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Lola in Seattle
How to expose an interior brick chimney

I live in a 1911 house in Seattle and we have a chimney that vents our gas furnace. It runs up through our kitchen and we'd like to get rid of the plaster that's on it and just expose and clean up the brick. Just looking for any tips on how to do this since I've never done it before! Thanks.

Re: How to expose an interior brick chimney

I have done something similar with a wall. Old plaster and lathe. I just started tearing the plaster down. It mostly came off in sheets but very very dusty. I then removed the lathe and cleaned up the brick. There always the possibility of "opening a can of worms" with old homes but I like the brick so I took the chance. I had to trim out the gap left after taking down the finish part of the wall.

Re: How to expose an interior brick chimney


The project you mention is a very common one, and as Andover states, it is very dusty & the broken, removed plaster can damage your lungs as well as the floor if precautions are not taken.

Therefore, wear goggles, a respirator or a dust mask to cover your nose & mouth that is designed to protect your lungs from paint, dust & fumes; Home Depot/Lowe's carries a 3M model (designed for paint jobs) for approx $5---also use a large window fan on full blast in a nearby window to exhaust the dust.

Put down heavy sheet plastic tarp on the floors to catch the broken plaster; use a small sledge hammer or crow bar to break the plaster, & the crow bar to pry it loose---important: buy a large SQUARE trash barrel (HD/Lowe's) & line it with heavy duty construction plastic bags (3 mil thickness)----prop the trash barrel against the wall as you rip out the plaster/sheet rock so that the pieces fall directly into the trash barrel.

It's a good idea (if you haven't done so already) to expose a small area of the brick chimney to check the condition of the brick wall---was the mortar job done sloppily (many chimney jobs fall into this category), & will it need extensive "pointing" of the mortar to make the mortar seams look attractive???---this could mean a lot of work.

There is wide discrepancy on how to finish an exposed brick wall---after repairing & smoothing the mortar joints with a sander, or mortar blade attached to a circular saw, many recommend applying a coat of 10% muriatic acid in water (1 part muriatic acid to 10 parts water); others use a gallon of USG clear masonry sealer (HD/Lowe's), applied with a paint brush or spray painter.

Very few recommend coating the brick with white or orange shellac to make a shiny surface that darkens the color of the brick---even fewer recommend painting the brick with latex interior paint.

The USG clear sealer seals the brick to prevent dust from accumulating, & maintains the brick's natural color.

There are tons of sites on the internet that deal with this project, and the issues involved---Google "removal of plaster from interior brick walls" (without the quotes) for numerous points of view and tips/comments on how this project is done.

Also Google "Removing plaster for exposed brick walls" (without the quotes).

Some rent or buy a small sand blasting machine (a good-sized air compressor must be used with this equipment)---Harbor Freight has retail stores in some areas, but it's best to rent a blaster, or have it done.

Re: How to expose an interior brick chimney

The chimney may not be enclosed in lath and plaster, it may have the plaster applied directly to the brick. In that case you should be able to chip it off with a chipping hammer but it will require a lot of clean up. Good idea to follow brewster's safety tips.


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