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Oxford Town House Refurbishment

Once again we were contacted by one of our regular building contractors (Dighton developments) who use us for all their installs, This was one house being split in to two & owner wanted open fires added to existing chimneys, 2 in one house & 1 in the other, but requested to have as much of the original surrounds kept, so we set about gently removing original surrounds, & inserts without damaging any of the delicate tiles. Things progressed & changed regularly throughout the installations with architect & owner changing designs & usages day by day !!

But after lots of channelling out chimney breasts, from top 3rd floor through to ground floor getting liners through the extremely tight chimneys & breaking out clay liners in parts of the chimney we couldn`t get through. Removing the 6 x chimney pots off the chimney stack for access also as the stack had a large crack through it which required repair with internal feather walls that were also extremely loose with gaps you can get your hands through,

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So we started with the master bedroom open fire by removing the surround & insert, this fire was going to have a woodburning stove installed by that changed to a large open fire & back to original with cast & tiled insert but this time being converted to gas. we had to smash clay liner out of the chimney stack for room to get the 200mm liner installed but also required breaking through upper floor chimney breast & walls to allow liner past sharp bends, unfortunately this also meant dismantling & breaking through the new installed tiled bathroom upstairs also (Ouch) we installed the liner to new bespoke made stainless steel gather,fully insulated with volcanic balls, we installed new concrete lintel, reinstalled original cast insert & surround with a concrete hearth, hearth to have original tiles saved from other parts of the house inlaid at later date & gas pipework completed by in house gas & plumbing engineers under floorboards.

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Rear Sitting Room open fire again owner wanted to keep existing surround & make this into a large open fire, we installed a concrete lintel, widened the opening & smashed out clay liner through the entire height of the house & breaking through walls throughout also to help liner down, installed new liner & bespoke stainless steel gather & backfilled with volcanic rock balls, inner edge of fireplace opening was re-bricked to leave a nice modern edge insert & re-pointed brick recess, hearth again was poured concrete to have original tiles relaid at later date, original surround bolted & set back into wall

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Owner liked the way the rear sitting room open fire looked & requested the same for the other property front sitting room fireplace to be removed & installed to match, again we removed surround & widened the opening, installing concrete lintel & installing new brick finished insert edge, we again had to break through all the walls & chimney breasts in rooms above to allow us to get liner down, again this was connected to a bespoke stainless steel gather & backfilled with volcanic rock balls, poured concrete hearth to be tiled at later date with original tiles & re secure original surround to wall.

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After we had finished the fireplaces inside we rebuilt top layers of the chimney stack inserting reinforcing bars to help hold it together also as this is a shared chimney we had to close off all neighbours fireplaces to prevent debris entering her house & remove her pots & re install with the rest of the stack & re flaunch cement render to hold pots in place, we installed raintop cowls to used fires & bird guards to pots not in use to prevent birds entering.

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Hard but satisfying job completed & already quoted for next big refurbishment job in Park Town Oxford, Many Thanks for all the help from Dighton Developments team


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