remove chimney and firebox, keep brick & tile facade?

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esquid2

New Member
Mar 26, 2022
2
Oakland, CA
I'm looking to switch out a wood-burning open hearth fireplace with a gas direct-vent, built-in unit. The brick chimney is on the outside of the house and extends down to foundation up to above roof line. The fireplace facade is historic ceramic tiles that we'd like to keep however and I don't imagine they can be removed from the brick & thin-set without them being damaged.

Is it crazy to try to remove the entirety of the chimney and firebox but keep enough bricks at lintel and mantle to support the tile facade around a new built-in gas unit? If so, would it be possible to remove bricks underneath the hearth and support with wood framing similar to what would be behind the gas fireplace unit (e.g. 4x4 posts and 4x8 header) assuming these meet clearance for the new gas fireplace? The reason to remove the bricks underneath hearth is to allow placing a window or door in the crawl space/digout basement underneath as part of a remodel. But obviously even the minimal brickwork to support tile facade is probably pretty heavy and without the entire firebox it would need more lateral support to avoid falling forward or backward if removing chimney. Not sure who would be good professionals to consult with to make this happen? Structural Engineer? Mason or some other type of contractor?

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