Chimney Liner Recommendation for Freestanding Wood Stove Install through Masonry Chimney

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Rusnakes

Member
Jan 24, 2013
136
SE Michigan
Greetings all--

We are helping my dad put in a new wood stove to his farm. He bought a Jotul F500 (Oslo) and is installing it right in front of a masonry/brick chimney on a hearth. We will be using the chimney to vent the stove; there is no damper in this chimney...it's basically a straight shot up to the chimney cap. And there is no flue liner...just brick and mortar all the way to the top.

We have a lot of experience with rigid pipe installation with wood stoves, but I am totally new to the use of flexible chimney liners. We will need about 27 feet of 6" liner, will have a T connector to the rear exit flue collar. We are having a new stainless steel chimney chase cover manufactured and will connect the liner to the chase and install a round chimney cap on top.

I've looked at all sorts of liners, but haven't come to any conclusions as to what is best. I have read that smooth wall liners are better, 316 is better than 304 steel. I have looked at preinsulated vs. doing the 1/2" insulation kit yourself. I've read some threads about certain liners being horribly thin (which leads to potential issues when sweeping), but not sure what would be a target thickness of metal (for sweeping, we use a Wohler Viper, so it's not nearly as rough on chimney pipe as rigid brush systems).

Any suggestions or recommendations? See any pitfalls above in what we have before us?
 

CODwarzone

New Member
Dec 31, 2020
12
Minnesota
Greetings all--

We are helping my dad put in a new wood stove to his farm. He bought a Jotul F500 (Oslo) and is installing it right in front of a masonry/brick chimney on a hearth. We will be using the chimney to vent the stove; there is no damper in this chimney...it's basically a straight shot up to the chimney cap. And there is no flue liner...just brick and mortar all the way to the top.

We have a lot of experience with rigid pipe installation with wood stoves, but I am totally new to the use of flexible chimney liners. We will need about 27 feet of 6" liner, will have a T connector to the rear exit flue collar. We are having a new stainless steel chimney chase cover manufactured and will connect the liner to the chase and install a round chimney cap on top.

I've looked at all sorts of liners, but haven't come to any conclusions as to what is best. I have read that smooth wall liners are better, 316 is better than 304 steel. I have looked at preinsulated vs. doing the 1/2" insulation kit yourself. I've read some threads about certain liners being horribly thin (which leads to potential issues when sweeping), but not sure what would be a target thickness of metal (for sweeping, we use a Wohler Viper, so it's not nearly as rough on chimney pipe as rigid brush systems).

Any suggestions or recommendations? See any pitfalls above in what we have before us?
Did you ever get a response to this question. I'm essentially looking for some guidance as well.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,791
South Puget Sound, WA
If you are only burning wood, 304 stainless is fine. If the chimney is large enough, applying a blanket insulation kit is easy and it affords more choices for the liner. That said, a quality preinsulated liner is fine. The main problem we have heard about liners is with the 2ply smoothwall liners. They can delaminate or pucker (fishmouth). A basic thinwall liner would be a better option if the budget is tight.
Here is a thread with some liner thickness discussion. There are many threads on this topic.

Good liners (and advice) can be found on Rockford's and Woodland Direct.
 

Rusnakes

Member
Jan 24, 2013
136
SE Michigan
Did you ever get a response to this question. I'm essentially looking for some guidance as well.

We ended up going with a 304L preinsulated kit from Woodland Direct. The quality of the product was really great. It is a midweight liner that was really tough to cut (we used a grinder with a cutoff wheel for most of it; a reciprocating saw worked, too, but it was messier. I highly advise practicing cutting the inner liner lower than your main cut, just to give yourself a chance to learn how the metal reacts). It had a nice insulation blanket around it and another outer metal layer that was much easier to cut by hand with aviator/tin snips. We got a pulling cone as well and it was totally worth the money! We pulled the liner up the chimney from down below and that thing was HEAVY...just be forewarned (ours was 25 feet long for reference)!

