How Much Does a Chimney Liner Cost to Install?
Prevent dangerous leaks and fire hazards by installing a chimney liner. With an average price range of $625 to $7,000, chimney liner costs are a wise investment to protect your home and family.
- Typical Range: $625 to $7,000
- National Average: $2,500
Enjoying a cozy evening by the fire is all fun and games—until the fire heads up the chimney where it doesn’t belong. When a chimney isn’t properly and regularly maintained, it suffers a buildup of soot and creosote, which can become a fire hazard in this tight space. Most newer homes are installed with a chimney liner of some kind, but many older homes are not. Owners of older homes should strongly consider installing a chimney liner to help prevent chimney fires. Even if your chimney already has a liner, they do wear out eventually, so it’s essential to keep an eye on them with regular maintenance and cleaning so they can be replaced or repaired before they become a safety hazard.
A chimney liner cost averages $625 to $7,000, with a national average of $2,500. Chimney relining costs are primarily based on the type of material you choose to install, the size of the chimney, the roof pitch, the chimney’s condition, labor, and permits. A fireplace inspector can check your chimney to see if you have any appliances also using the chimney flue and make recommendations for the best materials to line your chimney. In most areas, proper chimney liners are required, so be sure to check local regulations as you research chimney liner costs.
Factors in Calculating Chimney Liner Cost
For a seemingly simple feature on the house, there are a lot of factors that make up a chimney liner’s cost. The overall design of the chimney is a top factor since the height, shape, and connections to any other appliances will significantly affect how the liner is built. The chimney’s condition is another factor, along with inspections, permits, labor, and materials. Here are the top considerations for chimney liner replacement costs.
Roof Height and Pitch
The roof height and pitch determine what kind of equipment will be needed to complete the chimney liner installation. For instance, chimneys that extend several stories might require a mechanical lift to help the technicians get materials to the top of the roof. Additionally, if the roof’s pitch is excessively steep, the technicians will need to take added safety precautions, which can increase how long the project takes.
Number of Appliances
While older homes might have a more simple setup where the chimney is only used by the fireplace, other homes might have additional appliances tapped into the chimney. Any gas or vented appliances that use the chimney will need to be attached and sealed to the new liner, which requires extra time and materials. Expect to pay an additional $400 if different appliances use the existing chimney.
Chimney Size, Age, Shape, and Condition
Old, crumbling chimneys will take a fair amount of work to repair before they’re structurally sound enough to hold a chimney liner safely. Alternatively, some types of liners can also fall into disrepair, so they’ll need to be inspected to determine whether they can be repaired or if they need to be removed entirely. A broken chimney crown could cost $900 to repair, but rebuilding part of an old brick chimney could cost an average of $2,800.
Permits, Chimney Inspection, and Chimney Sweep
A chimney or fireplace inspector will be essential in determining the condition of your existing fireplace. Their recommendation will guide the type of liner you choose and how many repairs are needed to get your chimney in good working order. Some liners can’t be used on certain chimneys, so a professional’s expertise will be invaluable.
Additionally, if you haven’t had a chimney sweep clean your chimney recently, it will need to be done before any work begins. Chimney inspection and cleaning cost an average of $125 to $250. Finally, you’ll need to ask the chimney inspector about the permits required for chimney liners and repairs. These typically cost $50 to $200.
The material you choose for your chimney liner will affect your total cost significantly. For instance, traditional clay or terra-cotta liners cost only $10 per square foot; however, they don’t have a long lifespan with heavy use, and they are more labor-intensive to install.
Stainless steel chimney liners are a popular choice at $65 per square foot for materials. They’re durable, effective, and relatively easy to install. With installation, the price goes up to around $100 per square foot. Other material options include aluminum, cast-in-place, and thermocrete, which cost an average of $12, $250, and $200 per square foot, respectively.
Materials and Labor
Materials and labor make up the remaining bulk of chimney liner costs. Materials include the cost of the liner and any additional supplies needed to get the job done. Labor rates for relining chimneys average $400 to $1,250, depending on the job’s complexity. It takes at least two or three technicians to reline the chimney safely. You can obtain a more accurate labor quote by searching for “chimney liner installation near me” and speaking to a local company.
Additional Costs and Considerations
There are a few more cost considerations to review to answer the question, “How much to line a chimney?” You’ll pay more if your chimney needs repair and if you choose to add insulation. Looking long-term, it’s also important to budget for regular cleaning and maintenance to keep ahead of major repairs.
There are several ways a chimney can be repaired, from using thermocrete to adding clay tiles or joint repair systems. The repair method is entirely determined by the chimney’s condition and type of liner. A company could quote you anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000 for refacing. Sometimes the cost to completely resurface a chimney could be more than simply replacing the worn-out chimney. Be sure to ask about both options and the long-term benefits for each to make the best decision for your chimney.
