Liner Install Price of $11k?

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mewop

New Member
Nov 19, 2020
21
NC
I have been collecting quotes to have an insulated liner installed with my BK KE40. I have a terra cotta chimney that has been used one season for about two cords thus far. Zero issues. 30 year old home but flue only used one season. Height is 25' +/- 5'. In order to get the required cross sectional area plus insulation, the terra cotta has to go. Got a quote today which included at "$1000 safety charge" (we have traditional roof access that doesn't require mountaineering skills - I've been up there plenty of times myself!), $800 to put up plastic so "wife doesn't get angry", $4k in materials, and a large masonry charge to bust out the thimble to allow removal of terra cotta. This is a CISA certified outfit. This was only after I said no to a $400 camera inspection that was pushed heavily as the guy walked in the front door. When he realized I was not going to do the inspection today, he obliged on offering a quote. I understand there are variables at play and possible damage that is unseen, but I see that as highly unlikely (which he noted as well). From the itemized quote - this would have changed nothing as he built in nothing like a potential repair or "oh by the way you have this issue" fee.

This appears to be straight forward install- no mention of any damage charge or issues otherwise in the quote. They note they usually bust out a large amount of the chimney to ease terra cotta removal(!!!). I'm really unclear about why they need to bust out the side of the brick and CMU to remove the terra cotta as there is a large access door at the bottom that appears more than adequate to allow removal (which the guy did not even bother to look at, despite my suggestion). Is that degree of demolition necessary? If that is done, the bricks are not going to match . Maybe they have a great mason but I've never seen perfectly matched brick and mortar replaced and this is in my dining room so it's not going to go well if not matched correctly.
Quote also mentions annual inspection performed only by them for warranty purposes, which I understand. $250/year for inspection plus cleaning charge of $150.
$4k material cost - which is noted to be the liner, insulation, and cap

The only other CISA certified outfit in the area tried to sell us on "stage 3 creosote" when we purchased the home (in the second flue, which was used with a home-made stove that has since been removed and no plans to use this flue) - noted that has to be chemically treated for $6k. I am assuming I'll get the same absurdity from them as that also has < 1/5th of the DIY cost.

The other quote we have thus far quotes $4k for a 316 SS non insulated liner (which I am only going to do insulated- have yet to speak with them regarding that). Even if an extra $1k for insulation gets tacked on, this seems far more reasonable based on my research. Also notable the outfit mentioned in main post did not get on the roof because "well, that's kinda part of the inspection". For this quote, the two guys were on the roof and in the basement inspecting every portion they could. They also didn't have an ipad with 10 photos of the plastic tent that seemed more important than the actual job itself.

I would assume at least one of these outfits peruses this forum given its popularity to which I would say dude, the BS alarm was ringing quite loudly throughout my experience thus far. I know the expense I can DIY this but I really just want someone else to do it who has experience given degree of problems if not done correctly. I understand labor is usually over half the cost but DIY cost of < $2k vs $11k installed feels like I am severely being taken advantage of. In searching other quotes, could not find a single post with a quote this large. I live in a low cost of living area as well which always factors in. Am I being ridiculous with my line of thinking or is this truly a scammy company? Looks like I will follow the traditional mantra of get 3 or 4 quotes and pick the guy in the middle.
 
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Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,781
Southeast CT
Unless your chimney is 100 feet tall, this price is way high.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,237
central pa
What size are your current clay liners?

The price does sound high but I am wondering how they plan on fitting an insulated 8"liner in.
 

mewop

New Member
Nov 19, 2020
21
NC
The ID of the current terra cotta I measured at 10.5" x 7" roughly - terra cotta is a bit over half inch in thickness. The rockford chimney calculator notes I can get away with 1/2" insulation with an ovalized liner and still have the 50 sq ft cross sectional area. It looks to me like that assumes the chimney is perfectly straight. I would think it would be quite hard to push the liner+insulation down with very little clearance so I'm not sure how feasible that is vs doing the pour in liquid which I assume is far suboptimal.