If you are planning to use the T connector with the kit (which is a nice heavy stainless product), you'll need some way to connect to the stove, since the T connector is straight pipe. You can either crimp it with a crimping tool (BeGreen suggested Malco snips--thank you for that suggestion, BeGreen...I just got back to internet access after being away for the last week and wanted to thank you for your comments on the other thread I posted) or buy a double male connector to make that connection to your stove. We opted for the double male connector (purchased one from Lowe's, since it was available and close by) and we will likely crimp the T connector snout in the spring after the burning season is over and make the final connection that way.

One thing we learned on our cut to connect to the T connector...the inner heavy duty chimney liner does compress up easily, so if you happen to cut it a bit too long, you can just shorten it up a bit if you push up.

Another thing I highly suggest if you use the pipe we had above--reinforced your chimney chase cover in some way because the weight is significant. The standard cap they sent flexed inward with the weight. We placed two heavy duty steel flat stock (we used maybe an inch wide by 1/4 in thick piece, give or take) under the cap to eliminate that deflection there. The liner manual suggests providing some additional support at the chase cover, but that's as far as they go in the document.

The chimney blocking plate examples on this group (in the wiki section) were excellent models to use, btw. My brother has metal bending equipment and fashioned up a plate for us easily to use. We purchased 24x36" 22 gauge sheet metal from Lowe's for that. Once a hole was in the middle for the pipe, it wasn't too difficult to cut. We cut it about 1/2" wider than the interior liner diameter and it worked out great. We also cut the outer metal layer after it was installed in the chimney, just above where we wanted to put the chimney blocking plate. It is light enough gauge that it is not tough to do in tight spaces with aviator snips.

Oh, and order up the high temperature caulk for your sealing needs when you order your chimney liner. We also used high temperature furnace cement to insure the connections at the bottom were snug and promoted good draft.

Rockford also makes a really nice chimney chase cover if the standard one sent in the kit from Woodland Direct doesn't work for your needs. Their ordering system online is easy to understand and guides you through decisions easily. Took about 2 weeks to get in. They were very efficient with their process and were very helpful on the phone when I called to just check out a couple of questions I had. Their liners are just thinner and we opted for the Olympia Hybrid Flex preinsulated from Woodland Direct in the end.
 
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Rusnakes

Member
Jan 24, 2013
136
SE Michigan
I meant to share the link to the one we used from Woodland Direct: 304L Hybrid Flex Liner It cost $1033 plus tax (free shipping). The cost for this liner, preinsulated and a heavier gauge, was not much more than the lightweight liner plus an insulation kit from other companies. We researched all of our options and found this was the heaviest gauge metal we could find that was reasonably priced, quick for a shipment, direct-to-consumer online shopping, and mitigated many of the issues with the double layer liners that are lighter weight metal that has been discussed in many of the posts on this forum.

Also wanted to mention that Woodland got us the liner REALLY quickly (just 4 or so days), but their system of notification was totally jacked up. It was clearly drop shipped from Olympia (arrived in the driveway on a pallet without any notice), but Woodland's system said it was still being processed long after it had arrived at my dad's house. So, their online tracking system isn't the best, but the shipping was lightning fast.
 
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CODwarzone

New Member
Dec 31, 2020
12
Minnesota
I meant to share the link to the one we used from Woodland Direct: 304L Hybrid Flex Liner It cost $1033 plus tax (free shipping). The cost for this liner, preinsulated and a heavier gauge, was not much more than the lightweight liner plus an insulation kit from other companies. We researched all of our options and found this was the heaviest gauge metal we could find that was reasonably priced, quick for a shipment, direct-to-consumer online shopping, and mitigated many of the issues with the double layer liners that are lighter weight metal that has been discussed in many of the posts on this forum.

Also wanted to mention that Woodland got us the liner REALLY quickly (just 4 or so days), but their system of notification was totally jacked up. It was clearly drop shipped from Olympia (arrived in the driveway on a pallet without any notice), but Woodland's system said it was still being processed long after it had arrived at my dad's house. So, their online tracking system isn't the best, but the shipping was lightning fast.
OMG your response is going to be worth its weight in gold for me. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your attention to detail. I'm going to look into everything you listed on here so that I can be as prepared as possible. This community has been a godsend!
 

