What are the Different Types of Chimney Liners?

This article discusses the different types of chimney liners. No matter what sort of chimney lining you have, in time it will need to be maintained or relined. Understanding the three major types of chimney liners will help you discuss with a trusted professional the best way to line your chimney and keep your home safe and sound.

What are the different types of chimney liners? The three main types of chimney liners are metal, clay tiles, and cast-in-place.

Homes that use a wood stove, coal stove, gas fireplace, or a traditional fireplace all require a chimney. Inside that chimney is a liner that helps to protect your home from the heat, embers, and flames of the fire. If you have a chimney and use your fireplace or stove often, it may be time for a new chimney liner. But what is the best chimney liner to use?

What are the different types of chimney liners
Image by suju-foto from Pixabay

What is Chimney Liners?

Chimney liners protect homes from heat moved to combustible materials during fireplace usage. Liners also guard chimney masonry against corrosive byproducts of combustion that can decrease chimney life and impend home occupant safety.

Three Types of Chimney Liners

The three types of chimney liners are clay liners, metal liners, and cast-in-place liners. Find out more about each type of liner below.

Clay Liners

Originally clay liners were used by masons when building chimneys and helped keep the home safe from the damages of wood heat. Generally, clay tile liners are not safe for gas or oil heating systems. Gas and oil fires release vapors. These vapors can damage clay tile liners and jeopardize the safety of your home. Although clay liners are a popular option due to their low cost, they have to be replaced and repaired more often than other liners.

Additionally, repairing or relining a chimney with clay tile is a very difficult task. Punching holes in the chimney to ensure the tiles are aligned and joined correctly is often necessary, and such effort is costly. For this reason, when most homeowners notice cracks or problems with their clay tile chimney liner, they transition to a different liner entirely.

Metal Liners

A favorite amongst the construction and mason worlds are metal chimney liners. These liners are designed in many shapes and sizes. The liners can be rigid or flexible to fit the need of your chimney. Installation and parts for these liners are generally inexpensive. With proper maintenance, metal liners can last a long time. Metal liners make it easy to update your liners when you’re updating your home’s appliances or heating system. Metal liners can also be placed over damaged clay tiles, restoring the function of your chimney flue. Due to their flexibility, versatility, and ease of installation, metal liners are generally considered the best choice.

Metal liners are made from aluminum or stainless steel and are characteristically used to repair or upgrade an existing chimney. Aluminum is used for a medium-efficiency gas system while stainless steel is appropriate for gas, oil, or wood-burning systems. High-temperature insulation is mounted with this liner to improve performance and security.

Cast in Place Liners

If you have a chimney with structural problems or a clay liner that is cracking, a cast-in-place liner may be the best choice. The chimney lining is created with an insulated mortar-like mixture that is great for filling in deteriorating mortar joints and cracks in your chimney. This helps maintain the structure of your chimney. The insulative properties of the lining help keep heat from leaking from the chimney. The chimney’s higher temperatures allow creosote, soot, and combustive gases to be more fully consumed, creating a cleaner, safer flue. The cost of liner can be expensive depending on your chimney’s size and condition.

The downside to this chimney liner is again cost. Installing the liner can be expensive, and if you have any bends in your chimney, the price is just going to go up. A professional will also need to determine if any existing chimney liners need to be removed before chimney relining. Also, as cracking develops, the process of relining is expensive and time-consuming.

What Do Chimney Liners Do?

Chimney liners usually serve three primary functions which include protecting you from accidental fires, preventing damage to the masonry, and giving the modern appliances a correct size flue.

Protects You from Accidental Fires

One of the most essential functions of a chimney liner is to prevent the risk of accidental fire. While chimneys are designed with material that won’t catch on fire, they sit right against the rest of your home. Support structures or combustible framing near the chimney can ignite if the heat from the chimney transfers over to them. Chimney liners limit the heat transfer, which can prevent these fire hazards from existing. Adjacent woodwork or other combustible material can catch fire in just a few hours when an active flame is sending heat through an unlined chimney. This is why it’s critical to have annual chimney inspections, among the other risks from a deteriorating or damaged chimney.

Preventing Damage to Your Masonry

While we tend to think of bricks as solid, it’s quite porous – especially when you factor in the mortar that keeps bricks together. When you have an active flame in your fireplace or stove, the combustion creates a variety of corrosive byproducts. Over time, this corrosion eats away at the mortar joints and allows for rapid heat transfer to nearby combustibles. If this happens, you will eventually experience dangerous problems, like carbon monoxide leaking into your living space. Chimney liners protect your masonry by adding a layer of defense. Depending on the type of liner you use, they can be far more resilient to these corrosive substances than typical brick and mortar.

Give Modern Appliances a Correctly-Sized Flue

Many modern fireplaces and stoves are designed with a specific flue size in mind. When replacing older fireplaces or installing new stoves into your home, chances are, your existing chimney or flue won’t be exact. Not only does this impact the function of the appliance, but it could lead to the same dangerous risks as having no liner at all. When you upgrade, make sure you talk to a professional about installing a metal chimney liner to go with it.

✅ Video – What Type of Chimney Liner Should You Use?

NorthlineExpress shared the video below on YouTube. It discusses what type of chimney liner you should use. In the video, the different types of chimney liners are also discussed. Watch the video for more tips and information.

Should a Chimney Liner be Insulated?

Insulating a chimney liner is a great idea. Not only may it be mandatory in your area (always check your local building codes), but insulating your liner has many benefits. Keeping your chimney liner warm with proper insulation will help enhance the draft ability. In addition, insulated liners will also help reduce condensation. Condensation can cause metal liners to deteriorate faster, and the liner may need to be drained. A warm chimney with less condensation will also help prevent the build-up of creosote and other corrosive materials.

When is Chimney Relining Needed?

There are several reasons a chimney may need to be relined. It could be because there is no liner, the chimney lining is defective, or the original clay tiles have deteriorated and no longer provide the needed protection to combustible parts of the home. Even a small crack in a liner creates the potential for a house fire.

What is the Average Lifespan of Chimney Liners?

The average lifespan of a chimney liner is 15 to 20 years. After two decades you will probably need to get the entire liner replaced to make sure it’s still up to code and not a serious fire risk. Though the general time frame is 15 to 20 years it’s important to note that there are factors that can shorten the lifespan or improve it. It does depend on the type of chimney liner.

Stainless steel flue liners have a much longer lifespan at about 15 to 20 years compared to clay tile liners and cast-in-place liners. Meanwhile, some of the cheapest chimney liners may need substantial repairs or a complete replacement in as little as five years. There are also factors on how well the chimney has been treated. If you just bought an old home with a traditional fireplace then there’s a fair chance it has been neglected. You have no idea when was the last time it was used or even inspected.

How Much Do Chimney Liners Cost?

If you’re looking to install a chimney flue liner for the first time, you might have to spend at least 2,500 dollars. If you’re interested in installing a liner of higher quality, though, this price can go up to 5000 dollars or even 7000 dollars. On the other hand, if you’re experienced with DIY solving problems around your home, and if you use cheaper materials such as aluminum, you might be able to get away with spending as low as 700 to 1000 dollars. However, we don’t recommend DIYing the installation of a chimney liner if you don’t have prior experience.


You have reached the end of this article that discusses what the different types of chimney liners are. Chimney liners are almost essential in keeping your chimney and heating system in proper health. They come in three main varieties; clay, cast-in-form, and metal. The price of liners will vary on the type and the condition of your chimney. Although each type of liner has its benefits, metal liners are the popular choice. Make sure to keep your liner properly maintained and cleaned. Thank you for reading!

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