Chimney Repair or Reline?

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thehiggy

New Member
Nov 15, 2021
9
New York
I've searched everywhere on the web and found a lot of information (and opinions) but this site seems to be the most well informed.
I've tried to piece together information from here or there, but I really think I need to layout the entire situation to make sure all the pieces are accounted for.

INFORMATION
  • Moved into this 1972-built house in Western NY in early 2017; five previous owners, think the ones here before us didn't take great care of anything
  • Enjoy having fires through fall-spring, usually average 1-2 a week (am sure to use dried seasoned hardwood)
  • Had two "normal" sweeps done in Fall 2018 and Fall 2019
  • In February 2021 I had a level 2 inspection done (in addition to sweep); the technician's report is attached but said to have found staged 3 creosote, missing flute mortar joints, bad spalling on firebox
SPECIFIC DIMENSIONS
The technician's report has some measurements listed, but here is a list of my own measurements:
  • Chimney:
    • Crown Length 42.5"
    • Crown Width 21"
    • Crown Height approx 2.5"
    • Chimney Offset Center on Crown
    • Collar Height 6.25"
    • Flute Exterior 12.75" x 12.75"
    • Flute Interior 11.125" x 11.125"
    • Chimney Height approx 22'
  • Fireplace:
    • Opening Height 26.5"
    • Opening Width 34"
    • Rear Width 29"
    • Depth: 24.5"
    • Hearth to Mantle 42.5"
    • Hearth Depth: 14"
PROFESSIONAL OPTIONS
At first I didn't really know what options I had, so I obtained quotes for all sorts of repair or replacement work - I've opted not to include quotes I got for wood burning and gas inserts.
I think I would prefer to keep an open wood burning fireplace - I know its not efficient but I love the ambiance and I'm not concerned on heating (though I should note that the idea of a wood-burning insert that is usable with the door open was intriguing....though from what I gather those don't really exist anymore)
  • Contractor 1: PCR Creosote Clean $2,430
    • I'll note that contractor 1 is the people that did the initial level 2 inspection that I attached; they are a relatively new business, and seem to be doing a lot of advertising/branding - that money has to come from somewhere, and I think it shows as their quotes for everything seem to be the highest of all the quotes I've obtained
    • I understand how the process works, but seems very steep to me considering a 25lb tub cost $300
  • Contractor 1: PCR Clean / HeatShield Masonry Repair $8,200
    • Including smoke chamber parging, top closing damper, crown repair
  • Contractor 1: PCR Clean / Stainless Steel Liner $10,145
    • Including smoke chamber parging, top closing damper, 10" insulated stainless steel liner, top/bottom plate, rain cap
  • Contractor 2: PCR Creosote Clean $1,200
  • Contractor 2: PCR Clean / HeatShield Masonry Repair $7,675
    • Including smoke chamber parging, top closing damper, crown repair
  • Contractor 2: Tile Removal / Stainless Steel Liner $6,700
    • Break up all existing flute tiles and remove
    • Including smoke chamber parging, top closing damper, 10" insulated stainless steel liner, top/bottom plate, rain cap
  • Contractor 3: Chain Clean / HeatShield Masonry Repair $3,770
    • Including smoke chamber parging, crown repair
    • This is a small company / older gent, but seems to be regarded as the most trustworthy of all the companies around
    • Not sure if the rotary chains will be sufficient
DIY OPTIONS
I am a fairly handy person, and I'm definitely not afraid of tackling large projects - however anything that involves fire safety I'd definitely rather err on the side of caution.
I think the only thing that I would not be able to do myself would be the cleaning/removal of the creosote - I don't think any self-burning solutions are going to remove the level/stage of creosote that I have now, so I think I'd have to at least pay $1,200-$1,300 for a PCR cleaning.
After that I think I could manage to install a stainless steel liner myself.
From what I've gathered online, I would want to do a smooth wall (better) 304L grade liner (believe 10"x10" to fit into my 11"x11" interior with the insulation), which I'm gathering should be approx $1,200 (rigid)-$2,400 (flex Rockford) - that'd definitely save me a good deal of money, but I guess only if I can do it correctly.

