All you need to know about chimney lining, including the installation, costs, equipment, labour and time frames.
Wood burning stoves are becoming very popular in the UK and many homeowners are investigating whether they can use their existing traditional chimneys for modern solid fuel stoves. But there are a number of reasons why an older chimney may need lining. Sometimes the existing flue is simply far too large for modern appliances, but the main reason is that man old chimneys will fail the smoke test which means that the flue is leaking smoke and fumes into the building. In the vast majority of cases, if you want a modern, efficient wood burning stove, you will require a class 1 flue liner which is either stainless steel, thermocrete or rigid pumice. Flexible 316 grade stainless steel liners are the most popular of lining an existing chimney as they are the most cost-effective and the work can usually be carried out in one day or less with little upheaval or mess. A stainless steel liner installed correctly will last many years and they are often guaranteed for 10 years or more. Gas stoves only require Class 2 Flue Liners which are much cheaper and lighter, yet still, meet safety regulations.
Before fitting a liner, chimney sweeping is required for all chimneys, to keep the mess to a minimum and check the flue is clear of blockages. Installing a new chimney liner against a dirty chimney can cause a chimney fire. Having your chimney swept prior to installing the liner is usually a condition of any guarantees offered. Chimneys age and deteriorate just like everything else and they can eventually begin to leak dangerous smoke and Carbon Monoxide gas. To ensure Chimneys are safe they should be regularly checked as a faulty chimney can be extremely dangerous. Experienced chimney engineers can carry out smoke integrity tests to identify any potentially dangerous problems. Should you see or smell smoke from your chimney then you need to get it checked immediately, but remember that the biggest dangers cannot be detected by sight or smell (Carbon Monoxide) so it is vital that your chimney is checked frequently by someone that knows what they are doing.
This is definitely not a job for the average DIY enthusiast, as the relining or installation of flues and chimneys is controlled under the Building Regulations, so requires the house owner to submit an application to Building Control before work commences, or to employ the services of a person in a recognised scheme such as Hetas who can self certify their work. Don't imagine you could simply just do the work yourself and then pay a Hetas engineer to certify it for you, this is against the regulations. But if you are dead-set on doing this job on your own, then sliding the liner in from the top is the easiest method of installing a chimney liner. But remember that you must sweep the chimney first as loose soot is still a fire hazard even with a new liner, plus if the chimney is not swept then fitting the chimney liner will produce lots of soot and dust. In addition, if there are multiple chimney pots then sweeping will also tell you which pot belongs to your fireplace. To avoid scaffolding or wearing a climbing harness, hiring a cherry picker is usually the easiest way to access the chimney pot. You then drop a rope down the chimney and feed the liner down whilst your assistant pulls it down from inside with the rope. Expect to pay around £200 for a cherry picker hire for one day, with each subsequent day costing around £100. If you cannot reach the chimney pot using a cherry picker then scaffolding is the only other safe option (though professionals will sometimes use ladders and cat ladders with a professional harness and the associated safety equipment).
If you cannot get the liner to fit down the chimney and cannot break through the wall to make room, then you may need to look at having the chimney concrete lined instead of using a stainless steel liner.
The materials involved in lining a chimney will be fairly standard - 6m of liner can be between £150 to £250 depending on the quality/brand/other details. In most cases, many will not require more than one or two sets (6 to 12m) of lining, but depending on the chimney this caan vary accordingly - more lining required increasing the cost each time.
In most cases, a tradesperson will be able to complete the sweeping and install the lining within one day. In some cases this may require longer, but will usually be due to the circumstances of a specific property, which could increase the cost accordingly.
It is best to have a quotation from the tradesperson ahead of beginning any work, to ensure that the costs are understood, before the tradesperson begins work. Particularly when the possibility of requiring additional lining could increase the cost considerably. Additionally, if there is a requirement for an additional tradesperson to assist, this can increase the labour costs accordingly. On average, a tradesperson's daily rate would be between £100-£250.
Below are some estimated costs of lining a chimney.
|Job Description||Avg. Cost||Duration|
|Sweep and Line Chimney Breast||£800||1 Day or less|
|Above - plus Register Plate and Enamel Stove Pipe||£1000||1-2 Days|
The typical costs of a chimney lining and sweep - Total Cost: £1000