Chimney Relining

What should I know about relining a chimney?

Why reline a chimney?

There are several possible reasons to reline a chimney:

    1. In houses built prior to the 1950s, masons often did not use terra cotta flue liners. Flue built from brick, stone, or concrete block surrounding a terra cotta flue tile liner. Chimneys that are brick, stone, or concrete block only, Flue built from brick, stone, or concrete block only, which does not contain a liner. Recognizable by the numerous gaps and mortar joints. without terra cotta flue tiles, are unsafe for use. Gaps form where mortar has fallen out and these gaps may allow excessive heat to come into contact with combustibles, or noxious flue gases to enter the home. Chimney fires can easily start house fires, and produce carbon monoxide and other deadly gases.


    1. When a wood stove is hooked into a thimble, Round opening where a woodstove connects to a masonry chimney. Usually made of terra cotta or metal. directly into a terra cotta lined chimney, sometimes the flue is too big for the appliance to draft properly. NFPA (the National Fire Protection Association) standards require a flue area no bigger than twice the size of the flue collar on the appliance for an exterior chimney, Chimney built on an outside wall of the house, surrounded by the outside air on three sides. or three times the size of the flue collar for an interior chimney. Chimney built in the middle of the house, surrounded by the house on all four sides. The area of a six inch flue collar (the most common) is just over 28 square inches. The area of an eight inch flue collar is just over 50 square inches. Terra cotta tiles vary a lot in their thickness, so it is a good idea to measure the interior dimensions to get an accurate read. Typically an 8X8 flue tile has an area of 49 square inches, an 8X13 flue tile has a free area of 84 square inches, and a 12X12 flue tile has an area of 121 square inches.


  1. Wood stoves or wood stove inserts installed in fireplaces should have a full liner stainlesslinerstainlessliner2 Chimney lined with a full stainless steel liner from the top of the stove or insert to the top of the chimney. all the way to the top of the flue. While building code allows for a direct connect, A direct connect is when an insert or a woodstove is installed into a masonry fireplace without a full liner. Instead it will have a short length of stainless liner (oven an oval or rectangular shape) extending just to the bottom of the flue (the terra cotta tiles).NFI does not allow them and Wooden Sun does not install them, for the following reasons:
    • The appliance will not draft as well because the flue is so much bigger than the flue collar.
    • The appliance will take a lot longer to start up and begin draft properly because heating up a much larger flue takes significantly longer than heating up a stainless liner wrapped in an insulation blanket.
    • Because of the drafting issues, the appliance will never be as efficient, meaning that it will take more wood to heat the same amount of space.
    • These types of installations can be dangerous and are more prone to chimney fires.
      • Direct connects produce a lot more creosote Creosote is a material that forms when woodis burned incompletely. It is flammable, and is a frequent cause of chimney fires. It has a strong odor that can be more pronounced in the summer months, when it melts in the heat. because the flue gases cool down so much more, forming glazed creosote Also called third degree creosote, this type of creosote catches fire relatively easily and burns very hot and very fast. that cannot be removed from a normal sweep (requires a rotary sweep). Third degree creosote burns very hot, very fast.
      • Unless the direct connect is completely removed (a big job requiring moving the appliance and taking apart the direct connect), the area where the direct connect goes into the flue cannot be reached to clean–a lot of creosote forms in these spaces and if it is not swept properly the creosote buildup is signficant. This can catch fire and be the beginning of a significant chimney fire.
    • Fully lined chimneys are much safer if a chimney fire were to occur. With terra cotta tiles only, it is possible for the chimney fire to spread through voids in the mortar or cracks in the flue tiles. A full liner is a chimney system within a chimney system–the fire can be contained by the stainless liner and insulation, with the added back up of the terra cotta and masonry chimney.
    • In summary, direct connects are the height of “penny wise and pound foolish.” While they are initially a cheaper installation, in just a few years the full liner will have paid for itself in increased efficiency and decreased cleaning costs, not to mention dramatically improved safety.
  2. Occasionally, because of a chimney fire, earthquake, or age, terra cotta flue tiles develop cracks Vertical cracks in a chimney flue are usually caused heat expansion and contraction, as often occurs with chimney fires. Horizontal cracks are usually caused by physical movement, such as an earthquake. that render the chimney unsafe to use without being relined, either with a stainless steel liner or a poured refractory liner.
What types of chimney relining do you offer?

