The History of Chimney Liners

By Doug Hetsch

January 22, 2018

Chimney Liners

Today, building codes and standards mandate that all new chimneys constructed have liners. However, if you live in a historical home built before the 1940’s, your chimney may be unlined. Even if your chimney is lined, chimney liners suffer from damage over the years, and having a damaged liner can be almost as hazardous as not having a liner at all. For residents of the Louisville area, All American Chimney Service has been providing professional chimney relining services since 2006. We would like to tell you more about the history and importance of chimney liners.


As we mentioned, the chimneys in homes built before 1940 did not always have liners. Masonry chimneys at that time were parged with mortar to line the flue (known as cast-in-place liners), or a clay tile liner was included at the time of construction. However, some builders would take shortcuts and not do either of these to save money and time. In 1940, due to growing concerns about their safety and performance, the NBS began a series of tests of masonry chimneys. According to theChimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the NBS researchers stated that building a masonry chimney without a liner was a “little less than criminal” because of the fire hazards present. After these tests, building codes began mandating the inclusion of liners in the construction of chimneys. Metal chimney liners area popular option to line and reline chimneys.


The results of the NBS tests also pointed out how important liners are to the safety of chimneys. A chimney liner protects the combustible parts of your home that surround the fireplace and chimney from the extremely high temperatures present in the chimney during a fire. The NBS found that heat moved so quickly through an unlined chimney that adjacent woodwork caught on fire within three and a half hours. Chimney liners also keep the bricks and mortar joints of your chimney safe from damaging and corrosive combustion gases. Without a liner, the masonry materials can become cracked and crumbled from the exposure to these gases. If you have installed a new insert, you most likely will need a new stainless steel chimney liner. When a chimney is too large for the fireplace insert, it causes draft and other problems with the chimney.

Is it time to reline your chimney?Contact ustoday at All American Chimney Service to schedule an appointment for a professional chimney inspection and learn more about your chimney relining options.

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