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Chimneys & Fireplaces

Chimney Repair‏

Question: I have a 1888 house that has a brick chimney. the previous owner had it "repaired" by putting a coat of stucco on top (without any metal lathe) a couple of years later, it is just chipping and falling off.

This is not a working fireplace. It is only used to vent my oil burner. So here's my question could i take down 3/4 of the top of the chimney and then install a chimney pot over the vent liner?

I'm unsure as to how tall the vent has to be, but for a non-used chimney, it seems a bit overkill to re-build a giant chimney to vent an oil burner.

Answer: There is a minimum height for furnace flues, I believe in your area it is 5', but please check with your building department. It is also relative to the position of the peak. It avoids getting a back draft. Providing you have enough height you can cut back the chimney. You also might want to consider a simple fix. Build a plywood box around the chimney, you can build it on the ground and slide it over the top or build it in sections and fasten it together on the roof. Place a 1 x 4 trim on the outside edge and use the 1 x 4 to make an X - all of this is only aesthetic, and paint with a quality exterior primer then paint. It is less expensive than hiring a mason and will hide the unsightly chimney.

Additional information on building a plywood box around a chimney.