The three primary types of chimney liners used are clay tile, cast-in-place, and metal flue liners. Which one you choose largely depends on how old your home is and when you had the liner repaired or replaced last.
Clay Tile Liners
The most common type of chimney liners are clay tiles. They are an inexpensive option, and clay tiles perform very well with well-maintained open fireplaces. Clay tile chimney liners are often found in older homes; almost any home built in the last century will have clay tile liners if there is a chimney. That said, even with proper maintenance and chimney cleaning, clay tiles only last up to around 50 years.
Because the tiles are susceptible to cracking when rapidly exposed to uneven heating, they must be adequately maintained and inspected before use. Once the tile has cracked, it creates a vulnerability that could lead to a house fire. Repairing clay tile liners or replacing them with new clay tile can be difficult, and many homeowners switch to a different liner when a repair is needed.
These chimney liners are installed exactly as their name suggests. Made with a concrete-like material, these liners are poured in and left to harden. Pouring the material in creates an excellent liner with no cracks or leaks. The solid lining offers insulation and even improves the structural integrity of your chimney!
In addition to creating a seamless and insulated chimney liner, they also can resist higher temperatures than other types of liners. Rated to withstand heat up to 2100 degrees, cast-in-place liners are a great option for protecting against the dangers of a chimney fire. Between the insulation and support for higher temperatures, it can help make sure combustive gasses and creosote are consumed more fully during use.
It’s important to keep in mind that a cast-in-place liner is a permanent liner. If some damage happens to the liner, it can be necessary to replace the entire liner. While this circumstance is unlikely due to the integrity of the material, it’s worth discussing the pros and cons with a professional when deciding on which liner to choose.
Metal Flue Liner
Today, metal flue liners are the most popular option for adding or replacing a chimney liner to your home, bringing with them a host of benefits to you and your home. Primarily made of stainless-steel, metal chimney liners for certain types of gas stoves are sometimes made of aluminum. For either material, metal offers high resistance to corrosion from the byproducts of combustion, protecting your home and reducing the risk of damage and likelihood of needing your chimney repaired.
One of the biggest benefits of metal flue liners is that they can be made for essentially any chimney. While cast-in-place liners, for example, can’t be poured in certain chimney designs, metal flue liners can be rigid or flexible, allowing them to be installed in essentially any modern home. The installation process itself is also easier and less costly.
If you choose to go with a cast-in-place liner, you may have the option of combining it with a stainless-steel liner, bringing additional insulation and protection to your home. You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your home – and these liners all work towards improving the efficiency and function of your fireplace or stove.