edit: bholler you could jump on a plane and install for me :) I think a plane ticket plus your charge is less than the $11k
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,237
central pa
The ID of the current terra cotta I measured at 10.5" x 7" roughly - terra cotta is a bit over half inch in thickness. The rockford chimney calculator notes I can get away with 1/2" insulation with an ovalized liner and still have the 50 sq ft cross sectional area. It looks to me like that assumes the chimney is perfectly straight. I would think it would be quite hard to push the liner+insulation down with very little clearance so I'm not sure how feasible that is vs doing the pour in liquid which I assume is far suboptimal.

edit: bholler you could jump on a plane and install for me :) I think a plane ticket plus your charge is less than the $11k
It is very possible I would look at it and say I wasn't confident I could fit a properly insulated 8" equivalent liner in your chimney.
 

Todd

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
9,791
NW Wisconsin
Why do you want to reline it? You said it’s only been used 1 season with zero issues. Maybe just have it inspected first, it may be in good shape and work fine.
 
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mewop

New Member
Nov 19, 2020
21
NC
Peace of mind but it seems you think I am overthinking things? I see a chimney fire in the news every few weeks and it worries me. I know many don't ever get any cleaning done and burn wet wood without any discretion but still think of this as a bit of an insurance against a mostly preventable occurrence.
 

Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,781
Southeast CT
The OP wants to install a new wood insert into fireplace. It will work more efficiently and a lot safer with a full insulated stainless liner. It’s a no brained really.
Why do you want to reline it? You said it’s only been used 1 season with zero issues. Maybe just have it inspected first, it may be in good shape and work fine
 

Todd

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
9,791
NW Wisconsin
The OP wants to install a new wood insert into fireplace. It will work more efficiently and a lot safer with a full insulated stainless liner. It’s a no brained really.
I didn’t think the Blaze King KE 40 was an insert?
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
3,548
SE North Carolina
Ok so you have been using the BK king and out put two cords through it correct?

I do commend you wanting and insulated liner. At this point your really are at the cost vs added safety factor debate.

If it were me I probably would slow play the liner install. I would burn as is another year. I’d hire it cleaned and camera inspected in January. And again at the end of the season. If I had a pretty clean flue I’d start doing the January clean myself.

Have you verified that the current chimney has the correct clearance to combustibles? That might be something that changes my thinking if it were not code compliant.
 
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Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,781
Southeast CT
You’re right it’s not an insert. But same thing would apply with fitting a freestanding stove to a masonry chimney.
I didn’t think the Blaze King KE 40 was an insert?
 

mewop

New Member
Nov 19, 2020
21
NC
I am realizing it is very hard to find a reputable company to do this. Called several more today - a lot in the area do not do liners. Another company I called gave me the exact same spiel as I got from the ridiculous quote so I am not even going to bother getting them out.

Do people really pay $800 for a cage framed from PVC and thick plastic? They quickly pointed that out on the phone today and yesterday I saw about 4 photos of the setup. It seems to be a major selling point. I guess the $700 profit on that line item pays pretty well

It is looking more like a DIY project which I was trying to avoid as I am remodeling my basement myself currently. I am going to try a few more places. I know the tool to bust the terra cotta out can be rented. Do those pieces fall out of place easily? From my research, they usually are only mortared together at each end on the long axis and they are not mortared to the CMU on the sides. Those should just about fall out of place I imagine? Can anyone speak to the difficulty of getting every piece out? I will need to have a very clear line down the chimney if I am to get an insulated liner in place and maintain the 50sq in cross sectional area.
It is going to require ovalizing a square or round liner--- I was thinking last night I could create a jig from 2x4 in the exact dimension needed but I forsee that being a bit difficult as 316 stainless isn't exactly thin and this would be about 25' long piece

Worst case scenario would be the pour in -- can anyone speak to success and difficulty of that? I know that's going to likely leave a few "dead spots" on the way up

My last question would be thimble hook up--- From my understanding, the liner opening will line up with the thimble and a horizontal piece will I assume twist lock into place from the inside?
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,237
central pa
I am realizing it is very hard to find a reputable company to do this. Called several more today - a lot in the area do not do liners. Another company I called gave me the exact same spiel as I got from the ridiculous quote so I am not even going to bother getting them out.

Do people really pay $800 for a cage framed from PVC and thick plastic? They quickly pointed that out on the phone today and yesterday I saw about 4 photos of the setup. It seems to be a major selling point. I guess the $700 profit on that line item pays pretty well

It is looking more like a DIY project which I was trying to avoid as I am remodeling my basement myself currently. I am going to try a few more places. I know the tool to bust the terra cotta out can be rented. Do those pieces fall out of place easily? From my research, they usually are only mortared together at each end on the long axis and they are not mortared to the CMU on the sides. Those should just about fall out of place I imagine? Can anyone speak to the difficulty of getting every piece out? I will need to have a very clear line down the chimney if I am to get an insulated liner in place and maintain the 50sq in cross sectional area.
It is going to require ovalizing a square or round liner--- I was thinking last night I could create a jig from 2x4 in the exact dimension needed but I forsee that being a bit difficult as 316 stainless isn't exactly thin and this would be about 25' long piece

Worst case scenario would be the pour in -- can anyone speak to success and difficulty of that? I know that's going to likely leave a few "dead spots" on the way up

My last question would be thimble hook up--- From my understanding, the liner opening will line up with the thimble and a horizontal piece will I assume twist lock into place from the inside?
Breakout varies greatly from an easy 1 hour project for an experienced crew to one that takes multiple days.

Ovalizing without the proper equipment never gives good results plus you will most likely need the proper matching components. You will probably have to order it pre done adding quite a bit of cost.

Pour in requires more room than wrap. Wrap only needs to be 1/2" thick pour in needs to be 1"

The tee snout doesn't twist lock it uses a strap clamp or clamps depending upon the type.

Honestly this doesn't sound at all like a diy friendly liner.
 

mewop

New Member
Nov 19, 2020
21
NC
Thanks for your input - I know you are very experienced and knowledgeable. I agree at minimum this would be quite an adventurous headache. I will keep looking
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
3,548
SE North Carolina
I would be buying an oval liner o
Thanks for your input - I know you are very experienced and knowledgeable. I agree at minimum this would be quite an adventurous headache. I will keep looking
for the cost you could swap to a Princess sell the king and probably be money ahead. Just a thought in wouldn’t really want to but……. Options are options.
 
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mewop

New Member
Nov 19, 2020
21
NC
I would be buying an oval liner o

for the cost you could swap to a Princess sell the king and probably be money ahead. Just a thought in wouldn’t really want to but……. Options are options.
Yea that crossed my mind. Or go back to the dark side. At these prices I could upgrade my aging HVAC to a very high efficient unit ==c
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,237
central pa
I would be buying an oval liner o

for the cost you could swap to a Princess sell the king and probably be money ahead. Just a thought in wouldn’t really want to but……. Options are options.
Yeah the 8" requirement is really pretty difficult to do with existing masonry chimmeys
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,237
central pa
I can see that.

Isn’t there a 1 inch variance allowed by code either side, bigger or smaller, of the stove breech?
Yes but blazking absolutely does not allow it. The same goes for most manufacturers
 

Hoytman

Minister of Fire
Jan 6, 2020
515
Ohio
So are you saying that the manufacturer has authority over the National Fire Code governing body? That does sound right to me. Not questioning you, just mean it sounds odd.

Or, is it something that BK requests installers do with th their units?

Obviously, if a used BK stove is bought by you or me as a private individual, and you install it yourself in your home, then you should be safe with using the NFA guidelines, right?

Obviously, there has to be more to this. LOL!
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,237
central pa
So are you saying that the manufacturer has authority over the National Fire Code governing body? That does sound right to me. Not questioning you, just mean it sounds odd.

Or, is it something that BK requests installers do with th their units?

Obviously, if a used BK stove is bought by you as a person and you install it in your home then you should be safe with using the NFA guidelines, right?
They absolutely have that right as long as the product is listed. The code even says it in most cases.

And yes you would probably be safe but the stove may not work worth a damn
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,237
central pa
Code says basically that listed appliances or systems need to be installed in accordance with manufacturers instructions
 

Hoytman

Minister of Fire
Jan 6, 2020
515
Ohio
So basically BK (others as well) ) don’t have give any variance then. Interesting.
 
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