Why Old Chimneys Need New Liners

Posted on: 19 March 2015

Old homes, such as those that were built in the 1950s, usually need to be improved before they can be used. In most cases, the fireplace does not have enough lining. There are several reasons why you will want to make sure that your fireplace has a new liner.

What is a Liner?

A chimney liner is made out of metal or clay and protects the chimney and wall from the fire below. Chimneys that are not lined have bad draft tendencies, causing the attached appliance to not operate efficiently enough. Also, when the appliance burns wood, the exhaust will combine with the moisture to form creosote.

What is Creosote?

The creosote becomes deposited inside the lining of the chimney. Creosote is a serious hazard because it can cause fires. Creosote can cause the chimney to not ventilate properly, which will cause harmful fumes to become trapped within the home, including carbon monoxide. To eliminate the problem, you will first need to have the creosote removed by a chimney sweep. Then you can have lining added to your chimney.

What Other Problems Can Result?

You may notice that the wallpaper near the chimney is damaged. This is usually the result of excess moisture in the chimney. A moisture problem can be caused by a range of issues, including rusting, cracks and spalling on the chimney. These problems are most often caused by a poor chimney lining.

Some damage that a chimney suffers can also be the result of the mortar deteriorating from the excess moisture. While the masonry is usually expected to last for a century, sometimes moisture can cause the mortar to become damaged. In that case, it will need to be replaced by a masonry specialist in addition to having a lining added to your chimney.

What Type Should I Get?

If you are concerned about the cost of a chimney liner, a clay liner is the least expensive. Unfortunately, the clay chimney liner does not resist the expansion of heat in the same way as other liners and this can cause the clay tiles that make up the lining to crack and split over time. Fortunately, a masonry repair specialist can fix the cracks in the lining.

Metal liners, on the other hand, can be very durable if they are installed properly by a chimney expert. High-temperature insulation will also be necessary to protect the metal liner and to preserve its integrity.  

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