Chimney Relining Cost
How Much Does It Cost To Reline A Chimney?
Your home is your safe haven, so it's important to take all the proper precautions to preserve its structure and ensure you and your family's safety. If you have a chimney, this starts with regular maintenance, regular relining checks, and replacements when necessary.
By not doing so, you risk much more than it's worth - structural damage, injury, or in worst-case scenarios, death. It isn't a job that should ever be put off or not taken seriously. In fact, the dangers are so real that more than 25,000 house fires occur every year and often sustain as much as $125+ million in damages.
However, before considering your options, it's important to get all the facts to make an informed decision. The following guide will give you accurate cost information for chimney relining with special attention to these FAQs:
- What is chimney relining?
- What is the average cost to install a chimney liner?
- What are the different types of chimney liners and their cost?
- When should you reline your chimney?
- Should you hire a pro to help with chimney relining or can you do it yourself?
- How to save money on chimney relining?
What Is Chimney Relining?
Once upon a time (a very long time ago), chimney lining wasn't required for every chimney. In fact, some older homes may not have one, so it's important to check and make sure yours does. However, in the last century, unlined chimneys have been studied and deemed so unsafe that researchers called having an unlined chimney a "little less than criminal."
Now, when you reline a chimney, you install a new flue liner. This installation is necessary to protect your chimney from heat and corrosion.
According to The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), chimney liners serve three main functions:
- Protecting the house from heat transfer to combustibles like carbon monoxide
- Protecting the masonry from the byproducts that can cause your chimney to corrode of combustion
- Providing a correctly sized chimney flue for optimum efficiency of appliances
What Is The Average Cost To Install A Chimney Liner?
Chimney installation costs can get pretty steep, but the cost is worth the guarantee and peace-of-mind that you and your family are safe.
The final cost of a chimney liner installation varies by the liner that you choose and your specific chimney needs, but on average, you can expect to pay between $2,500 and $7,000. The national average is $2,500, with your absolute minimum being as low as $625 and a maximum of $7,000.
What Are The Different Types Of Chimney Liners And Their Cost?
To better understand what liner costs to expect when getting a new chimney liner, you first need to get familiar with the different types of liners you can use and the costs involved with each.
If you're considering stainless steel chimney liner, the price can be on the higher side. It is, however, highly recommended because it is a more compatible material with any appliance. Depending on your chimney's shape, you also have the option to get a rigid or flexible liner with this material.
As far as cost, you can expect to pay anywhere between $20 to $90 per foot for just the material.
Clay/Terra-Cotta is your least expensive option when it comes to replacing your liner. Clay tile liners often range from $6 to $15 per foot for the material. If you plan on hiring a professional, consider the extra costs of installing this material since it is more labor-intensive due to pulling old clay tiles off one-by-one. Labor cost is averaged to cost an additional $2,000 to $3,500.
Depending on what type of aluminum chimney liner you choose as a replacement or upgrade, you can expect to pay as little as $5 per foot of material and as much as $30 per foot. The problem with choosing this material is that although it is relatively budget-friendly, it is also quick to rust, so its lifespan can be as little as 5 years.
Cast-in-place liners are a permanent solution that involves concrete-like material inserted into your chimney to seal any and all voids. For this reason, the price can get pretty steep if you choose this material. Average cost ranges from $40 to $120 per foot for the material alone.
This option is often used in old chimneys that don't have a liner or for chimney repairs.
Thermocrete flue liner is good for minor chimney repairs and involves lining your existing chimney with a layer of ceramic to seal off cracks, holes, and other openings in your chimney walls. However, this material is also a labor-intensive job, so pricing can be as low as $50 and as high as $200 per foot.
This option is safe for both gas fireplaces and wood-burning fireplaces.
What Is The Average Cost To Repair A Chimney Liner?
Repairing your chimney lining can vary in costs depending on the problem at hand. However, minor issues like cracks can be repaired for an average of $200 to $400. To replace it completely, you could be looking at as much as $10,000.
For more about a chimney repair checklist, check out the video below:
Some additional costs that can accrue that you may not have factored in:
- You have a multi-level home.
