We have a central chimney in our 120 year old home that is badly in need of repair. There is a large hole in the stack in the basement (below the fireplace arch) and the mortar is pretty much gone. The parts of the stack and fireplace that are visible in the rest of the house are in somewhat better shape, but there are still a lot of joints that are almost devoid of mortar. The fireplace is non-functional but one side of the chimney is used to vent our furnace (with a liner). We had a few masons come out to give us estimates for repointing, but one of them (a contractor) was alarmed enough by the condition of the base that he recommended we call in an engineer. The engineer said that repointing most likely wouldn't improve the structural issue and suggested removal as the best option. We don't want to remove this beautiful and original feature of our home, so we decided to call one more contractor, a chimney specialist. He said he thought he could save the chimney, by carefully repointing the corners/back/sides first, then installing a steel lintel under the fireplace for support before rebuilding the section with the hole. Given the variety of responses to our quandry, I wanted to ask you experts to see if anyone here had any thoughts on how to solve our problem. Here are some photos of the area: The hole(s): The former hearth area, which was replaced with wood flooring sometime in the past. The bricks sitting on the horizontal beam (which is the central beam to the house) are just sitting there, loose. The chimney itself goes up between this beam and a similar on on the other side. The underside of the fireplace floor - I think it's cardboard. No idea who janked this together but putting in a proper floor will be part of the project! Anyway, I would appreciate any advice you can offer. Thanks in advance!