Rusnakes

Member
Jan 24, 2013
136
SE Michigan
Reach out if you have questions. We were total newbs for a chimney liner system (we have regular stove pipe installations at our home which we understand well; this was a totally different beast for us) and the information on liners available online is not as clear as it seems for those not in the field. The manufacturers are also pretty loathe to note key aspects of the liners' construction, leaning more on vague descriptions or industry jargon (most importantly thickness in a lot of cases) so it took quite a bit of digging around to understand who was creating what and what the differences in liner types, metals, systems, etc. were.

I do suggest having as many hands available to help get the liner in place as possible. One trick we devised for our needs to work on the top of the assembly after the liner was in place was to affix a hose clamp with metal staples to two 2x4 boards that can span the width of the chimney top. An 8" hose clamp would work best (we used a 6" and it was really tight to squeak the pulling cone through since the pulling cone is about 6.5", give or take, in diameter).

So, imagine pulling the pipe up through the top of the chimney. You have the pulling cone on, but no ability to hold the chimney liner while you remove the pulling cone and install the chimney chase cover. So, we pulled the liner up through the chimney and through this wood/clamp assembly. We tightened the clamp under the pulling cone on the 6" interior pipe. From there we could easily have the liner held in place for us as we installed the rest of the chimney top assembly. Once the chase cover was on, we reached under the chase cover and loosened the hose clamp until it open up fully, then slipped it out. We could then install the extra structural support under the chase cover and caulk it up everywhere. I'm sure professionals in the field have methods for levitating the pipe at the top, but this was a cheap and easy solution for us. Just make sure you have enough distances between the 2x4s to reach the nut on the clamp to loosen/tighten easily (having the 2x4s touching on the back side and more open on the front vs. parallel to each other worked best for us).

Another suggestion for cutting the pipe at the bottom--use blue painter's tape to make a nice level line to cut around the pipe. Without a straight line to cut along, it's hard to cut flat when the pipe metal spirals upward.

Oh, another helpful tidbit...at least for our situation, using a multiposition ladder that was held in place with a ratchet strap on the short side of the chimney was SUPER helpful (some tool rental places rent them out; my dad happened to have one on site). It was very strong and stable and made it easy to work on a 9/12 pitch roof without too many concerns. You could basically walk up to the top of the chimney with no issues...like walking up steps. We also had a second person at the peak of the house helping pull/brace the rope attached to the pulling cone when we pulled the pipe up (plus two people inside guiding and pushing the pipe from below).

Good luck with it! We are really pleased with the quality of the liner and components that were sent!
 
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CODwarzone

New Member
Dec 31, 2020
12
Minnesota
OMG your response is going to be worth its weight in gold for me. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your attention to detail. I'm going to look into everything you listed on here so that I can be as prepared as possible. This community has been a godsend!

I love the information you're sharing. I took your advice earlier and went onto woodland Direct to see how much it would cost to get the liner you recommended. I am not ready to "pull the trigger" yet only because I'm trying to see where I will be purchasing my unit from. I have a local place in my city that sells the Pacific Energy Neo 2.5 that I think I'll buy. However, do you have a recommendation on where I should purchase it from. I'm not as driven by location as I am by price. For instance, if I can save a few bucks I will happily purchase online (even if it takes longer).

After I went onto Woodland Direct, I set up an account. I must have left the liner in the shopping cart because I received a phone call from them asking if I had any questions. Normally I would be annoyed, but in this particular case I was happy he called because I was able to pick his brain. So whenever I purchase the insert I'll complete the purchase with WD and hopefully get them all here about the same time. Unfortunately getting someone to help is going to be difficult during COVID. The only person that has been in and out of my house the past several months has been my father in law. Unfortunately, while he will be of great help in the home, I'm probably going to be the only person on my roof.
 

Rusnakes

Member
Jan 24, 2013
136
SE Michigan
For the Pacific Energy Neo--I don't have any experience with the brand to know where they sell and for how much (my experience has been with Jotuls and Kitchen Queens personally). I'd definitely recommend searching the forums for that model to see if there is any info to glean there or posting on it and asking for some suggestions. We were able to get one of our Jotuls for a steal from a local dealer (they had a sale, Jotul was running a sale on top of that, and we had a tax credit for it, too). Normally I'd tend to shop nationally and get something shipped in. Finding the right stove for your needs is tough to do...there are tons of choices out there and each stove has its own positives and negatives (some more negatives than others).

