1. Save up a lot of money. Unless you want the trauma of doing it yourself. We got quoted almost 2 grand to empty the stuff out of the hole (including pipes), to fit a liner etc. and to put up boarding. That cost was minus the wood burner, installation of flooring. Since that is the whole of our budget, we decided to DIY it. Mind you, we DIY everything – we just can’t pay money if it can be done by us. Or Craig, since I am actually useless at DIY).
2. Research it. We have read the building regs, read expert websites, read an installation manual (okay, that was just Craig), and sourced the best quality materials for the best price we could.
3. Get a liner. It’s more hassle, it’s stressful and it’s expensive, but it means no carbon monoxide leaks. It’s not a legal requirement (yet) but is generally advised.
4. Be brave. It’s scary, taking out a fire to find bricks, pipes and a black hole.
4. Measure the fit. We spent £200 on insulation for our liner. It wouldn’t fit up the chimney. It’s a lesson learned, may as well pass it on.
5. Get the safety equipment for the roof. And then (if you are me) go out and let the boys who in my case are the ones who know how to do these things get on with it. I was too worried about a potential accident to stay. We borrowed harnesses from a scaffolder we knew over the weekend.
6. Plan the time of year better than us. Don’t be spontaneous and start fireplaces in October so that it ends up November when the roof climbing needs doing.
7. Check and check again. This applies to everything. Measuring, regulations, safety equipment.
8. Prepare for mess – I didn’t expect the soot, the dust or the tools that happened. Necessary, but it’s better to know it’s coming.
9. Have a spare hoover. Otherwise, yours will get filled with everything that hoovers don’t like. Like concrete, and soot, and stones.
10. Whatever your time frame, add a month. When finished, it would have taken us about 3 months I think. We haven’t rushed it (we have limited time off) but everything takes time.
We haven’t finished yet. But we are getting closer. The hardest job by far is done (the liner) and now we just have the back boarding, flooring and installation of the burner to go.
Can’t wait to sit and look at it when it’s done 🙂