Chimney Liners: Stainless Steel Vs Clay Tiles

Our chimneys are complex structures with a number of different components hidden behind the bricks and mortar. One of the most important – and least recognized – parts of the chimney is the chimney liner. While chimney liners are designed to protect our homes against heat transfer, damage, changing fuel sources, or simple wear and tear may require the chimney to be relined.

What is a chimney liner?

The Chimney Safety Institute of America defines a chimney liner as “a clay, ceramic, or metal conduit installed inside of a chimney, intended to contain the combustion products, direct them to the outside atmosphere, and protect the chimney walls from heat and corrosion.”

The chimney liner is used as a barrier between the heat and gas produced by the fire and the rest of your home. If the chimney liner is damaged or missing your house is at significant risk for a chimney fire; National Bureau of Standards found that without a chimney liner insulation, framing, and walls around a chimney can ignite in as little as three and a half hours.

Clay Tile VS Stainless Steel Liner

Clay tile and stainless steel are the two most common kinds of chimney liners. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, understanding their differences can help homeowners determine the best type of chimney liner for their fireplace system.

  • Clay tiles. Clay tiles are the most common kind of chimney liner. The majority of new chimneys are built using clay tile liners because of their affordability and ease of installation. Clay tile liners are recommended for fireplaces that burn wood or pellets. However, they are not recommended for use with gas fireplaces; the acidic condensation produced by gas can cause premature deterioration to clay tiles.While built to withstand regular wear and tear, clay tiles are extremely susceptible to damage from moisture, chimney leaks, or chimney fires. Because of the way they are installed, individual clay tiles cannot be replaced without removing parts of the surrounding masonry.
  • Stainless steel. Stainless steel liners are not often used in new chimney construction. Instead, they are used when relining chimneys as a way to repair damage or when changing fuel sources. Stainless steel liners are known for their safety and durability. Likewise, they can be used with fireplaces that burn all fuel sources including wood, gas, pellets, and oil.Although they are more expensive than clay tile liners, stainless steel liners offer increased safety and durability. Because stainless steel liners are manufactured, most include a limited or lifetime warranty after installation. This can help prevent or significantly reduce any future maintenance costs associated with the liner.

Call Us Today

At Jack Pixley Sweeps, we recommend stainless steel liners to all our customers who need to have their chimneys relined. The unmatched safety, affordability, and durability of stainless steel liners can benefit you and your family for years to come. For more information on the benefits of relining your chimney with a stainless steel chimney liner, contact our expert staff today!

All About Chimney Liners

According to the CSIA, problems with your chimney’s flue liner can pose serious risks to your home and family, as it’s no longer able to perform its primary function: to safely contain and usher the deadly byproducts of combustion up and out of your home.

Give Jack Pixley Sweeps a call at 763-422-0481 to schedule an inspection to ensure that your flue liner is properly carrying out its intended job!

Give Jack Pixley Sweeps a call at 763-422-0481 to schedule an inspection to ensure that your flue liner is properly carrying out its intended job!


Time to Reline Your Chimney?

Relining Your Chimney

Behind-the-scenes players don’t always get their due praise, and that’s definitely true when it comes to chimney systems. Aside of the very top of the chimney, you don’t really see your flue liner, but it’s by far one of the most important parts of your chimney system, contributing both to improved safety and improved performance.

When we get service calls for drafting problems, often enough the culprit is the chimney liner. And that’s just one of the problems that comes up with a chimney liner isn’t able to do its job.

The Quick Version Of Why Your Chimney Liner Is So Important:

Your flue liner acts a shield that protects the exterior masonry of your chimney.

Your flue liner acts a shield that protects the exterior masonry of your chimney.

The chimney liner helps insulate the internal workings of your chimney structure — and the combustible materials behind the chimney — from the high heat produced in your firebox. The more heat that gets to those materials, the more chance you have of wood drying out and potentially catching fire. With a strong liner providing a buffer, you’re drastically reducing that possibility.

Your liner also creates a smooth, smoke-tight surface that encourages proper draft. A craggy surface impedes flow, and gaps and cracks act like a split in a drinking straw — no matter how much upward draft you apply, the performance just isn’t there.

A flue that isn’t sized correctly to vent the appliance it’s attached to won’t work correctly either — appliances are made to work with a specifically sized flue. One that’s too small won’t allow the proper draft, and one that’s too big can lead to more smoke and more creosote.

So, when your liner is damaged or isn’t properly doing its job, your chimney system’s performance and safety suffer, in a big way.

Why You Might Reline Your Chimney

When Jack Pixley Chimney technicians recommend relining your chimney, it’s usually for one of these reasons:

– Your clay tile liner has cracks or gaps that are affecting your chimney’s ability to draft properly, and creating a potential fire hazard.

– You’ve had or are having a new appliance installed that makes it necessary for your flue to be resized, by installing a new stainless steel liner.

– Your historic fireplace doesn’t have a liner at all, leaving your chimney system performing poorly (and seriously unsafe).

If you’re having draft or smoking issues, or other performance problems with your chimney system, call Jack Pixley Sweeps. We can inspect your system. and see if a relining — or another kind of repair — will fix the issue!