Hello:  I really need suggestions about chimney liners for chimneys that were never lined & will be rebuilt due to earthquake damage. Poured/solid liners are not permitted due to our historic easement but chimney companies seem not to be able to do anything else. I have read about 'floating' liners but have not found a company that wants to do this. Does anyone know the name of a 'method' or process that would provide safety?We are considering not using the fireplaces again due to the liner problems. We are in Va. Thanks so much.

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Our house in NM is 110 years old. We were told that liners are required, just due to the age. We are having liners installed first for the new boiler into the main chimney. The plumbing and heating guy is doing this and will only be using the basement flue and the kitchen flue half will not be used. Our next step is to install two liners in the fireplace chimney so we can use the livingroom and upstairs bedroom fireplaces that share the chimney.

From what I have learned, its not that big a deal. Just a hassle to get that SS liner down the flue, cap the top and install the the plug at the fireplace end.  Even my heating guy is not looking forward to getting up on the roof to do this.

I would think that someone does this as a routine in your area somewhere. There was a lot of info on the web when I went and researched how this was done. I would even think the guy rebuilding the chimney would do this, but I am sure you asked him first. Actually, I was relieved when the plumber included the liner in his bid for the new boiler. I was not sure how to go about finding someone to do this. He said it was part of his job whenever he had to replace boilers in the old houses.

So, maybe a heating guy would be your answer as well.

Hope this gives some insight.


Thank you so much for the information. The sticking point is that the SS liner, I am told, should be insulated with its wrap as well as have a mixture poured around the liner so it doesn't move around in the chimney flue. That is the issue -- the poured-in-place liner becomes hard & very difficult to remove if the chimney is damaged by storms or another quake. Taking it out damages the interior of the chimney and is not approved by the Va. Dept of Historic Resources as a fix.  There must be way & will continue to keep surfing & reading.  

OK now I understand. We are not doing it in that way, as far as I understand. Why would it move around, I wonder?

How long is the run? Our is about 40' aproximately from the basement to the top. Three stories and a basement.

We have a 40 ft. drop also from the roof line down to the English basement. The concern seems to be firmly attaching it at top & in the smoke chamber area. Every company likes to pour a solid mass to cover any tiny cracks in the flue walls as well as act as a heat barrier. It has been very frustrating talking to about 6 chimney companies & they only want to do it 1 way.  


The whole idea of the liner is to keep smoke and associated carbon monoxide from seeping into the living quarters. I guess you could get some heat, but there is an air gap around the duct, plus heat goes up.

I did find this info: "The primary exception to the requirement to line an unlined chimney is when you change its use, at which time you MUST upgrade the chimney to the requirements of the appliance you're using. If you installed a woodstove then the woodstove manufacturer will require the chimney be lined. As a retrofit liner into an unlined chimney, stainless steel is the most widely used method although other materials such as cast-in-place lining systems are available and approved for this use. Likewise, any gas appliance you install will have chimney liner requirements but the type of liner required will vary according to the gas appliance you're installing with a less expensive system often being allowed." http://www.thefireplacechannel.com/articles/article/3681857/53447.htm

From what I have gleaned from taking to chimney people:

Poured liners are preferred by the companies, because they are the easiest, and fastest, way to do it.  Insert balloon, fill it, pour.  I was advised against them because, as mentioned, they are hard to remove.  Also, if the brick or mortar is weak, they can blow out a hole, filling someplace else.  Stainless liners are more expensive, but are preferable for a few reasons.  They are removable and do no damage to the existing stack.  I was also informed by the fire department that they prefer stainless liners because in the event of a chimney fire, no gas escapes, and the fire is contained within the liner, making extinguishing it easier and preventing any wood close by from igniting.  With poured liners, you also have to worry about the draft on the flue being interfered with, as you are changing the shape of the flue.  In the event the draw is compromised, it will be very hard to correct.  One company that quoted me on therma crete liners also informed me that my firebox would look like a smooth concrete bell, not the brick Rumford style I now have, so a totally different look, and not at all historic looking.


Another option is to line it with ceramic tiles, which is probably not all that less expensive.  

I have come to the conclusion that using SS liners is a good idea but the way in which they have to be attached to the smoke chamber/chimney  & the materials used can become a problem to remove as well as be too rigid for the structure.

Was hoping to find a 'modern' way to still have a fire occasionally but the primary objective is to 'protect the resource'  and maintain the architectural integrity.  Thank you for all your comments and best of luck with your project.

There is both a flexible and a ridged liner. At the bottom/fireplace end, a custom seal will have to be made to fit your flue. I guess this is all depending on how you will use the old fireplace. In our case we will be using an insert or the like which will be attached directly to the liner. On the chimney end they cap the chimney and will most likely put a small stack. Thats what I see in our area where the liners have been installed. Since, for our new boiler, we will only be using 1/2 of the main chimney flue (the other was for a wood burning stove in the kitchen) we will only have one small stack and the cap will seal the other half.

Fireplaces and chimney restoratation is expensive!!!  Now that is said restoring may be even more so. I must ask a few questions about your house first, its age, is it wood or brick and is the chimney on the outside of the house or is it built inside the walls, also is it located on outer walls or in the center of the house?   Answering these questions is in to help understand how fire saftey for the chimney relates to the construction of the wood around the chimney.  Fire saftey is the upmost importance here and the releasing of gases and perhaps flames into your home.  You said you are in VA and have earthquake damage and a historic easement,  I must ask what they suggest as a fix for your situation.  I have been fourtunate to have well built chimneys in the past, however I now am looking at restoring several in my old federal brick home.  The one in the Kitchen has been completly restored at great expense is orginal looking and the loss of heat is great but it looks so good!  One in a parlor has a gas log heat source that has a pipe run up the chimney with a cover over the top with screening and rain guard it is secure and stable and well attached. Always put a nice rain guard over the chimney to keep out water and birds!!   At the flue area it was sealed with concret to direct all the fumes up the metal pipe.  This once painted black looks and works well and we have no danger for fumes or flame escaping into the old chimney and is less expensive than an out right full restore of the chiminy and is much more fuel efficient.  Hope this helps.  I only four more to go, good luck!!!


We are finding what you said about chimney restoration being expensive. We have a few loose bricks at the top and we intended to have the brick restore guy take care of that. Well his guys found that there was movement in the chimney and it would have to be torn down to where it meets the second floor roof, about 10-12 ft or more. This was estimated at $8500. A drive through the neighborhood we found almost all the houses had support rods or the like running from the chimney to the roof. I guess this was a cheaper solution than rebuilding.

Now we are considering the same thing.

Talk about opening a can of worms, LOL  it is true ask a profesional and you will get a bigger bill.  They are a lot of work and most of it you cannot see.   I had a home one time that had extreamly tall chimneys and they had very ornate brackets that help hold them up attached to the roof.  They were call Crickets along with the roof part that took water away from the chimney.

The quote I got for stainless liners was about $5000 per flu.  With 8 fireplaces, we, respectfully, declined.  That didn't count any masonry work. Someday we'll do some, but I'll be pretty selective about which rooms get working fireplaces.


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