Chimney Breast Removal Costs in London

A chimney on a roof

Let The Page curate you a free bespoke shortlist of tradespeople suited to you and your job.

March 22, 2024

 You will find that the cost to remove a chimney breast plus an attached stack can vary between the companies. It also costs more to remove your chimney in London than elsewhere in the capital, simply due to the increased cost of labour in the capital. That’s why in this guide, we provide separate costs for work carried out in London.

Average Costs to Remove a Chimney in London

It typically costs around £2,300 to remove a chimney stack in the capital. If you want to remove the chimney breast too then that works out around £1000 more expensive, attracting a cost of anything between £3,000 up to £3,500.

Stack Removal

Chimney stacks (the visible vertical part on the roof of a home or building) come in all shapes and sizes, with a rough estimate to remove one around £300 per metre. That works out at a maximum cost of around £1400 to remove your chimney stack.

Breast and Stack Removal

Chimney removal cost London: load-bearing wall

To remove a chimney breast which is on two floors ie a lounge and bedroom above, costs around £3,500. That’s because it will no doubt be on a load bearing wall.

Chimney removal cost London: non load-bearing wall

A chimney breast and stack which is on a non-load bearing wall is much cheaper, at just a fraction of the cost, coming in at around £800.

Day Rates

You can expect to pay a day rate of up to £300 to remove a chimney breast. This will usually include admin, safety equipment hire, travel time and the time it takes to set up the operation. This will normally involve two professional tradesmen.

Expect to pay up to £70 more per day if the chimney to be taken out is in a property in the city. This includes both more expensive labour and chimney transportation costs in the city. Time-wise, you’re looking at anything from one to four days, depending on how extensive the removal is.

Hourly Rates

Most chimney removal tradesmen will price their job as a complete project, rather than in terms of an hourly rate. This is due to the fact most such jobs will take at least one day to complete and many, even longer – such is the complicated nature of removing a chimney breast and stacking on a load-bearing wall.

Factors That Affect Costs

An old chimney that is about to collapse

There are a number of different factors that can have an effect on the overall price of removing your chimney. For instance, if the height of the chimney stack means it is necessary to hire scaffolding then this can add a major sum to the overall chimney removal bill (around £3,000 for several days of scaffolding hire, to be precise).

You will also need to think about the cost of skip hire, at a price of around £100 to £200 depending on the size of the skip and the length of time it is needed for.

Type of Chimney

What the chimney is made of in terms of materials has a huge bearing on the overall bill, as does the type of chimney itself, together with its size of the chimney.

Condition of Chimney

Naturally, the condition of the chimney matters to the overall cost of removal too. For instance, if it’s in poor condition then it may need extra care to dismantle the bricks, while holes will have to be filled in to make it safe.

Full or Partial Removal

It is possible to just remove the chimney breast and leave the stack (provided it is permanently supported to prevent it from falling down).

Planning Permission & Building Regulations

It may be that you will require planning permission to remove your chimney since this will have an overall effect on the property. This is especially the case if your property is a listed building or sits in a conservation area.

Otherwise, it’s regarded as Permitted Development. Having said that, the chimney removal will still need to comply with local authority Building Regulations. That’s because the property will need to remain structurally safe and stable. A surveyor to check this will cost at least £200.

If you do need local authority approval (planning permission) to remove the chimney then this will prove an added expense

Additional Repair Work

Repair, such as plastering work in the vicinity of where the chimney has been removed from, and repainting of the area will prove expensive too. A professional decorator can charge around £12 an hour, while it may cost as much as £200 for a plasterer.

Types of Chimney

There are a variety of chimneys around, the most common being brick. But you’ll also find chimney breasts and stacks made from mortar and stone. Metal chimneys look great in more contemporary structures, while you’ll also find prefabricated chimneys produced from sheet metal. There are, of course, wood burning stove chimneys, which have their own unique look (regardless of whether they are free-standing or connected to an original brick fireplace in a property). It’s also possible to have a fireplace insert chimney where a stainless steel liner fits into a masonry fireplace for a gas fire etc.

Traditional Chimney Breast

This is the part of the chimney that sits inside the home and it’s where the fire is inset. It’s usually made from stone or brick and goes upwards into the chimney stack (the part of the chimney which sits outside the building on the roof).

Recessed Chimney Breast

A recessed chimney breast is simply an opening in the wall where a hearth sits and a fire can be built. It can be used for a wood burning stove should a flue be attached. It’s not suitable for an open fire since this would require a chimney stack too (and anyhow there are local laws about what can be emitted into the atmosphere – otherwise it’s regarded as pollution).

Floating Chimney Breast

A floating chimney breast is when the breast doesn’t have a stack attached to it – it’s simply floating there. It could be dangerous if it isn’t held up or made secure. In many cases, it’s a good idea simply to remove the chimney breast. It alleviates safety concerns and it provides more space in the room.

Inglenook Chimney Breast

An inglenook chimney breast is a large opening in a wall where a fireplace is intended to be put. Some of these inglenooks are large enough even for a human to stand in (particularly those built during Tudor times). With an Inglenook the fire goes ‘into’ the wall whereas with a chimney breast, the fire sits in the room. The Inglenook often has a timber shelf above it and a hearth made from slate or granite.