For the install...I'd try to get at least one more buddy to help you out, if you are able and are interested in putting in the one I linked above from Woodland Direct. You could probably manage it with two people (one pushing/directing from below and one on the roof), but at some point, you'll need two people on the roof to pull it up safely (well, your chimney configuration might be different than ours, so maybe you could get some relative benefit from your damper assembly, for instance. This chimney did not have a damper in it, so it was basically a freefall from top to bottom if it let loose from above.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
25,667
central pa
For the Pacific Energy Neo--I don't have any experience with the brand to know where they sell and for how much (my experience has been with Jotuls and Kitchen Queens personally). I'd definitely recommend searching the forums for that model to see if there is any info to glean there or posting on it and asking for some suggestions. We were able to get one of our Jotuls for a steal from a local dealer (they had a sale, Jotul was running a sale on top of that, and we had a tax credit for it, too). Normally I'd tend to shop nationally and get something shipped in. Finding the right stove for your needs is tough to do...there are tons of choices out there and each stove has its own positives and negatives (some more negatives than others).

For the install...I'd try to get at least one more buddy to help you out, if you are able and are interested in putting in the one I linked above from Woodland Direct. You could probably manage it with two people (one pushing/directing from below and one on the roof), but at some point, you'll need two people on the roof to pull it up safely (well, your chimney configuration might be different than ours, so maybe you could get some relative benefit from your damper assembly, for instance. This chimney did not have a damper in it, so it was basically a freefall from top to bottom if it let loose from above.
Why pull it up working against gravity. I very rarely do that. Easily 95% of the liners I install get dropped from the top
 

Rusnakes

Member
Jan 24, 2013
136
SE Michigan
The preinsulated Hybrid Flex was impossibly heavy and awkward for taking out on the roof. I could easily see doing the lightweight liners from the top with just the insulation and mesh combo. I saw they weigh about a pound per lineal foot. The liner we used took 3 adults to comfortably carry (partly because it was awkward, but also due to the weight).
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
25,667
central pa
The preinsulated Hybrid Flex was impossibly heavy and awkward for taking out on the roof. I could easily see doing the lightweight liners from the top with just the insulation and mesh combo. I saw they weigh about a pound per lineal foot. The liner we used took 3 adults to comfortably carry (partly because it was awkward, but also due to the weight).
I do it with preinsulated or site insulated heavy wall all the time. Hybrid is a treat to work with.
 

Rusnakes

Member
Jan 24, 2013
136
SE Michigan
You obviously have some skills that we lacked for sure! It would have been dangerous for our crew up there with the weight and pitch of the roof, so pulling up afforded greater ability for control for us and less risk of damage to the roof and exterior of the liner. It was a fabulous product though. We really enjoyed working with it; it is a very well-built product.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
25,667
central pa
You obviously have some skills that we lacked for sure! It would have been dangerous for our crew up there with the weight and pitch of the roof, so pulling up afforded greater ability for control for us and less risk of damage to the roof and exterior of the liner. It was a fabulous product though. We really enjoyed working with it; it is a very well-built product.
Yeah olympia makes a great product. We recently moved away from their stuff but not because of quality
 

Rusnakes

Member
Jan 24, 2013
136
SE Michigan
We couldn't get over how sturdy the inner liner was. I was really afraid of what we might get reading the discussions on the forum with the lightweight liners, but it was really worth the slight increase in overall price to get the hybrid liner.
 