- If the job is particularly hazardous when trying to reach your chimney cap.
- If the flue is more difficult to work with.
When Should You Reline Your Chimney?
The national safety standard is to have your chimney inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances.
With that being said, the CSIA also recommends replacing your liner when "there's 1/8" of sooty or creosote buildup [or] sooner if there is any glaze present in the system."
It is also wise to get a chimney inspection after a chimney fire, including checking the condition of your liner. The Chimney of Safety Institute of America also says to look out for these 9 signs that may mean you've had a chimney fire:
- "Puffy" or "honeycombed" creosote
- Warped metal of the damper, metal smoke chamber connector pipe, or factory-built metal chimney
- Cracked or collapsed flue tiles or tiles with large chunks missing
- Discolored and/or distorted rain cap
- Heat-damaged TV antenna attached to the chimney
- If you've found creosote flakes and pieces
- Roofing material damaged from hot creosote
- Cracks in exterior masonry
- Any signs that smoke escaped through mortar joints of masonry or tile liners
What Are The Cost Factors When Relining Your Chimney?
Additional costs you need to consider are inspection and cleaning, materials, labor, and installation.
Inspection and Cleaning
On average, you can expect to pay between $150 and $300 for a chimney sweep and inspection. The price of the inspection also depends on the level your chimney needs.
There are also three levels of inspections CSIA says you should be familiar with:
- Level 1 inspections are a minimum requirement and often involve your technician examining areas that are readily available. This includes checking for obstructions and combustible deposits. No specialty tools are necessary to get this job done.
- Level 2 is necessary for chimneys that have had any changes made to them like fuel type, material, and more. It is also required if you sell or buy a new home. No specialty tools are necessary to get this job done either, but rather uses video tools or similar. Situations that warrant this inspection are after a chimney fire, weather events, building fire, or seismic events.
- Level 3 inspections are recommended if a hidden hazard is suspected, and special tools are needed to consider the problem more deeply. This level also includes the same inspections involved in levels 1 and 2 and includes the removal of components like the chimney crown or interior chimney wall to get a better look at the potential problems.
Aside from the liner material, if you're choosing to do the job yourself, you could be looking at additional costs like hand tools (hammer, drills, etc.), protective gear (eyeglasses, work gloves, etc.), a ladder or two, liner kit, and chimney cleaning kits.
Labor can be a significant portion of your costs. The job varies dramatically depending on the difficulty of the job, but the average is said to be around $60 an hour.
Insulation costs can vary depending on whether you choose to use single-wall or double-wall. If you use a single-wall, you will likely pay $20 to $40. If you use a double-wall, you'll likely pay $40 - $90.
Should You Hire A Pro To Help With Chimney Relining Or Can You Do It Yourself?
Although you can DIY your chimney lining, it is often recommended that you have a chimney professional take care of the job to ensure that everything is installed and working properly. A significant amount of lives are lost a year due to masonry chimney fires, so it is vital that there are no mistakes made when it comes to a major component of your home.
Not to mention the job itself is a fire hazard and can lead to unimaginable damages.
If you are up for the job and have enough knowledge to do so, you can do the job yourself. There are chimney liner kits that are fairly inexpensive and typically have a step-by-step guide and tips on how to use them correctly. We recommend at least consulting a professional for guidance.
How To Save Money On Chimney Relining?
Like many other expensive home improvements, homeowners must consider their financial options before and during the projects. Whether you choose to work with a chimney professional or do it yourself, there are ways to save money without sacrificing quality.
You can save some money by paying attention to the following things:
- Warranty - When considering your options, pay close attention to warranties and other important paperwork involved with a big and important job like this. For instance, does it cover chimney fires?
- Ask questions - Be involved with the solution to your chimney problems. The more you know about what's going on, the quicker you can step in to question any upsells that may not be necessary for the job at hand.
- Shop around - There isn't only one local installer, so make sure you do your due diligence when comparing costs, experiences, and other values.
Home Improvement insurance - It is always a great go-to for expensive jobs necessary for your home to run properly and safely.