Insulating is a good idea to help the chimney run more efficiently, perform better, and protect the exterior masonry. You’ll need to decide ahead of time if you want insulation since it’s installed before the liner. Depending on the material choice, which is also determined by the type of liner, the insulation will be wrapped or poured then secured to the top and bottom. Insulation could cost as little as $200 to $300 or as much as $1,500.
Chimney Liner Cleaning and Maintenance
Once you’ve installed your brand-new chimney liner, it’s essential to create a regular cleaning and maintenance plan. Some types of well-maintained chimney liners can last for several decades. A chimney sweep can easily check for cracks and leaks during the annual cleaning and inspection.
Chimney Liner Types
The original chimney material and shape, your budget, and the chimney’s usage will determine the material you choose to line your chimney. Some liners can last for decades, while others are prone to wearing out after a few years. Consider these types of chimney liners and materials.
Stainless steel is the most popular chimney liner since it’s highly durable and can be used on any kind of chimney. This type of liner can be used whether the chimney is straight or has any bends or curves. They’re also great for chimneys with several appliances tapped into the flue. You’ll pay around $100 per square foot to install a stainless steel chimney liner.
Clay or Terra-Cotta
Though clay and terra-cotta liners have low up-front costs as cheap material, they have a higher labor rate than some types, like stainless steel. Installers will place tiered clay tiles through the chimney. These tiles don’t conduct heat or corrode easily, but ironically, they can crack under extreme heat. Consider installing a different chimney liner if your current clay liner often cracks due to high use.
Aluminum is the cheapest metal option with an average cost of $100 to $300 per chimney liner kit. Aluminum chimney liners are easier to install with the help of a pro and are one of the cheapest overall, with an average cost of $625 to $2,250 total. The drawback is they only last about 5 years since they are prone to rust. Still, they’re an excellent option for a budget chimney liner.
Cast-in-place or poured-in-place liners cost around $250 per square foot to install. A rubber tube is placed in the chimney, and then a cement-like mixture is poured around it to adhere to the chimney walls. It makes a strong, reinforced chimney that resists overheating and corrosion, but it’s a complicated process that requires a lot of equipment. This kind of chimney liner could cost $5,000 to $7,000 just for materials, but it can last for more than 50 years.
A newer option that’s been around for a decade or so is thermocrete. It’s like a ceramic sealant that can fill in cracks and crevices of wood and gas fireplaces—but only on existing liners. It’s straightforward to install but still labor-intensive, so the average cost is $5,000. However, this material is highly durable once applied.
Rigid vs. Flexible
Rigid liners work in straight chimneys that have no bends at all, and they’re usually easier to install. Unfortunately, they are also prone to leaks and joint problems since they are immovable and made up of several pieces. These typically cost $30 to $50 per square foot.
Flexible liners are one single piece of material that’s made to fit the shape of your unique chimney. They often cost a little more, but they’re less likely to experience leaks or breaks. Flexible liners often cost $20 to $90 per foot to install.
Single-Wall vs. Double-Wall
Aluminum chimney liners have two options for extra insulation. You can choose a single-wall liner with only a single layer of corrugated metal. It’s more challenging to clean, but it’s cheaper to install—typically $20 to $40 per square foot. A double-wall liner has two layers: a smooth interior lining attached to a corrugated wall. This type is easier to clean, but it’s a little more expensive at $40 to $90 per foot.
Do I Need a Chimney Liner?
While fireplace installation costs are one thing to plan for, it’s another to budget for chimney liner costs. You might wonder if it’s necessary to install a chimney liner since you have a fully functioning chimney that would seem to do the same job. However, it’s important to protect a chimney and make it easier to clean. If chimney liners are required in your area, you’ll need to install one regardless; otherwise, there are several reasons you need a chimney liner.
It May Be Required
Most local legislation requires homes to have a chimney liner to help prevent chimney fires and leaks that can cause carbon monoxide poisoning in the house. Check with a local fireplace inspector to see what regulations apply in your area. Especially if you’re looking to pass a home inspection to sell a house, you’ll likely need to have a chimney liner installed.
Deteriorating Chimney Walls
Chimneys will eventually deteriorate over time, but installing a durable liner can help prolong the life of your chimney. This is especially true of the cast-in-place liners that add a cement-like reinforcement to the chimney walls. But even clay or stainless steel liners provide additional support against deteriorating chimney walls. Liners help make sure smoke is escaping up and out and prevents leaks from the exterior walls since mortar often cracks easily. Chimney liners are also easier to maintain and clean.
Seeing a buildup of condensation or soot in your chimney is a sure sign that the chimney requires attention. Installing a new liner, or repairing an old one if possible, can prevent these issues, which can cause much more serious problems that no homeowner wants to deal with.
