How Much Does a Chimney Liner Cost?
$625 - $7,000
$625 - $7,000
Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.
Updated September 8, 2022Written by HomeAdvisor.
For the average homeowner, installing a chimney liner costs about $2,500. For more expensive materials, prices tend to average at $5,000 and could climb to $7,000. With an easy-to-install material like aluminum, the DIY cost of materials and equipment could be as low as $625.
These products protect brick and masonry chimneys from decay and creosote buildup. They run the length of your flue and provide a ventilation passageway for your fireplace or wood stove. If your chimney is more than a few decades old, you may not have one and should consider putting one in. If you do have a liner but worry it’s in poor condition, hire a pro to do a chimney inspection to reveal the work needed to repair.
Several options for flue liner material exist, ranging from flexible aluminum to high-end rigid, cast-in-place and thermocrete models. However, your chimney type and shape may limit your choice. For example, rigid materials cannot be used on a curved or angled chimney, as the material simply won't follow the shape of the chimney.
Take a look at the typical costs of chimney liners by material.
|Cost Range per Foot
|Average Cost per Foot
|$6 – $15
|$5 – $30
|$20 – $90
|$25 – $250
|$50 – $200
Terra-cotta liners are an average of $10 per foot, or $6 to $15, but it's a labor- and time-intensive installation, so it imparts higher labor costs.
The material is an effective choice because it does not conduct heat or corrode. The liner is constructed with rectangular clay tiles stacked inside your chimney. The most common issue with these is that they crack under extreme heat conditions. If you currently have a clay liner and are replacing it due to excessive cracking, you may want to consider another liner material.
You may see tiles listed as either terra-cotta or ceramic; each relates to clay in that they are the fired result of raw clay. Terra-cotta often refers to the red of clay materials.
Aluminum is a less expensive metal option, with most people paying around $17 per foot, and a full range of $5 to $30 per foot. It's available as a flexible model, at $5 to $20, or as a rigid flue liner, at $15 to $30 per foot
Consult a professional before you choose aluminum. It works only for gas fireplaces and at low temperatures. Otherwise, it’s highly susceptible to corrosion. The material is lightweight and easy to work with, so installation of the kit is relatively simple and won't require as much labor as other types.
Stainless steel chimney liners cost an average of $55 per foot, or between $20 and $90. Including labor, expect to pay around $100 per foot. Steel is the most popular and most recommended by chimney professionals. The products come in both rigid and flexible forms. It is durable, has a superb fire safety rating, and can last for decades. The rigid liner costs $20 to $40 per foot, while the flexible form costs $40 to $90 per foot.
Thermocrete, or ceramic, costs around $125 per foot, or between $50 and $200 per foot. It uses a layer of ceramic that acts like a sealant. Thermocrete is extremely durable and fills in cracks and crevices along the flue. The material can be quickly installed and safe for gas and wood fireplaces. It is also useful for chimney repairs.
Also called poured-in-place, cast-in-place liners cost $137 per foot, on average, and you can pay anywhere from $25 to $250 per foot, before installation. Pros install them by pouring a cement-like mixture down the chimney around a rubber tub. The mixture is left to harden before removing the tube. As a result, the chimney has greater reinforcement and excellent protection against heat and corrosion.
Cast-in-place is the most expensive method because it involves a lot of material, requires heavy-duty equipment, and can demand excess labor. Materials alone could cost $5,000 to $7,000, and some homeowners report costs as much as four times that of any other kind. The best way to get an accurate price is to request an inspection and quote from a trusted local chimney expert.
Aside from the liner materials and the labor costs, other factors—including inspections and permits—can increase your project total.
Before you have your liner replaced or installed, your contractor may suggest that you get your chimney cleaned for an average of $125 to $250. This will provide a clean slate, so the new product can do its job and protect the masonry. An inspection is also a great way to determine which material you need.
Your city or area may require a safety inspection before working on your chimney. Your local chimney expert is a great resource when researching this. Expect to pay $50 to $200.
The average liner will be around 24 by 25 feet tall, and your costs will increase if you are lining a tall or very wide flue. Cast-in-place methods demand a significant amount of mix and will likely have the highest material cost. Adding insulation to a metal flue liner will add up to and over $300. The total material cost will fall between $10 and $250 per foot.
Working with a chimney takes a lot of skill and care. As a result, labor costs average $400 to $1,250 and often outweigh other factors. Expect it to take two to three skilled professionals. The amount of time spent on the project will increase with any difficulties encountered and the need for pre-install repairs. Consider this when choosing between stainless steel, clay tile, and cast-in-place.
While materials, labor, inspection, and permits are the key components of pricing a chimney liner installation, secondary considerations also affect your price.
The higher the roof and the steeper the pitch, the more difficult and dangerous the job, so the more you'll pay in labor. The higher costs are for the extra time and safety precautions necessary to work at excess height and steep pitches. Additionally, there'll be the cost of machinery like a mechanical lift to help the pros safely access the roof.
Chimney repair costs between $160 and $750, depending on what's wrong. For example, repairing the chimney crown can cost as little as $150, while fixing a leaning chimney can cost $3,000 or more. You may get a better price if you're repairing the chimney at the same time as replacing the liner.