We install stainless steel liners in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, suitable for woodstoves, woodburning inserts, gas inserts, and gas stoves. We do not do poured chimney liners.
Flue liner composed of high-temperature concrete poured in
place inside a masonry flue.
If a poured liner is the best solution for your needs, we can refer you to a reputable company that does those.

Wooden Sun is also a certified dealer and installer of the HeatShield system for flue repair and resurfacing. Terra Cotta flue tiles often become cracked over time, as a result of chimney fires, earthquakes/lightning strikes, or simply natural wear and tear occurring over time. These cracks can be dangerous, as they allow heat and fumes to escape into the brick of your chimney, and from there into your house (per CSIA and NFPA standards). The HeatShield cerfactory cement system is a resurfacing system for your flue liner, which repairs cracks, spalling, or missing mortar joints, without the need for a stainless steel liner.

Will a stainless steel liner help with my draft?

Yes, a liner will help your draft; in most cases the improvement will be signficant. It is very important to have your flue sized correctly for your appliance, and we select liners to be the optimum size for your stove or insert. We install our liners with a ceramic fiber insulation blanket wrapped around them wherever possible (or else we would pour an insulation around the stainless liner), to achieve the best draft.

Is a stainless steel liner safer?

Yes, a stainless steel liner
A stainless liner does not have cracks
to allow heat or flue gases to penetrate
the chimney, and it prevents dangerous
glazed creosote deposits from forming in
hard-to-reach areas of the chimney.
with insulation is much safer than either a direct connect or terra cotta flue tiles.

Is a stainless steel liner easier to clean?

Yes, a stainless steel liner
A stainless liner prevents dangerous
glazed creosote deposits from forming in
hard-to-reach areas of the chimney. Flue
gases do not expand and cool rapidly as
in a direct-connect installation, which
prevents third-degree creosote from forming.
is very quick and easy to clean, much more so than a direct connect.

Does the stainless steel liner affect efficiency?

Yes, having a liner sized properly for your appliance significantly increases its efficiency.

How long will a stainless liner last?

Our liners are made of high grade stainless steel and come with a lifetime warranty.

How much does stainless steel liner cost?

Standard 6” stainless steel liner, with ceramic fiber insulation and stainless steel protective mesh costs $40 per linear foot. If you purchase an appliance from us, we discount the liner to $30 per linear foot. Oval, rectangular, or heavy gauge liners are more expensive.

A full liner costs more than I want to spend. Is there another way to install my stove or insert?

There is one other kind of installation that meets building code, called a direct connect
A direct connect is when an insert or a woodstove
is installed into a masonry fireplace without a full liner.
Instead it will have a short length of stainless liner
(oven an oval or rectangular shape) extending just to
the bottom of the flue (the terra cotta tiles).
or a partial connect. It involves installing the stove or insert with a short length of liner up into the chimney. We do not do direct connect installations, and the National Fireplace Institute does not allow them. We don’t feel that direct-connects are safe, and you can learn why here. Please note that it is not legal, and very dangerous, to install a stove or insert into a fireplace without either a direct connect or a full liner – this is referred to as a slammer.
A “slammer” is when an insert or a stove
Is pushed into the fireplace without any
liner or pipe coming out of the top. This
kind of installation produces heavy deposits
of third-degree creosote on and around the
insert, which can easily ignite and cause damage
to the insert and chimney, or even a house fire.

What is involved with installing a stainless steel liner? How do you get it into my chimney?

The insulation and mesh are wrapped around the liner on the ground. Depending on your installation, we may carry the liner up onto your roof and drop it down the chimney, or we may attach a winch at the top and pull it up the chimney.

Does the liner ever get stuck?

We do our best to make sure with proper measuring beforehand that the liner will go into your chimney without a hitch. Sometimes, however, in spite of our best efforts, the liner gets stuck–sometimes because of an offset, sometimes because of excessive mortar protruding from the flue tiles, sometimes because the flue tiles are not installed straight, sometimes in an unlined chimney because the space too narrow. We can usually get it free with some well-applied wiggling. Very rarely, it is necessary to take some bricks out at the point where the liner is sticking in order to maneuver it down. We should be able to tell you what the likelihood of this is beforehand.