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Question DetailsAsked on 4/27/2015

Do I need a new chimney liner with a tear down and rebuild of my chimney?

My ex-husband did not properly attach the flashing to the chimney when he re-roofed the house. I have water damage due to the flashing issue and the chimney itself is in poor shape. My hot water heater and gas furnace vent through the chimney. I have had two very different estimates. Both are for a tear down and rebuild. One proposal replacing the clay flue, the other says I need a new stainless liner to the furnace. A third contractor has not returned my call for an estimate. What is really needed for this repair?

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3 Answers

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Unfortunately, cannot give specific recommendations based on the limited knowlege of the condition of the roof, framing, chimney itself, linear, etc- but here are some general thoughts.



By water damage I presume you mean wood damage - to framing or roof, which obviously needs to be repaired as appropriate, then correct chimney flashing done - meaning fixing the chimney may or maybe should not come first, or if water damage is not structural in nature perhaps he can fix that - resheathing and reroofing that part, with correct flashing at the chimney.



Unless you have a reason to spend probably $5-10,000 on a chimney teardown and rebuild, assuming the water (over a very long period of time) deteriorated the bricks or mortar requiring the teardown (or just that chimney is very old so mortar is shot), I would not rebuild a brick or stone chimney just to hold utility exhaust ducts - as opposed to using as a fireplace flue. I would rebuild with a utility chase, which is basically just a blocked-out open wood-framed insulated shaft that the utility double-walled exhaust ducting runs up through, to an above-roof exhaust cap or sometimes just U-shaped piping gooseneck at the top (to keep rain out), depending on whether a metal ducting (gravity flue) or plastic pipe (high-efficiency condensing appliance) system. More likely metal if ducted to the roof still.



Another question is where the chimney damage is - if just the top of the chimney above the roofline, it is not tough to remove it to about the roofline and replace the required stickup with a large metal sleeve ducting or a fake metal chimney with raincap surround around the exhaust pipes.



On the replace the clay flue (chimney liner) bid - which I presume does NOT call for tearing down the chimney, because that would be a natura lpart of a teardown and rebuild anyway - in most parts of the country, if your utility exhaust flue piping is double-walledmetalor plastic pipe and had appropriate spacers to maintain required airspace around it, the flue is not needed in most code areas, so unless not intact structurally a bit of cracking or open joints would not prevent its continued use. If your flue pipes are single-wall metal, then the flue liner is usually required - so may be a tossup between fixing/replacing the liner and, if it is not falling apart, having an HVAC contractor replace the single-wall flue pipes with double-wall meeting your local code. Either way, probably about $1000-2000 range all told.



The stainless steel liner to the furnace recommendation might be because your exhaust ducting is single wall so that liner would be replacing the clay liner as second fire protection layer, in which case the tossup would be between the steel liner or replacing the two ducts, which might turn out to be cheaper. If the proposal is for a grouted-in liner, then that is to replace a damaged clay liner while reinforcing it in-place - probably more like a $3000 range job.



In addition to chimney people quoting teardown and rebuild ormaybe just a "topping" job replacing the deteriorated above-roof part, and asking about a "fake" blockout duct chase or shaft as an alternative to rebuilding defective parts of the chimney that need to be torn down, and asidefrom any structural repairs needed to the chimney or house, I would also talk to a couple of Heating and A/C (HVAC) contractors about the cost to reline the chimney versus replacing the ducting with double-walled duct, which might have to be stainless or galvanized depending on your situation - usually galvanized is allowed with gas-fired appliances.



Obviously if the chimney mortar is shot so the whole thing has to come down one way or another, then a flue shaft or chase is probably your best deal. If only the flue is the issue, or perhaps flue and above-roof part of the chimney, then you might have several choices, the right one of which might save you a grand or few.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

0
Votes

To clarify my question a bit more:

The chimney is about 50 years old, the mortar and bricks are pretty much shot. The damage has worked its way into the ceilings area of the walls directly surrounding the chimney on 2 sides (which is what drew my attention to the problem in the first place). I have no desire to rebuid the chimney if I don't have to. I plan to talk to an HVAC professional tomorrow for suggestions.





Answered 4 years ago by Guest_9896576

0
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I am leery because when the contractor gave me the estimate, there was no discussion regarding the liner. However, he included the liner in his written proposal which makes me leery and wondering if I need the liner. It seems to me that he could have told me that when he gave me the initial estimate.


I do not feel his price is unreasonable, but I do not want more than I need.

Answered 4 years ago by Guest_9896576

0
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If rebuilding the chimeny totally, then in modern size chimneys (which are too small to comfortably work inside of while building it) generally a clay flue liner or metal liner is put up first (in sections as they go) and the bricks laid around it to build the chimney, so you pretty much need a linear of some approved type to rebuild it.


If you mean the stainless liner, then to make it a legal fireplace chimney that (or a clay flue) would be required by law. If rebuilding just for use as a furnace/water heater flue, meaning the fireplaces would be permanently blocked off, then whether a liner is needed would depend on your local building code and on whether the furnace/water heater flues are up to code for use without an exterior liner - usually meaning they wouyld be double-wall stainless steel, so sort of back to where I was yesterday - the HVAC contractor solution might eliminte the need for a stainless sleeve in the chimney, IF the sleeve is not needed to stabilize the existing chimney.


Since I recall you said the mortar and bricks are in pretty bad shape, I think you are likely (assuming you don't "want" a brick chimney) heading towards a utility flue chase or shaft, which would normally be a boxed out wood-framed shaft, with fire-rated drywall on the inside (the house side) and house siding around the other 3 sides, and either same wood and siding or a preformed "fake" metal chimney above the roof with the ducting inside it,, and appropriate rain capping and bird/insect screening on top. Cost for that (including mason tearing down the brick chimney) probably on the ballpark of half or a bit more of the cost of tearing down and rebuilding the brick chimney.


BTW - if looking at tearing down, or tearing down and rebuilding the brick chimney, there are a few prior comments on typical ballpark costs for that and putting in a new liner in the Home > Chimney link in Browse Projects, at lower left - a couple of which also are linked below.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD




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