The size and shape of the flue impact price because they determine the types of liners that are appropriate to use. For example, if you have a bend or curve in the chimney, you need a flexible liner that can accommodate the angle. Rigid liners, even though they're installed in 4-foot sections, cannot be installed where there's a bend or curve.
Replacing or relining a chimney costs between $2,500 and $5,000. A key factor in that cost is whether you need to remove the original liner. Many old chimneys are lined with clay and cracked throughout. If you're going to reline with clay, you will need to remove the old tiles. This will demand more labor and a bit of demolition.
If you choose pour-in-place or install a stainless-steel liner, your contractor will likely suggest leaving those tiles. The poured mix will fill in the gaps in cast-in-place methods. You will save on labor, but you'll pay more for materials. As for replacing with metal, your insulation and new liner will cover the tiles. It's important to make this decision with a professional's help to ensure your chimney's safety and stability.
Consider that your inspector could find damage to the chimney in the process. This damage will likely need to be repaired. Fireplace and chimney repairs cost most homeowners between $150 and $750.
A full resurfacing could cost $2,500 to $3,500 with one product and $5,000 with another. However, how much you spend varies quite a bit. At this price point, you may consider the cost to reline instead.
Chimney liners can crack, especially at their mortar joints. A professional can help you determine whether repairs are sufficient to fix these issues or if a replacement is necessary. The safety of repair methods is heavily debated among experts, and you shouldn't diagnose or perform repairs on your own.
The following are a few common repair options:
Thermocrete to seal cracks and holes
Heatshield "Cerfractory" to fully resurface and seal cracks
Joint repair systems to strengthen compromised mortar joints
Clay tile replacement as needed, though the process may require opening the chimney wall
Mortar to fill in multiple cracks in clay tile
A cast-in-place system installed over broken clay tile to correct structural damage
A warning about repair scams: Unfortunately, scammers have taken advantage of many homeowners. Supposed experts perform inspections and determine that a complete relining is needed for thousands of dollars when there is, in fact, zero damage. On top of that, scammers often exaggerate the non-issue’s dangers to panic homeowners into paying for big-ticket improvements. If you're not sure about a quote, get a second opinion. Consult several ratings and reviews before you hire a chimney professional.
One of the key benefits of a chimney liner is its ability to prevent heat from escaping through cracked mortar and causing a fire in the attic. Another fire-preventing benefit is a liner's ability to help prevent soot and creosote buildup, both of which are highly flammable. Liners also limit moisture and condensation buildup, so it can't seep into the mortar and cause cracks when it freezes and expands.
Whether you insulate the liner or not, chimney liners boost efficiency. Flue liners stop cold downdrafts making your home unnecessarily cold, and draw air efficiently enough to improve the fire's fuel-burning efficiency.
Some methods of lining your chimney can be DIYed, though industry professionals warn against doing any chimney work on your own. There are significant safety concerns and many opportunities to get installation wrong.
If you feel qualified, you can purchase kits that include everything you need, aside from basics like ladders and safety gear.
Aluminum kit: $100–$300.
Stainless steel kit: $400–$600.
Insulation: $200–$300. Must be purchased separately.
It’s important to have your chimney inspected before you make any decisions. Getting a Level 2 inspection can help determine what kind of damage you already have, which liner will work best, and costs between $200 and $1000, while a chimney sweep costs around $200. In this inspection, your contractor sends a camera through your flue and records a video you can review together. You may need more repairs or a more durable material than you thought.
Anything other than these all-inclusive kits should be done by a professional. Cast-in-place mixes and clay tile require specialized equipment and training to handle. Even stainless-steel liners can be more complicated than you anticipate. This is an important investment that can lengthen the life of your chimney and improve your heating efficiency. Installed improperly, they will not reach their full potential and could even be hazardous.
Stainless steel is the most popular choice and has a great approval rating from individuals in the industry. However, clay and cast-in-place methods can last up to 50 years and are excellent at retaining heat. It’s best to get an inspection by a qualified contractor before you make your selection. Your contractor may find a significant amount of structural damage which can be remedied and restored via the cast-in-place method.
Fireplace liners are very different from chimney liners, which is important to know when hiring a contractor or ordering your kit. Fireplace liners are decorative panels that fit along the back walls of gas fireplaces. They are designed to look like real masonry, wood-burning fireplaces. They are primarily decorative, although you can find some insulated ones that help make the fireplace more efficient.
In general, metal liners last up to 20 years, while ceramic and clay liners can last 50 years or more. You'll know your liner needs repairing after an annual chimney inspection, or when the chimney walls start to deteriorate faster than normal, and you see cracking, crumbling, or you notice your fireplace becoming less efficient with no other obvious cause.
Most chimney liners take up to four hours to install. However, a difficult roof pitch or height can increase the time to eight hours. A cast-in-place or ceramic liner can also take eight hours to install. Although no specialist knowledge is necessary for metal installations, cast-in-place and clay liners require more skill. Plus, the job involves working at height and will probably take you at least three times longer than a professional, so it's best to save money elsewhere and let the pros handle this one.
Yes, you need a chimney liner, not only because it boosts fuel efficiency but because it's a major player in fire prevention. Chimney liners keep heat inside the chimney and away from heat-sensitive combustibles, like the insulation or boxes of old papers in your attic. Additionally, chimney liners keep gases, heat, and other noxious substances away from the bricks and mortar of the chimney, giving it a longer lifespan.