Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Posts
    3,088

    Default Organic Fireplace Support

    One of the districts where I inspect homes is an area that was used as a resort for the folks from San Francisco & Oakland in the early part of the 20th century. This was a hoppin' place where families would spend much of the summer hangning out, swimming in the river and dancing until late to the big-name swing bands of the 1930s that would come through.


    But, residential construction was largely... creative, shall we say?


    The first pic is a masonry fireplace in a home from that era. The second & third pics show the support for the masonry fireplace.


    Don't you just love it?



    Similar Threads:
    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    Inspection Referral
    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fletcher, NC
    Posts
    27,822

    Default Re: Organic Fireplace Support

    That support looks like it may outlast the masonry fireplace.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant - Retired
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Posts
    3,088

    Default Re: Organic Fireplace Support

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    That support looks like it may outlast the masonry fireplace.
    Jerry,

    That is pretty much what I was thinking. A 200' tall, 7' diameter (at the base) coastal redwood weighs in at 50+ tons. A single-story masonry fireplace weighs-in at maybe 4-6 tons? Plenty of margin, the spread of the stump is more than I see for most fireplace footings, and this thing has been here for about 100 years now. But, I'm not sure that I want to guarantee it though.

    I am hoping Bob Harper sees this and has a comment.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fletcher, NC
    Posts
    27,822

    Default Re: Organic Fireplace Support

    I would put it in the repor,, explain it's negatives, then point out that it's been there longer than the fireplace has been there.

    Then recommend they get a qualified fireplace inspector to advise them of solutions.

    Your photo reminded me of a deck support we had on our vacation house up here before we sold it: the deck had been there 30 years, supported by 4x4 posts, a tree had been planted at the edge of the deck.

    After 30 years if tree growth, it broke a 4x4 post, pushed the post aside at an angle, and grew around the edge of the deck, fully wrapping and supporting the edge of the deck.

    Our inspector wrote the broken post up as needing to be replaced.

    Let's see ... a 3 foot diameter tree breaks a 4x4 post and is now supporting the deck, and ... that 4x4 post is needed? Really?

    The inspector should have put it in the report as a 3 foot diameter tree has replaced a 4x4 post, which was in the tree's way, so the tree broke the 4x4 post and pushed it out of the way. Do so in a humorous way that Let's everyone understand that, with that 3 foot diameter tree holding the deck up, if that tree goes and takes the deck with it, one has A LOT more to worry about than that deck.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant - Retired
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Posts
    3,088

    Default Re: Organic Fireplace Support

    I forgot to mention. Evidently, two lenders have refused to lend on this home specifically because of the tree trunk supported fireplace.

    Crazy, no?

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fletcher, NC
    Posts
    27,822

    Default Re: Organic Fireplace Support

    One word: liability

    Another word: fire

    A third word: combustible

    They aren't concerned with the support of the fireplace.

    I wonder if that liquid applied fire-resistance/fire-proofing would work to solve that issue?

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant - Retired
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fletcher, NC
    Posts
    27,822

    Default Re: Organic Fireplace Support

    Maybe if they remove those wood 'form boards' (looks like concrete inside then through that opening), maybe that would solve the fire risk issue?

    If not, then removing those form boards, temporarily supporting the fireplace, removing the concrete, removing the stump, then pouring a new concrete foundation footing (50 feet thick to make up for that stump ) should resolve the issue?

    With all those wildfires around out there, I would think insurance companies would have greater concerns about insuring anything out there, that the issue for insurance wouldn't be that stump?

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant - Retired
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia, electrical only
    Posts
    319

    Default Re: Organic Fireplace Support

    I wonder what a Field Evaluation Body would charge to label it. With their blessing, at least some insurers should give it a pass.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Near Philly, Pa.
    Posts
    1,677

    Cool Re: Organic Fireplace Support

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Jerry,

    That is pretty much what I was thinking. A 200' tall, 7' diameter (at the base) coastal redwood weighs in at 50+ tons. A single-story masonry fireplace weighs-in at maybe 4-6 tons? Plenty of margin, the spread of the stump is more than I see for most fireplace footings, and this thing has been here for about 100 years now. But, I'm not sure that I want to guarantee it though.

    I am hoping Bob Harper sees this and has a comment.
    LOL. Thx Gunnar. Masonry fireplaces must have an independent masonry footing and foundation capable of supporting the full load of the fireplace and chimney. You cannot have any form of combustibles touching the underside of the fireplace for a 4" clearance. The hearth extension must be supported by the foundation or be cantilevered off it.

    Easiest solution for me is to remove the fireplace to the subfloor level and replace with a factory built fireplace. You can do a woodburner listed to UL 127, a gas direct vent listed to ANSI Z21.88 or even a pellet stove. Believe it or not many pellet inserts are approved for built-in installation if meeting modest clearances to combustibles. I've built many cabinets over them.

    Sorry I'm not always lurking here. In semi-retirement as technical adviser for a friend's fireplace shop in DE but ridiculously busy. I hope all are well.
    Bob

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia, electrical only
    Posts
    319

    Default Re: Organic Fireplace Support

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post

    After 30 years if tree growth, it broke a 4x4 post, pushed the post aside at an angle, and grew around the edge of the deck, fully wrapping and supporting the edge of the deck.
    , ..., if that tree goes and takes the deck with it, one has A LOT more to worry about than that deck.
    The main reason to note your tree would be to say, keep an eye on things, because over time as the tree keeps growing it could shove the deck catterwompus, maybe tilt it off the supports for the other sides.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fletcher, NC
    Posts
    27,822

    Default Re: Organic Fireplace Support

    Quote Originally Posted by david shapiro View Post
    The main reason to note your tree would be to say, keep an eye on things, because over time as the tree keeps growing it could shove the deck catterwompus, maybe tilt it off the supports for the other sides.
    David, the way I've seen trees grow (versus tree roots) is that trees grow taller by growing up at their tops (base of tree doesn't grow up, doesn't push things up). And trees grow larger in diameter by adding more to their outside, growing around things and encapsulating things, not pushing things sideways.

    The deck was straight, flat, and level, the tree had grown around the deck, holding it like a vice.

    I remember seeing a cow pasture fence totally encapsulated by a tree, but still in line with the fence going out each side from the tree.

    Tree roots under slabs, sidewalks, driveways, streets, yep, as the roots grow larger, those things are slowly pushed upward.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant - Retired
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia, electrical only
    Posts
    319

    Default Re: Organic Fireplace Support

    Thanks for the clarification, Jerry. You have a wonderfully broad range of knowledge. You're right in thinking I was extrapolating from what I've seen the roots do.


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •