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Question DetailsAsked on 6/13/2016

How much should it cost to remove this fireplace?

I'm buying condo that includes a fireplace. The fireplace takes up a lot of much needed space in the condo. It is a 2nd floor condo. The first floor does NOT have a fireplace, so there shouldn't be issues with venting from below. Also it is a wood burning fireplace, not gas.

Assuming I had all necessary approvals with the HOA, what is a reasonable price range to remove the fireplace and fix drywall on the wall and ceiling? We are redoing the floors anyway, so that doesn't matter.

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I sort of doubt the condo association will allow it - generally their buylaws require uniform amenitites in the units, for fear changes will destroy the appeal of the development or make for "lower-end" units and drop property values for all. But what the heck - give it a try if you want. The approval process should not cost much.

Check inside and outside - if brick or stone construction chimney, unlikely to get it for less than about $5000. If there is no carry-down of the fireplace structure inside or outside, then this would be a "readyset" or prefab chimney - just wood framing boxout covered with siding and drywall, with a metal fireplace insert inside with ducting that leads up to the roof, more likely in the $3-4000 rough ballpark - off the cuff. This type is most likely in a condo unless quite old, and off the cuff lacking a true hearth or brick/stone facade I would guess this is very likely a readyset or prefabricated type fireplace, with no true stone or brick except maybe the "hearth" on the floor. Might get it removed and the area refinished for closer to $2000, but almost certainly no cheaper, because you have tearout, interior reframing, drywalling, and roof repair and covering to do. (Note - above ballpark costs for normla cost areas - not extreme high-cost areas like fancier areas of SFO, NYC, Boston, West LA, Seattle, etc. - where costs could be 50-100% more, especially if have to go up and down stairs or use elevator for access or where contractor parking is non-existent).

And note - because of color mismatches, there will be a square or rectangle on the roof of different shade shingles no matter how hard you try to match them - if only due to weathering difference between old and new, much less batch color differences or out-of-production colors.

One thing some condo associations require - which might actually make it a $1000 cheaper or so for you - is leaving the above-roof part for consistency in appearance (with capping off the top of the ducting), putting in a bit of replacement structural support as necessary to hold the weight of the above-roof part, but removing the in-room part. Usually not too tough to do, especially if adjacent to a load-bearing wall. Can be tougher with a mid-room fireplace. Note this solution leaves open the risk of future (with aging deterioration) extreme winds damage or flashing leaks around the "chimney" that is left - removal and roofing over the patched hole eliminates that down-the-road (relatively small) risk.

One thing on the refinishing of the area where it was inside the room - consider if you want it refinished to room standard, or perhaps put in a built-in entertainment center cabient or such - so your remodel $ get you a tower cabient or such rather than just a finished-out room, if that is your preference. Generally a lot cheaper than buying equivalent tower unit at a furniture store - unless you want that free floor space.

Bear in mind that removing it takes out a possible positive selling point (though can be a negative too, to some like you) - and if you do remove it, be sure to document that with the property tax assessor - will likely make a small reduction in your property taxes next year. Fireplaces are commonly assessed at about $10,000 for gas insert, $10-20,000 for wood-burning like yours, so might make $100-200/year change in your property taxes.


Couple of links to previous similar questions FYI -

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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