The best way to block off this fireplace

Hello, we have this ugly old fireplace in an upstairs bedroom. Recently some of the thin wood panelling has come loose (top left hand corner as you look at the photo) and small bits of debris/rubble fell out. I tried pushing it back in place but to no avail. Can anyone suggest the best way of rectifying this?

On thing that crossed my mind is to get a piece of wood, cut it to size and try to slot it in the gap, i.e., so it sits flush within the silver frame thing. It means the little alcove area where the candles are would effectively blocked off. Thoughts?


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  • njkmr
    njkmr Posts: 100
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    Take the whole thing out and plyboard the gap, set back a little so you can then tile over the plyboard level with the other tiles. The tiles look painted over so you could then paint the new tiles to match in.
  • sand_hun
    sand_hun Posts: 148
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    Hmmm, so you're suggesting removing all the existing bits of white wood and replacing it with a new flat piece of wooden board and then tiling over? Hmm, I'm not sure my DIY 'skills' stretch that far! You're right that the tiles have been painted - they were originally an unpleasant light brown colour so painted gray.

    Also, if I stripped the existing thing out, I fear that it could lead to bigger issues - it's that sort of property.
  • FreeBear
    FreeBear Posts: 14,251
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    That fireplace has no architectural merit and zero resale value (early 1970s installation ?). It also has no place in a bedroom, so removing it completely would be my choice of action. If there is an air brick in the same room, take the opportunity to plug that too.
    If you don't want to remove the fireplace and are reluctant to make a replacement filler panel, just squirt a good load of grab adhesive in to secure the loose panel. Wedge it in place for a day or two to give the adhesive time to harden.
    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
  • sand_hun
    sand_hun Posts: 148
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    Do you think the removal of a fireplace is something that can be easily done? Or is the kind of job where it's best to pay someone to do it properly to ensure a neat finish! We do actually have some beautiful old fireplaces in the property, but you're right, this one is an eyesore and has no architectural merit
  • njkmr
    njkmr Posts: 100
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    im sure a joiner could do it for a modest sum. Couple of hundred at most i would think.
    Have him take the lot out. Metal parts as well so its then all tiled.
    Show picture of full fire place as we may suggest all the tiling area gets removed and the wall replastered there to remove all traces of it. May give more space in the room as well.
  • FreeBear
    FreeBear Posts: 14,251
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    sand_hun said: Do you think the removal of a fireplace is something that can be easily done? Or is the kind of job where it's best to pay someone to do it properly to ensure a neat finish!
    If it anything like the one I removed here (similar age & design), it had a couple of wire straps either side nailed to the wall and the base bedded down on a layer of cement. A crowbar was enough to get it off the wall and lift the base. Doing so left a lot of mess which didn't bother me as the wall was replastered (after fitting an inset stove). Hardest part was breaking up the surround to dispose of - Behind the tiles is a wire mesh and a cement/vermiculite mix. Not particularly heavy, but the mesh made it tricky to break it down in to small lumps.
    Unless you are a dab hand at plastering, it is probably best to pay someone to do a neat job, and then fit a new carpet.

    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
  • ThisIsWeird
    ThisIsWeird Posts: 4,458
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    edited 6 January at 8:31AM
    If would help to see the whole fireplace and surround. Folks can then perhaps suggest alternative ways forward, from full removal - tiles an' all - and flush boarding and skimming it over so's it's a blank wall, to retaining the recess as a feature but in a different shape or form - opened up and rectangular.
    Such fireplace openings are almost always created by having a horizontal lintel at its top to support the wall above the opening, and the starting shape will then be a simple and deep rectangle. The fireplace insert then gives it its finished shape. So it's usually straightforward to get back to the starting point - a larger, rectangular opening.
    The loose debris above that top panel is preventing you from simply being able to push it back up, so you'd need to fully remove that shaped roof panel first and clear away the loose stuff - hopefully only a few bits! Then you could properly refit the panel and be back to square one - that's the simple, one tube of Stixall method.
    Or, it can all be removed, and opened up into a larger rectangular feature to take more candles, or a vase of dried flowers, that kind of thing. With this, it could be a simple clean crisp opening, or you could add any type of fire surround and mantle you like - ie, make it a full fireplace-feature (tho' non functioning).
    It really comes down to what you want, and would suit - add to - this room. Try a Google and Pinterest search for 'fireplaces' or similar, and see if anything appeals to you. If you post a wider pic of what you have, and also your fav alternatives, we can hopefully advise on how easy it would be to achieve.
    Are you on Fb Marketplace? If so, try searches for 'fireplaces' and 'fire surrounds' - you might just see something that would look great and cost next to now't.
  • FreeBear
    FreeBear Posts: 14,251
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    ThisIsWeird said: Such fireplace openings are almost always created by having a horizontal lintel at its top to support the wall above the opening, and the starting shape will then be a simple and deep rectangle. The fireplace insert then gives it its finished shape. So it's usually straightforward to get back to the starting point - a larger, rectangular opening.
    Whilst the fireplace would have started out as a nice big square opening, the fireback, throat plate, and gather are then put in. Judging by the shape of the OP's filler panels, I suspect that the fireback & sundry is still in place. Once the tiled surround has been removed, it isn't hugely difficult to get back to the original square opening.... But.... Expect to haul out a huge amount of debris & rubble in the process. Most of it is likely to be coated in soot and there may be a few dead birds in the mix. When I went through a similar exercise, I managed to fill a builder's bulk bag with rubble.

    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
  • Nobbie1967
    Nobbie1967 Posts: 1,447
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    edited 6 January at 9:50AM
    Can you gently pull out the bit of wood that has moved with a bit of wiggling? You can then take out the debris behind it and re-install the piece of wood with some ‘no more nails’ type stuff. Sounds like you don’t want to get too involved in this job. If the wood doesn’t want to come out easily, you could just hit it with something heavy and blunt to shift the rubbish behind it, then apply no nails and wedge it in place.
  • ThisIsWeird
    ThisIsWeird Posts: 4,458
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    edited 6 January at 9:51AM
    Yup - potentially very messy.
    Whoever cut these filler panels had a reasonable degree of skill as they appear neat and snug-fitting, but do need finishing off around some edges. So the simplest option remains to refit that top panel properly - which means first of all removing it.
    It's an interesting shape, so a new fire surround (removing the tiles outwith the new surround) could give it all a nice lift.
    Lots of potential, depending on what the OP actually wants to end up with.
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