Benefits of Installing a Chimney Liner
The interior of your chimney is an easy place to forget about since it’s mostly out of sight and out of mind. Still, it’s an integral part of this house-warming feature that can play an important role in the safety of your family and the efficiency of your house.
Safety and Fire Prevention
It’s estimated that 25,000 chimney fires occur every year, and most of them are preventable with proper maintenance and a chimney liner. A chimney fire can start small and only damage part of the chimney before you get it out, but the worst-case scenario is that it spreads to the house and puts your home and family at risk. A liner can prevent heat from escaping where the chimney mortar is cracked. Escaping heat in an attic can cause a conflagration, a common cause of chimney or house fires.
Creosote and Moisture Prevention
Chimney liners help minimize soot and creosote buildup, which are the leading causes of chimney fires since they’re highly combustible byproducts of a fire. Liners help draw smoke out of the flue more efficiently and tend to have surfaces that are easier to clean. They also prevent condensation, which can freeze and cause cracks in the winter.
An unexpected benefit of chimney liners is that they help your house be more efficient since they prevent cold downdrafts during the cooler months. And since the liner helps the flue draw correctly, you’ll find that your fire burns more efficiently, too. If you decide to add insulation to your chimney liner, you’ll find it provides even better heat retention. All in all, there are a lot of ways chimney liners help your house run more efficiently in terms of heating and cooling.
Chimney Liner Installation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
At this point, you might be wondering how to install a chimney liner since there are chimney kits available for DIY installation. Homeowners who are on a budget and have some solid home improvement skills can opt to use an aluminum chimney liner kit. However, it should not be attempted without a qualified fireplace inspection to ensure that the kit can do the job correctly. These kits are not made for every chimney, so it’s not necessarily a solution for everyone—not to mention aluminum liners only last about 5 years.
Due to the risks of working on a steep roof with materials that aren’t easily accessible, the safest option is to hire an experienced chimney technician to install your chimney liner. Hiring a professional may be required in some areas. These pros understand which materials will work best for your chimney and how to use those materials to build a liner that will keep your family safe from chimney leaks and fire hazards. Additionally, if your chimney has any kind of damage, you’ll also need the assistance of a pro to get it repaired properly to prevent any safety issues down the road.
It’s also helpful that a professional will have liability insurance to cover any workplace accidents that could occur during the installation. In contrast, your medical costs would come out of your own pocket if you fell off your roof. Ultimately, leaving a challenging job like chimney work to a pro is the best route to feel reassured that your chimney liner isn’t putting you or your family at risk.
How to Save Money on Chimney Liner Installation
Since chimney liners are a necessary repair or purchase, it’s normal to look for ways to save a few dollars here and there. Use these tips to reduce your overall chimney liner cost.
- Obtain multiple quotes from local companies with credible references.
- Compare warranties to make sure you’re getting the most for your money.
- If you have other furnace or chimney projects that need the help of a pro, consider scheduling them simultaneously to save on service fees and qualify for any combination service discounts.
- Install a liner during the off-seasons of spring and summer.
- Choose a less expensive material (but not the cheapest, since you want the liner to last a long time).
Questions to Ask About Chimney Liner Installation
You’ll want to make sure you understand the process and the best liner type for your chimney. Here are several questions you can ask to decide who to hire and ensure the job is done right.
- Are you certified and insured?
- How long has your company been in business?
- How many years of experience do your technicians have?
- Do you offer a free consultation on-site?
- What problems will a new liner solve?
- Can I simply repair or resurface my existing liner? If so, what’s the cost comparison to installing a new one?
- Can you show me the damage you find in my chimney?
- Will my chimney need repair as well?
- How will you handle the extra appliances that use my chimney flue?
- What’s the best type of liner for my chimney?
- How much would it cost to insulate my chimney?
- How long will the liner take to install?
- How long will this chimney liner last?
- What challenges could arise while you’re working?
- Will you need extra equipment to complete this installation?
- What can I expect with a new liner, and how long will it last?
- What warranties do you or the manufacturer offer?
Still wondering about chimney liner costs? Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers.
Q. Can you install your own chimney liner?
Technically, yes. DIY chimney liner kits are on the market, but they take significant labor and home improvement expertise to install. This is one project that you really don’t want to tackle unless you have experience with the kind of equipment this job requires. If you install a liner incorrectly, your home could experience soot buildup, an influx of carbon monoxide, or a house fire. It’s best to let a professional team handle a chimney liner installation.
Q. How long does it take to install a chimney liner?
In most cases, it only takes 2 to 4 hours to install a chimney liner, but if your house has a steep roof pitch or you’re doing a cast-in-place liner, it can take closer to 8 hours.