Question: I am in the process of trying to purchase a high efficiency woodstove for my basement. The Chimney is a newer external chimney with a clay liner. I have been told that the Chimney should have 1" clearance to the building or else I have to install a stainless steel chimney liner. Is this requirement just gold digging or cause for real concern? I don't think I have ever seen chimney constructed with 1" clearance to combustibles, especially with the older houses like mine. (1910's). Answer: You are correct that it is rare to see a properly built chimney. Yes, it is correct that even a masonry chimney requires a clearance to combustibles....even though less than 5% of the chimneys out there are built this way (if even that many). I cannot put a seal of safety approval on it, but chances are that the installing store or even a township construction official may be able to inspect and OK it for you. In the end, safety is always a matter of degree, and economics do figure into the equation.