What is the Chimney Liner and Why Does it Need to be Replaced?

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The chimney liner, also called the flue, is the usually-round tube or pipe that leads from the top of the fireplace or wood stove through the chimney and allows smoke and gases to escape. It is designed to protect the chimney and the interior of your home from the acids and gases in smoke. The flue takes a lot of damage over time and must be inspected and cleaned at least once or twice per year. Relining the chimney is ultimately the same as putting new plumbing inside the structure of the chimney. Damage is the primary reason why chimney relining is often necessary under certain circumstances.

Damaged Chimney Liner

Any type of damage to the liner, whether it’s a crack or missing pieces, has to be repaired to prevent further damage or compromises in air quality inside your home. Replacement is usually the best course of action when the flue is damaged because a smooth flue helps move smoke and gases in the direction they need to go. New construction, reconstruction, and homes built before the 1940s are circumstances in which the entire chimney liner needs to be replaced.

Types of Chimney Liner

There are three specific types of chimney liner – clay tile, cast-in-place cement, and metal. The materials used on the inside of the flue have to be practically resistant to heat and the corrosive byproducts produced when you burn nearly anything. Let’s take a look at the differences in the three options.

  1. Clay Liners: Clay tiles can last more than 50 years as long as they’re properly maintained and regularly cleaned. Tiles cost roughly $10 to $15 per 24” tall unit, but the savings you see in material costs are usually transferred to labor costs for installation. So don’t rely on the least expensive material in this case to make your final decision.
  2. Cast-in-Place Liners: Cast-in-place liners are just what the name implies – cast in place. The material, cement in this case, is poured and cast directly into the chimney. They last 50 or more years, just like clay tiles, and the labor costs are much lower. Cast-in-place cement flues are less labor intensive and have the same protective qualities as a clay tile flue. They’re also believed to provide added stabilization for the entire chimney structure.
  3. Metal Liners: Stainless steel flue liners serve the purpose as well. They are considered a more expensive option at roughly $100 per foot, installed. They’re available as flexible or rigid units, and the type used depends entirely on the job to be done.

Call Lou Curley’s Chimney Service at 610-626-2439 to schedule an appointment for a chimney inspection, cleaning, or consultation regarding your flue. The CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps who work here are reliable and professional, and we will explain why we recommend a specific course of action.

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