How Do I Replace An Antique Fireplace?
Fireplaces are the heart of living rooms in historic houses. Before the middle of the 20th century, almost all the rooms of a house, including bedrooms, were heated by open fires. Even though gas fires and central heating are now used for heating, many houses still have antique fireplaces.
Note: Listed Building Consent may be required to remove or alter your fireplace if your house is a listed building, and you should seek advice on this before carrying out any changes.
Listed Building Consent Advice for Replacing Antique Fireplaces
If you want to alter or extend a listed building in a way that affects its character or appearance as a building of special architectural or historic interest, or even demolish it, you must first apply for listed building consent from your local planning authority.
You should check first with your local authority Conservation Officer whether or not consent will be needed for what you plan to do. You should also get an outline of what might be acceptable and find out whether ideas need to be adapted to make them more likely to succeed. This simple step could save a lot of time and money.
When the planning authority considers whether to grant or to refuse an application, it must give particular attention to the desirability of preserving the building, its setting and those features which make it special. These are the things you should think about when you are planning your proposed changes.
Unauthorised work is a criminal offence
You need to be aware that carrying out unauthorised works to a listed building is a criminal offence and individuals can be prosecuted.
A planning authority can insist that all work carried out without consent is reversed. You should therefore always talk to the local planning authority before any work is carried out to a listed building.
An owner will have trouble selling a property which has not been granted Listed Building Consent for work carried out.
Changes to the way listed building consent can be granted have been introduced, and are explained in our web page on the effects of the Enterprise and Regulatory Act 2013. Source: Historical England.
Antique Fireplace Anatomy for Replacing The Grate and Hearth
Fireplaces have three main parts. The chimneybreast contains the flue and often projects into the room.
The hearth is the opening that contains the grate where the fuel is burnt: this is usually iron and may have tiled sides. The chimneypiece is the ornamental surround to the hearth opening, and is often made of stone or wood. Normally there is also a stone slab in front of the fireplace: this is the hearth slab.
The chimneybreast is part of the structure of your house and you should think very carefully before planning to remove it. You may think that the chimneybreast takes up too much useful space, but it almost certainly helps to strengthen the wall it belongs to.
It also contains flues and if these are not blocked, they help to ventilate your home. Blocked flues can also create damp problems. You should seek structural advice before removing a chimney breast, and will need Building Regulations approval, as well as Listed Building Consent (if your house is listed).
Antique Fireplace Design
Whether it’s plain or ornamental, a chimneypiece is part of the history and design of the room. It helps to tell the story about how the room was used. Quite often the chimneypiece is one of the original fittings and a deliberate visual focus.
However, if it’s damaged then replacing it will If you want to take out or change your chimneypiece and replace it with an original restored antique fireplace/ Britain’s Heritage stock of original antique fireplaces includes elegant carved Georgian Fireplaces and Hob Grates, Exquisite French Marble, Elaborate Victorian and Edwardian Fireplaces as well as distinctive Art Nouveau and 1930’s Art Deco . All fully restored to their original splendor.
You will first need to find out whether or not the fireplace is an important part of the house. You may feel that your present chimneypiece is the wrong date or style for the room; it’s not unusual for chimney pieces to have been altered to fit in with changing taste. It may also have been adapted from a larger opening with the insertion of a smaller fireplace.
If you need more advice, call our team of experts on 0116 251 9592. It will help your discussion with your local authority if you can find a picture of the kind of chimneypiece that you want to install.
Changing an Antique Fireplace Grate
The grate is the functional part of a fireplace. You may want to install a different kind of grate, or convert it to gas or electricity. Or you may want to install a wood-burning stove.
You will usually be able to make the changes you want, unless the grate is of special historic interest. Wherever possible you should make sure that the installation is reversible, meaning that you or a future owner can undo the change without causing damage to the original building.
You should keep the hearth slab if you are going to have any kind of live fire. The purpose of the slab is to keep fragments of burning wood or coal away from the timber floorboards or the carpet. Source: Historical England
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