CODwarzone

New Member
Dec 31, 2020
12
Minnesota
Why pull it up working against gravity. I very rarely do that. Easily 95% of the liners I install get dropped from the top
Hey Bholler, He said in an earlier post that the liner was extremely heavy and awkward to hold on top of a roof (safely). So he decided it would be safer to pull it from the top with someone inside feeding it upward.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
25,667
central pa
Hey Bholler, He said in an earlier post that the liner was extremely heavy and awkward to hold on top of a roof (safely). So he decided it would be safer to pull it from the top with someone inside feeding it upward.
I generally find it much safer for the customers house and much easier to drop from the top. But there certainly are cases where we pull up from the bottom. But I guess there also is a level of comfort you develop handling liners after a few hundred installs
 
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Hoytman

Feeling the Heat
Jan 6, 2020
356
Ohio
We couldn't get over how sturdy the inner liner was. I was really afraid of what we might get reading the discussions on the forum with the lightweight liners, but it was really worth the slight increase in overall price to get the hybrid liner.
How do you like your kq380?
 

frecklesphd

New Member
Feb 15, 2021
7
CO
If you are only burning wood, 304 stainless is fine. If the chimney is large enough, applying a blanket insulation kit is easy and it affords more choices for the liner. That said, a quality preinsulated liner is fine. The main problem we have heard about liners is with the 2ply smoothwall liners. They can delaminate or pucker (fishmouth). A basic thinwall liner would be a better option if the budget is tight.
Here is a thread with some liner thickness discussion. There are many threads on this topic.

My local fireplace/stove shop sales person insists that liners don't need to be wrapped or insulated (Seattle area) for the wood burning insert I've picked out (Lopi Large Flush). Instead of arguing with her, should I spend the extra money to get the pre-insulated one? This is for a two story home built in 1975, exterior fireplace. She says they use the ICC Brand liners.
 

Rusnakes

Member
Jan 24, 2013
136
SE Michigan
How do you like your kq380?
Hoytman, sorry for the delay in writing. I didn't realize you had posted on this thread until another post was added. Our KQ380 is a great stove. It performs as expected and provides us with all of the cooking space and hot water we want. The only downside to the stove is the lack of secondary burn technology. It means it is quite a bit dirtier as a stove than you standard stove with secondaries nowadays. The Grand Comfort offers secondary burns, but I have not used that one to know if it is as good as our KQ380 is. HTH!
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,791
South Puget Sound, WA
My local fireplace/stove shop sales person insists that liners don't need to be wrapped or insulated (Seattle area) for the wood burning insert I've picked out (Lopi Large Flush). Instead of arguing with her, should I spend the extra money to get the pre-insulated one? This is for a two story home built in 1975, exterior fireplace. She says they use the ICC Brand liners.
If the chimney has a 1" gap from the side of the house all the way up, then it could be ok, but that would also depend on the ID of the chimney. Ask her to look up the code.
 
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BCC_Burner

Feeling the Heat
Sep 10, 2013
451
Uptown Marble, CO
My local fireplace/stove shop sales person insists that liners don't need to be wrapped or insulated (Seattle area) for the wood burning insert I've picked out (Lopi Large Flush). Instead of arguing with her, should I spend the extra money to get the pre-insulated one? This is for a two story home built in 1975, exterior fireplace. She says they use the ICC Brand liners.

Sounds par for the course out there. I was a building inspector outside Seattle for several years, and I can count on one hand the number of wood stoves or inserts I saw that were installed properly. My experiences across 4 states have shown me that the majority of stove/fireplace shop owners neither know or care about how to do things safely. They just want your check for the stove to clear so they can make another boat payment.
 
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gthomas785

Minister of Fire
Feb 8, 2020
504
Central MA
I recommend getting a heavy smooth wall liner, yes it is a bit more awkward to install but cleaning is much easier than the lightweight corrugated ones and it feels very durable. Avoid "2-ply" at all costs.

I also highly recommend insulating the liner. It is required by code in most situations, not that the inspector will call you on it or even check for insulation. The insulation will improve draft, reduce creosote formation, and protect your house in the event of a chimney fire.
 
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Shrewboy

New Member
Oct 15, 2020
71
Eastern Pennsylvania
OMG your response is going to be worth its weight in gold for me. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your attention to detail. I'm going to look into everything you listed on here so that I can be as prepared as possible. This community has been a godsend!
I couldn't agree more, I gained so much knowledge from this forum that I was able to completely install my own woodstove DIY