New Member

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    Thanks Semipro,
    I tried looking-up your "earlier post" ...weeded through 6 pages of posts... can you direct me to it?
    Thanks

    NEVER MIND.. I found it thanks!!
  11. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    So, how did it go for you?

  12. BKPmax

    BKPmax New Member

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    stopped the project for a while. Now we're back on it. Hiring an experienced Mason.
  13. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Keep us updated, i'm looking into the same thing.
  14. zzr7ky

    zzr7ky Minister of Fire

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    Hi -

    I cut mine with a 4 1/2" grinder with a cut-off wheel. Also used recipricating saw in some places. It wasn't that bad. It fits in my chimney and doesn't support wieght.

    There shouldn't be combustibles hidden in the hearth. Time will tell. People do crazy things.

    I have my VC Resolute Acclaim sitting on my raised hearth, venting though the FP opening and then straight up though the back of the old rear panel of the heatform unit. That way I could use rigid liner.

    All the best.
  15. BKPmax

    BKPmax New Member

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    Just met with a mason. He was thinking -just cut out the portions of heatform needed to install insert. Doesn't think a liner is even necessary...
    Doesn't think a permit is necessary either...
  16. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Just met with my mason and he said there is no sure way to give an exact bid cuz you just don't know what your getting into til you tare into it. He said it's doable and if he were to give me a bid it would be around $1200-1600, but he'd have to charge me an hourly rate for labor. I think we might leave the back metal in place and just cut out the sides and front. It all kind of scares me and I know it would be cheaper and easier to just throw an insert in there but if I did I'd probably kick myself down the road wondering what it would be like the other way.
  17. BKPmax

    BKPmax New Member

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    The other issue is, will your fireplace still qualify as a fire place without the insert. I would like the mason to finish mine as to still be a natural fireplace without an insert (when it comes time to sell).
    I've set-up 2 more appointments with (I think) more experienced type guys.
  18. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Mine won't be qualified as a fireplace without the stove but I don't care, I think the resale value will go up with a more efficient system. Also think about the 30% tax credit, if your fireplace is turned into a hearth for a stove it should be included in the credit as part of the installation. I figure to cut off $1200 total with the tax credit.
  19. BKPmax

    BKPmax New Member

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    ...tax credit on stove... Any idea about tax credit for the physical conversion? As in a professional masonry construction installation costs for a high efficient product?
  20. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    As far as I know the tax credit applies to the stove, venting, hearth and installation costs, so I'm thinking any masonry construction for your stoves hearth qualifies.
  21. BKPmax

    BKPmax New Member

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    The stone face has come off, revealing more of the c. 1950 Superior Heatform. Wonder if any of the chimney is resting on it??

    Attached Files:

  22. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Looks like your making progress. I'll wait and see if your chimney comes down before I rip mine out. :lol:
  23. BKPmax

    BKPmax New Member

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    One mason thinks that the Smoke Chamber is a part of the Heatform. That the top of Heatform creates the Smoke Chamber...somehow...
  24. BKPmax

    BKPmax New Member

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    Update on 1952 HeatForm

    The heatform came out with no problem. Used a 4.5" grinder, cut in sections... The chimney stack, directly above, stayed firmly in place...Was not resting on heatform. Hired an experienced fireplace mason for this..did not want chimney tiles to come crashing down.
    We had the firebox and smoke-shelf rebuilt. The fire box, priviously on ground level was raised 5" to make fire more visible/interesting and allow for a hearth. That was a bigger job than expected.

    We had planed to add an insert, but the beauty of fresh fire brick gave me pause... The pictures show where I'm at now.
    The walls surrounding fireplace were uneven, so I will add a perfectly level new wall... The design plan is to go with a Modern look. It's probably going to be a dark grey tile (almost black), ceiling to hearth all one color. Hearth, a flat finish dark granite.

    Please Note: Looking for feedback!
    When I removed the plaster wall I found a cubbyhole area (above firebox). Now I'm trying to incorporate into design. It might make a fine wood storage area but sort-of an odd place for it?
    We want a modern clean lines look for whole wall.. having a hard time picturing how to make the wood storage area work. Any design, or functional idea would be very welcome.

    Attached Files:

  25. BKPmax

    BKPmax New Member

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    Played with design a little more.
    feedback needed :coolhmm:

    Attached Files:

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