It's time frames like that that make me ever so pleased we rushed the completion date forward, and missed out on the (three grand) cheaper stamp duty by 10 days.
However, it's given me plenty of time to play around with ideas in my head for the log burner install. I was toying with ideas and options, and wasn't completely set on which route to go down - the self install, or leaving it to a professional.
In my web travels I'd come across the stove fitters manual and spent many an hour sat on the sofa, 'running through in my head' the concepts and ideas needed to go down the self install route. I must give the majority of credit to Julian and his website, because it really is a comprehensive instructional write up of what's needed for each of the various stages of the log burner install. It also has plenty of links to the building regs (which are not only legal requirements, but safety points too). From here on it shall be referred to as 'The Bible o' Fire'
In contrast to this, THIS write up is simply a form of documentation of what I did, the laughs I had, and the hopes and dreams that were realised...by all means follow my lead, but don't take my advice as that of a professional!!
Why go down the self install route?? Well, it's a little bit to do with saving money - this route has saved me at least £700 - £1000, even getting BR to sign it off at the end. but it's mostly to do with learning new skills and using m'noggin. I really enjoy reading technical manuals and such, and learning and utilising new skills (even if I never use them again) is what makes me buzz!
Smashing out the crappy old fireplace.
The Bible suggests that behind most 'aesthetic' fireplaces is a traditional 'builder's fireplace'. It's this larger fireplace you want to get back to.
Tools needed include:
- Cold chisels (luke warm will suffice)
- SDS drill
- Cheeky ambulance-man come chimney sweep
- open fire, hence the charred and chipped lintel
- gas fire, hence the gas pipe
- more recently, an electric fire
Then I filled in the recess in the floor using cement mix, so as to level it all out.
Also, the lintel was looking terrible, so this was removed, and replaced with a standard 100x60 concrete lintel. Not only did this look neater, it gained a 'bricksworth' (official measure) of height:
Lining the fireplace
I really wanted a neat and tidy look to our opening, so opted to line it with Hardibacker 12mm cement board. Off the top of my head this was about 13 quid a sheet from Travis Perkins. Measure up, use maths, and work out how many boards you'll need.
The Hardie website suggests using a 'scoring tool' to cut the board. This was crap. I suggest using a 9" disc cutting tool. This was terrifying, but more effective.
Our opening wasn't perfectly square - I wasn't that fussed and could try to straighten out the sides with differing thickness of the dry liner adhesive.
That's pretty much the lining taken care of. It's going the be a bit 'stagey' from now on, as I want to get the plastering done BEFORE I lay the hearth, and I can't actually put the fireplace in until the hearth is laid.
This is one of the reasons I'm going down the self-install route - I can pop in and spend an hour or two doing each 'stage' as it needs to take place, rather than have a chap in to do it all in one or two days.
The flue work, as you'll see below, isn't completely straight forward!
The flue 'stuff'
But as you can see from this fairly subtle 'spot the difference', we've got an issue with that...
This was always the intention, rather than shoddy building work!
We're having a full span dormer on the rear, and the chimney would take up too much internal space or require us to have two dormers.
The easiest option was to simply take the chimney down, and create a new one with a twin-wall flue. I drew up a rough idea of what I'd be after, and sent this to a few local and on-line flue supply companies for quotes for all the gubbins:
Here are some pictures of what we're left with in the loft, as well as a few quick snaps of the loft space taking shape.
I'll update the blog over the next few weeks as I do the next few stages, which will likely include:
- Lining the chimney
- Creating the twin-wall stack
- Fitting the fire
- Lighting the fire
- Calling the fire brigade
- The insurance claim etc etc ;-)