Moving a fireplace?

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New Member
Mar 3, 2008
Austin, TX
This may be a stupid question, but...

We have a 1950's home that we're about to remodel. It has a nice brick fireplace, but the location is off center in the room and it really bugs us. We're taking the house down to the studs, and have considered just ripping out the fireplace and starting over. Obviously we'd rather not have to do that.

If the center of the fireplace were 2-3 to the left, everything would be perfect. Is it possible to move the opening 2-3 feet? I guess the main concerns are the support of the stack itself which won't change, and that the flu (sp?) would not be at the center of the fireplace. I have no idea if that's an issue or not though. We can keep the bricks where there are on the right side for support, but I'm not sure how the left side is affected since the new opening would basically be where the current support is. We'd add new support to the left of the new opening, but I'm not sure if that can support the stack on top or not.

Then there's the issue of smoke. Can we "bend" the flu so that it basically comes straight down, then angles to the left a couple of feet, then comes straight down to the new opening? Would that affect draft or anything or would the smoke still happily find its way up?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

If this is just not possible, approx. what should be expect to pay to construct a new brick fireplace?

Best to get a couple estimates from good masons. Our house had an original off center flue in it, but I never burned without an insert and liner so I can't say how it performed as a fireplace.

What is the final goal? Will you be using it as an open fireplace or installing an insert or freestanding stove in it?

Given that you are going to all the work to renovate the house, and assuming that a great energy retrofit is happening too, it seems a shame to keep the open fireplace, which will be a negative heater. This is the opportunity to do it right and put in a wood burning system that has a nice, positive heating gain.
Thanks for the reply BeGreen.

I have to plead ignorance when it comes to fireplaces. I've never had one before. We live in Austin, TX where it only gets cold enough to use one maybe 2 months out of the year. :)

I guess we're more concerned with the aesthetics of it than anything as it could be nice focal point in the room. But it would be nice if it functioned as well.

We are replacing the windows, insulation, etc., and I'm all for energy efficiency. I guess I hadn't really considered the fireplace in that light. I assume it's currently wood-burning, but does have a gas line to it as well. I'm not sure what inserts or liners are.

Given this information, what would you recommend we do?

First, find out if it's a gas unit or wood. From the description it's starting to sound like a gas unit. Second, bring in a mason or two for a consultation and estimate.

If the fireplace is only going to be used for an occasional visual fire, then it may be best to keep things simple. If it is to be used as a source of heat, then consider an insert (gas or wood). If the mason says it needs a complete rebuild, then consider tearing it out and putting in a freestanding unit where it would be more ideally located.
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