False Chimney Breast

Adding a false chimney breast to a newly built property can give the home some character. It can also prove an attractive feature, with alcoves and shelving in it. In the recess, a wood burning stove or similar can be placed below.

Corbelled Chimney Breast

Sometimes referred to as ‘hips’, chimney corbels are protrusions on the chimney breast. They’re usually situated towards the top of the chimney breast, nearer the stack. Corbels add decoration and shape to a chimney breast and were particularly common a couple of hundred years ago.

Inset Chimney Breast

An inset chimney breast is simply where a wall recess is built into the fireplace and where a log burner, electric or gas fire etc can fit into. This makes the fire flush with the fireplace itself, giving the room a neater and more modern appearance than if the fireplace protruded into the room.

Reasons to Remove a Chimney

Chimneys require a lot of maintenance and often repair – both of which can prove costly. Many people don’t use a chimney these days either, preferring central heating. As such, chimneys are a redundant feature in a lot of homes. It makes sense then for many homeowners to remove the chimney and free up some more floor space.

The Process

A builder removing a chimney

Removing the chimney breast can prove messy, costly and if done unprofessionally could affect the integrity of your entire home. It also involves the use of several tradesmen, such as a gas engineer, electrician and plumber. They can check the pipelines in the house will be protected (ie isolated) when the removal process gets underway.

As for the chimney stack, that’s the external part of the chimney and, as such, shouldn’t cause too many problems inside the property. If removing the chimney breast first though then it may be necessary to install wall supports for the stack. These may be permanent and at this point, you’ll require the services of a structural engineer.

It is also worth considering the whole ‘party wall’ aspect of chimney removal. What we mean by this is that and removal of a chimney must still apply to the Party Wall etc Act 1996.

In other words, if you’re neighbours live very closely nearby ie if you live in a semi-detached or terraced house, then taking away a chimney breast may have repercussions on the neighbouring properties. So, if the chimney is referred to as a Party Wall (shared with the neighbours) then you must let them know of your intentions to remove it – before you actually do.

If you don’t it may result in the necessity for you to get an official Party Wall Agreement. This requires the services of a professional surveyor and will, of course, lead to an additional cost.

After relations have been resumed and the chimney breast finally removed, this will no doubt have left some surface damage. So, at this stage, a certain amount of surface work ie plastering will need to be done.

The entire room will no doubt also need a pretty good cleanup. Other considerations include ensuring the area where the chimney was removed is treated with a damp-proofing course to prevent any dry or wet rot from forming. At the same time, insulation should be added to ensure there is no loss of heat in the colder months of the year.

DIY Vs Hiring a Professional

The idea of removing a chimney on a DIY basis would horrify even the most seasoned DIYers. That’s because there is a serious risk of structural damage to your property.

Many chimneys are built on a load bearing wall, for instance. Removing the chimney in a haphazard manner could weaken the wall and threaten the stability of the house. It could also take some time to accomplish and if you’re working full-time then work could only be done at weekends – meaning your house would be a mess for quite some time.

The actual chimney itself would prove difficult to remove, being cumbersome and heavy. Failing to stick to Building Regulations would get you into hot water with your local authority and should anything go wrong with your home at a later date you’ll probably find you’re not insured. Structural problems will come to light when you attempt to sell your house, as these will be picked up in a professional survey.

Meanwhile, as well as the knowledge and skills required to pull down a chimney stack or remove a chimney breast, there’s also the question of having the right tools. You will probably require more than one individual to tackle the removal too.

Finding Someone to Remove a Chimney

The Page

If you are considering having a chimney breast or stack removed – or both – then you can hire a specialist tradesman here at The Page. How it works is you send an enquiry to the team here and, in turn, we can send you a curated list of skilled and expert tradesmen in your area, all of whom list their speciality as chimney removal.

Let The Page curate you a free bespoke shortlist of tradespeople suited to you and your job.

You can rest assured that every tradesman listed on The Page has been personally vetted by ourselves. We’ve also checked their references, portfolio and qualifications. In other words, when you book through us, you can be confident you are getting the real deal.

Ask Around

One of the best ways to find a tradesperson or company to remove a chimney is to ask around for someone who had done exactly that in the past. That means neighbours, friends, family, colleagues etc.

Word of mouth recommendations are usually spot-on. It not only lets you know about the quality of the work, but also what the tradesman is like to communicate, if they tidied up after themselves and if they returned to carry out a snagging check.

Materials

Find out what materials they intend to use. This will be important if you’re eco-conscious and want to cause as little damage to the environment as possible.

Do they have local knowledge?

Check to see if they’re aware of planning permission rules and building regulations in your locality.

Get a range of quotes

Always ask for at least three quotes from contractors. Be sure to give the same brief to each so you’ll get an idea of an average cost for the work.

Ask for a written estimate

Ask for a written estimate, and for it to be broken down so you know exactly what each stage of the chimney removal will cost.

Free Tradesperson Shortlist

Let The Page curate you a bespoke shortlist of tradespeople suited to you and your job.

Our Promise

We started The Page because we both had terrible experiences with tradespeople in London and were adamant we would help others to avoid this.

We also know that things can go wrong sometimes, so our promise is to be here to sort things out when they do.

As a result, along with our strong relationships with all our tradespeople, we have our good deed piggy bank, which we give out at our discretion if something goes wrong.