Thursday, 16 June 2016

Kitchen Fireplace and Insulation

newly installed fire canopy in action in castle kitchen
It is with huge relief that I can report that the new fireplace made out of the opening that once hosted the kitchen range at Balintore Castle appears finally to be working. This has only taken 5 years! The blog entry documenting the earlier failure can be found here.

The recent key insight to get the smoke to draw up the chimney instead of into the room was realising that the large rectangular void was essentially an inglenook fireplace, and I googled for "problems draw inglenook". Apparently, most inglenook fireplaces will not draw naturally and they need a "fire canopy" to focus the flow of air, so that the velocity becomes large enough to take the smoke with it.

Thanks to eBay I recently picked up a MASSIVE second-hand fire canopy for £65 in Worcester. Sourcing items for Balintore has taken me the length and breadth of the country. I schedule these pick-ups to be en route when I am making other journeys - so the logistics are finely honed.

The canopy made such an enormous difference that Andy actually shook my hand! Investing in one and transporting it 400 miles had been somewhat of an act of faith on my behalf so I was delighted.  There is still a small amount of smoke in the room, but hopefully by sealing the canopy in position instead of propping it up with a bit of wood, and perhaps installing a "granny" on the chimney pot, the level of smoke will become acceptable.

You will see the canopy is 8 inches off centre. This is because the inside of the chimney turned out to be not quite symmetrical. Andy said he has the tools to do some surgery on the top of the canopy to centralise the set-up.

Now that there is a source of heat in the kitchen, it is time to keep the heat in. And in the last few weeks, there have been great strides in insulating and then lining the kitchen in plasterboard. On the left is the before picture with insulation in progress. On the right is the after picture with the left-hand wall, the far wall and the ceiling insulated and lined. The kitchen is such a big room that the cost of the materials alone is frightening. The right-hand wall is fully internal and therefore the lathe-and-plaster survived the worst effects of water ingress and could be left alone. Fortunately, it is more important to insulate external walls.

To keep the historic lines intact there was a limit on the depth of insulation that could be used. This is typically around 50mm as the lathe-and-plaster is 2 inches thick. Sometimes we managed a little more, sometimes the lines dictated a little less. So I'm pleased that we have installed as much insulation as possible, and that the historic interior has been kept "as is". Restoration is very much a finely tuned compromise. On the other hand, this is not a source of great worry or deep thinking as the building shows you the way. The pictures are courtesy of my friend Andrew.




                before: insulation being installed                              after: insulation and plasterboard in place

15 comments:

  1. I'm always amazed at the size of this place.....good work, David and Andy!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hopefully the next post will be of you toasting your toes in front of the fire. I hope you still have 10!

    ReplyDelete
  3. An excellent blog post from chimney sweep Auckland the current views in the constantly evolving area.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just wanted to ask if the bellows were of any use? I am the daughter of the previous owner of them ;o) and was curious as to where they ended up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The bellows have been of fantastic use! :-) Visitors to the castle love using then too - it's like stepping back in time. They really help getting a fire started, and helping it along if it is not burning properly. Many thanks for them! :-)

      Delete
    2. Ha ha! great! Nothing like having a good fire starter around ;o) I remember the bellows from my childhood but never saw them in action, so glad they are being put to good use... Just been dipping into your blog and have to say what an interesting project you have taken on :-) I have helped to renovate a couple of Victorian houses in the past, but what you are doing is in a different league altogether! A lot of hard graft but it sounds fabulous! If you need a little help with a lick of paint sometime, let me know, I am a dab hand with a brush or roller, as that was my profession in the Netherlands for many years. Even if I couldn't be of any help in some small way, I would love to come and visit you & your castle in the future and perhaps try out the bellows for myself :>)

      Delete
  5. It is much easier and more attractive to use ventless gas fireplace logs today as safety and log designs have become much more realistic. During the coldest winter months
    fireplace Auckland

    ReplyDelete
  6. Five years is a pretty long time to wait for a fireplace! I think it’s really neat that you’re able to turn an old doorway into a fireplace in the first place. I mean who would have thought? This historic feel adds so much character, so I also think it’s great that you tried your best to preserve the original fixtures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's actually an old range cooker opening rather than a doorway that's being converted to a open fireplace. Many thanks for your kind words - the restoration approach has to been to keep and re-purpose as much as possible.

      Delete
  7. I've to say that you waited a long time (5 years!!) to have a fireplace. The restoration process was amazing. Congratulations on the great job you have done. Really impresses me. Thanks for sharing. Joseph.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your kind words Joseph. In fact, we have not quite got there yet on the fireplace, in terms of sitting in front of it and enjoying the heat. The room is still being worked on, and just a couple of days ago we bricked-up up a hatch which opens onto the flue, to stop smoke emerging. Keep your fingers crossed as winter approaches.

      Delete
  8. I am so grateful to find your particular post. I have bookmarked this website and I will keep visiting you for further such interesting posts.

    chimney sweep surrey

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Steve, we are currently rendering these fire openings and will shortly be cutting a section off the top of the canopy to do the final fitting inside the flue. Fingers crossed we get a clean burn, with no smoke escaping into the room! Good luck with your sweeping business.

      Delete
  9. I am so glad to read this post. Thanks for Sharing valuable information with us.

    Kitchen Extensions in London.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Good to know about the use of old technique in the new works.

    best modular kitchen brands in bangalore

    ReplyDelete