Chimney Relining

Flexible Stainless Steel Chimney Liners

Traditional masonry chimneys are lined with terra cotta cylinders, stacked one on top of the other — kind of like a tower of macaroni. Over time, due to heat expansion and contraction, water-related deterioration, and settling, the cylinders (called flue tiles) shift, and no longer sit square on top of one another. They can even crack! This leaves gaps between, and in, the tiles — gaps through which creosote and/or heat can pass, leaving the chimney flue and potentially affecting the home. The chimney needs a new “flue liner” to properly insulate the flue and keep creosote and chimney gases inside.

Midway down this chimney, the builder inserted four courses of raw bricks between two flue tiles, leaving holes and gaps.


One option, of course, is to dig into the chimney and tear out and re-stack the terra cotta tiles. This is of course extremely time-consuming and expensive, and can damage the house structure depending on how the chimney was built. Another option is to coat the inside of the stacked tiles with a thick layer of mortar. This is called a cast-in-place liner or refractory liner — Barnhill Chimney installs HeatShield cast-in-place refractory liner systems.

A stainless liner held in place with a top plate, extending through the top of a masonry flue tile. (The single flue cap has been removed for this photo


Another option, especially if a wood burning fireplace insert or wood stove is going to be installed in the firebox, is to drop a heavy, flexible stainless steel liner (kind of like a very long bendy straw), wrapped in an insulative blanket, down the flue. The insulation keeps the flue warm, which reduces the amount of creosote accumulating on the inside of the flue. The inside of the liner is extremely smooth, which also reduces creosote accumulation. The liner is held at the top by a top plate, a stainless steel plate which closes off the areas around the liner and supports it, and it may be capped by a single flue cap depending on the design of the chimney.

A stainless liner held in place with a top plate, extending through the top of a masonry flue tile. (The single flue cap has been removed for this photo.)

Flexible liner can also be used to serve an open fireplace (one without a wood stove or insert in the firebox). In this case it will have both a top plate and a bottom plate. Instead of an insulative blanket, ceramic insulation will be poured around the liner from top to bottom, forming a permanent insulating barrier and also helping to support the liner.

Flexible stainless chimney liner installs generally take between 1-2 days depending on the height/accessibility of the chimney. Our no-mess guarantee extends to installations as well as sweeps!

Barnhill Chimney currently installs a midweight “hybrid” liner system with smooth interior walls and excellent flex. It is made entirely of stainless steel and comes with a lifetime warranty.