BIG QUESTIONS
  • Is HeatShield trust worthy? I hear super mixed reviews about its longevity, and all the repair quotes I've gotten use it - I don't want to save $1k doing HeatShield instead of stainless steel now only to have to replace it in ten years
  • How bad does the creosote look? I know theres no universal answer, but the first contractor said he wouldn't use it one bit until repaired or it would light up, the last contractor told me he'd seen this level used for a decade without any issue. I just don't get how bad of creosote this might be
  • Aside from the PCR cleaning, is installing a stainless steel liner as straight-forward as it seems? I've watching a few guides online, and aside from making sure you have the correct materials, it doesn't look to be that technically difficult

Thank you very much for taking the time to read through my situation and providing any insight you can - please let me know if there are any questions at all.
 

Attachments

  • Fireplace Pictures_Redacted.pdf
    4.5 MB · Views: 80

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
27,039
central pa
Is HeatShield trust worthy? I hear super mixed reviews about its longevity, and all the repair quotes I've gotten use it - I don't want to save $1k doing HeatShield instead of stainless steel now only to have to replace it in ten years
No it isn't.



How bad does the creosote look? I know theres no universal answer, but the first contractor said he wouldn't use it one bit until repaired or it would light up, the last contractor told me he'd seen this level used for a decade without any issue. I just don't get how bad of creosote this might be
It really doesn't look to bad I would chain clean it.


  • Aside from the PCR cleaning, is installing a stainless steel liner as straight-forward as it seems? I've watching a few guides online, and aside from making sure you have the correct materials, it doesn't look to be that technically difficult
For an open fireplace no it isn't. You need an 11" liner which means removing tiles. Then you need to tie it in at the bottom and parge the smoke chamber.
 

thehiggy

New Member
Nov 15, 2021
9
New York
No it isn't.




It really doesn't look to bad I would chain clean it.



For an open fireplace no it isn't. You need an 11" liner which means removing tiles. Then you need to tie it in at the bottom and parge the smoke chamber.
Thanks for your reply!

So you're saying that in order to fit a 11" liner with insulation (wrap?), I'd need to remove the existing tiles?
Are you aware if I could do a smaller size liner/insulation within the existing 11" x 11" (so not having to remove tiles)?
 

armanidog

Feeling the Heat
Jan 8, 2017
386
Northeast Georgia
You could install one of these and have a six inch insulated SS flu, which would be around 7.5 inches in diameter with the insulation. Not even worry about the chimney and parging the fireplace. It has fans to blow warm air around. Edit: Also you can get a tax rebate with a new stove above 75% efficiency. .
 

Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,616
Southeast CT
You could install one of these and have a six inch insulated SS flu, which would be around 7.5 inches in diameter with the insulation. Not even worry about the chimney and parging the fireplace. It has fans to blow warm air around. Edit: Also you can get a tax rebate with a new stove above 75% efficiency. .
You’d have to clean existing chimney though prior to install.
 

thehiggy

New Member
Nov 15, 2021
9
New York
@armanidog thanks for the link - i did check out wood burning inserts, but i'm hoping to keep it wood burning if possible as i like the ambiance and am not worried about heating costs (but if someone happens to know of an available-in-usa wood burning insert that can be used with door open, i'm all in)
 

Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,616
Southeast CT
Cleaning the chimney is not that expensive compared to the other costs required to use the chimney according to the report he attached. .
Right, I just didn’t want you to miss that step, as some might have.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
27,039
central pa
Thanks for your reply!

So you're saying that in order to fit a 11" liner with insulation (wrap?), I'd need to remove the existing tiles?
Are you aware if I could do a smaller size liner/insulation within the existing 11" x 11" (so not having to remove tiles)?
According to your fireplace opening size you need an 11" liner. Even if you went down to 10 which may work but is too small by the numbers so it's a risk there wouldn't be room for insulation.