The easiest and most cost effective way to repair a chimney is to reline it with a flexible chimney liner.
When chimneys get old or are not maintained properly they can deteriorate and create hazardous conditions. Cracked tiles and deteriorating masonry can allow hazardous gases or even fire to enter your house.
In order to remedy these situations there are two things that can be done. The entire existing chimney can be torn down and rebuilt, or you can reline the chimney with a stainless steel or aluminum flexible chimney liner insert.
What is a flexible chimney liner?
A flexible chimney liner is just that, flexible, as opposed to rigid. The wall thickness ranges from .005 in. to .019 in. All stainless steel liners have some form of ribbed construction and are supplied in continuous lengths. Flexible liners allow for both top and bottom support because any expansion due to heating is absorbed by the liners flexible ribbing. Some flexible liners can be bent by hand while others are less flexible and require special tools for bending. The use of rain caps are recommended.
Most liners offer a strong 7-ply seam which is air and water tight. The flex liner has ten corrugations between each reinforced seam offering greater flexibility. These unique alloys are designed specifically to resist acids in the flue and extreme stresses of hot and cold cycles.
The chimney liner is the ultimate solution to the problems that plague most chimneys. Modern stainless steel provides air tight and water tight barrier that seals in gases and creosote. Underwriters Laboratory declared that flex systems excel standards for chimney safety and can even withstand a chimney fire and still maintain structural integrity.
This system is to be installed in all new or existing masonry chimneys that are used for the natural draft venting of gas, liquid, and solid fuel fired residential type appliances and masonry fireplaces. While extreme care has been taken to make the system as safe as possible, proper installation, operation and maintenance should be followed.
Are all Chimney Liners the same?
Most flexible stainless steel liners are the same from manufacturer to manufacturer. They may vary slightly in their steel makeup, some leaving out the Titanium. They are very closely related in their design. Some manufacturers make the "hills and valleys" of the liner a little steeper claiming greater flexibility and strength.
Most people are impressed with the strength of the leading manufacturer's liner. Does the liner need to withstand the weight of a 300lb man? No, it doesn't. When the liner is placed in your chimney there is no weight pushing on it's sides. So this is something that is not really necessary, however, it may give people some added peace of mind.