Chimney Liner Guide

The liner inside your chimney is an important safety feature. They are designed to provide a smooth surface, which allows for smoke to pass through the chimney with minimal creosote and soot buildup. They also prevent the masonry of the chimney from overheating, which could lead to the danger of fire. Therefore, you should make sure your chimney liner stays maintained. The following can help you better understand the danger of a damaged liner, as well as your replacement options.

Causes of damage

Many liners are made of smooth masonry or clay tiles that are mortared together. Over time, heat can cause the tiles to crack or for the mortar to crumble. The settling of the house can also lead to cracks. Regardless of the cause, the dangers are the same – embers can enter cracks, leading to damaging chimney fires, or gas and smoke may leak out and into the house.

Replacement options

Once damage has been found, you will need to get a new liner. It is very rare that a liner can be fixed. The following are your options:

Tile liners: Retiling isn't typically done on existing chimneys since it requires the removal of the outer masonry to install. If your entire chimney has been damaged and you are having it rebuilt, this can be a cost effective option. Tile liners are time tested and relatively inexpensive for new construction. Most modern tile liners are made from a vitreous clay, which can withstand high temperatures without cracking.

Steel liners: These are the industry standard for relining an existing chimney. The steel liners are somewhat flexible, so they can be slipped into the chimney regardless of its shape. The smooth surface of the liner combined with the heat resistance of the steel makes it a durable and safe option as well. In most cases, a ceramic insulator is installed between the walls of the liner and the chimney to provide further heat protection.

Ceramic liners: The most expensive and possibly the optimum choice is a ceramic liner. These liners are cast in place, which means an inflated tube is inserted into your chimney, and then the ceramic is poured between this tube and your chimney walls. After it dries, you have a perfectly smooth and custom lined surface that is highly heat resistant and durable. Another benefit of this liner is that it strengthens the chimney structurally, which overall extends the life of the structure.

For more help in determining if you need a new liner and which type to choose, contact a chimney repair contractor in your area, such as those at Excel Chimney & Fireplace Service.