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What to do about chimney we want exterior faced with stone?

13 years ago

My husband and I are learning about all the ways you don't get what you and the architect specified.

We didn't understand why the contractor put a wood frame box around the exterior area where the masons were to build a concrete block masonry chimney on an exterior wall of the house (running up from an extra deep basement all the way through a second floor, so three tall stories high). The building exterior of this chimney is supposed to be faced with stone all the way up.

Now we realize that the contractor intended that the stone be attached to the wood box, with an expensive air space in between the concrete and the wood that must be filled with special fireproofing (new code in 2009). Knowing this was what the contractor intended, the masons did not place the corrugated metal tabs necessary for attaching stone or brick directly to the sides of the concrete blocks that are on the exterior of the house. Now the stone expert says it will be hard to keep the stone attached to the wood, especially in our northern, snowy climate, as the stone and the wood will expand and contract at different rates.

The box and airspace mean that the entire chimney dimensions are much larger than was designed to be by the architect and it looks disproportionately large for the house. We have already started talking to the contractor about removing the box and redoing the trusses and roof line to reduce the overall size of the chimney and allow up to place stone directly against the concrete.

What we don't know is what can be done to enable us to attach stone to the concrete chimney without the metal tabs that should have been mortared in there. We will talk to the stone expert about this tomorrow, but does anybody on the forum have any suggestions?

The state code guy told me on Friday that we are not allowed to poke holes in the chimney now to help hang the stone and we would need to use a non-flammable adhesive. I am just sick about this, as it is not the first expensive mistake made by builders not conforming to the architect's design.

Are we looking at taking this whole chimney down and starting over? Framing is all up but not drywall.

I think a lot of this happened because nobody builds expensive masonry chimneys any more, so the builders are used to building wood boxes for gas fireplaces that are just sided.

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