Liner Install Price of $11k?

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,240
central pa
So basically BK doesn’t have any variance them? Interesting.
No most stoves don't. As performance of stoves goes up the importance of getting the draft right gets more important. Now on some chimneys yes a king will run fine on 7". On others the decrease in volume will cause problems. Others the increase in velocity will.
 
  • Like
Reactions: moresnow

ChimneyS

Member
Apr 23, 2020
11
Baltimore, MD
If it's been working fine in a 30 year old chimney, and the connector stove piping is fine, I wouldn't worry about changing anything. Get it swept twice a year if you're using it a lot.
The glazed creosote might build up on the terra cotta tile interior surfaces after a while. If you want to do the terra cotta bust out then, after a few more years, (instead of expensive chemical creosote stripping from terra cotta, as you know) you could reline the flue at that point.
The 8" diameter liner need is tricky. After tiles removal, I'd probably install an ovalized liner system with a liner wrap. A heavywall or middle weight liner maybe better for this one, being an oval and needing a lot of cleaning.
But I wouldn't be in a rush about it, and better chimney companies may move into your area between now and then.
Sometimes the work really is expensive to be done right, or sometimes markup is really too high.
I don't know what area you're in, but the cost of chimney repair definitely is harder with lower home values.
--
I'll note that you seem to have wanted repair estimates from the chimney companies without paying for an inspection, which is not abnormal-- But homeowner's need to recognize a chimney business's (and any contractor's) costs for going around doing free assessments and proposals and sales efforts, and investing in other expensive elements of the business to make a good impression and make the company function as customers expect. That drives up the cost of all home improvement contractor work significantly. You are only going to hire one of the companies to do the work (or none if you take my advice!) so all the other companies are at a loss for the investment they've done to reach you and serve you thus far. They will have to make that loss up on the next guy's chimney repair. You may be seeing more of the 'getting estimates' process contractors deal with in the repair estimate prices than you realize, because someone has to pay for that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Todd

mewop

New Member
Nov 19, 2020
21
NC
lol.PNG

Honestly if they did not have the $1100 and $830 charges and not be tearing apart our dining room, I would do it now. As I mentioned earlier, getting on my roof is not that difficult. Stove is on first floor. Cleanout in unfinished basement.

ss2.PNG
 
Last edited:

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,240
central pa
If it's been working fine in a 30 year old chimney, and the connector stove piping is fine, I wouldn't worry about changing anything. Get it swept twice a year if you're using it a lot.
The glazed creosote might build up on the terra cotta tile interior surfaces after a while. If you want to do the terra cotta bust out then, after a few more years, (instead of expensive chemical creosote stripping from terra cotta, as you know) you could reline the flue at that point.
The 8" diameter liner need is tricky. After tiles removal, I'd probably install an ovalized liner system with a liner wrap. A heavywall or middle weight liner maybe better for this one, being an oval and needing a lot of cleaning.
But I wouldn't be in a rush about it, and better chimney companies may move into your area between now and then.
Sometimes the work really is expensive to be done right, or sometimes markup is really too high.
I don't know what area you're in, but the cost of chimney repair definitely is harder with lower home values.
--
I'll note that you seem to have wanted repair estimates from the chimney companies without paying for an inspection, which is not abnormal-- But homeowner's need to recognize a chimney business's (and any contractor's) costs for going around doing free assessments and proposals and sales efforts, and investing in other expensive elements of the business to make a good impression and make the company function as customers expect. That drives up the cost of all home improvement contractor work significantly. You are only going to hire one of the companies to do the work (or none if you take my advice!) so all the other companies are at a loss for the investment they've done to reach you and serve you thus far. They will have to make that loss up on the next guy's chimney repair. You may be seeing more of the 'getting estimates' process contractors deal with in the repair estimate prices than you realize, because someone has to pay for that.
The problem with your suggested approach is that they really don't know the condition of the chimney or whether it has proper clearances to combustibles etc.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,240
central pa
View attachment 298043
Honestly if they did not have the $1100 and $830 charges and not be tearing apart our dining room, I would do it now. As I mentioned earlier, getting on my roof is not that difficult. Stove is on first floor. Cleanout in unfinished basement.

View attachment 298044
Yeah the actual liner price is pretty reasonable but their extras are way out of line. And their breakout cost is insane.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ChimneyS and mewop

Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,781
Southeast CT
I don’t know how normal that is to charge a fee to basically keep the area clean. I had my clay liners broke out to fit an insulated liner down maybe 4 yrs ago or so. I can’t recall the exact install cost but can tell you it was a fraction of what you were quoted. My installers had a PVC pipe framed plastic sheet enclosure to help control dust from breakout. I’m assuming a good vacuum of some sort as well. To further help with dust control. If I had to guess I would say total labor outside of materials was in the 2500 range maximum. They scheduled break out for one day and the install of liner on the next .
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,267
Long Island NY
I would consider the thought that maybe they don't want your job, but don't want to say so, and that's why they overprice the total?
 

ChimneyS

Member
Apr 23, 2020
11
Baltimore, MD
The problem with your suggested approach is that they really don't know the condition of the chimney or whether it has proper clearances to combustibles etc.
That would be a good reason to pay for a thorough inspection.
Of course way less than 1% of homes are built with all the code stipulated clearances. --I don't see the project of removing all wood 1 or 2 inches away from the chimney included in the repair proposal though:)
Most 30 year old chimneys have chases in great condition, and the terra cotta tile mortar joints are starting to get some deteriorated/missing areas here and there. If so, that would warrant a repair recommendation to be flawless, but it wouldn't usually 'alarm' most people in the know (who's job isn't selling relining repairs). Dare I say, it could improve draft a bit.
On the other hand, if there's negative air pressure in the 30 year old house, which is not that unlikely, then having a new sealed liner could benefit issues with crossover smoke related to breaches. But negative air pressure should be corrected independently.
It appears from the house picture, the chimney top was built a little short. That would be another project to rectify the height issue of the brick chase, or the new top tile could just stand tall on top.
Also, it's possible the adjacent flue tiles could be damaged during the demo work for the stove relining. If that flue is no longer used, great.
There is going to be some uncontrolled dust in the room from facebrick removal, even with pretty good dust control devices.
Matching any brick removed from the face wall is important to arrange in advance, or make replacement bricks a decorative design --and have the right professional do that.
It's possible most of the busted terra cotta debris could just fill the lower flue down to the cleanout and not even need to be removed.
 

logfarmer

Feeling the Heat
Oct 25, 2015
256
Ohio
You can always tape the area off with plastic yourself.. looks to be a heavy price to pay for the job but I’m not in that line of work🤷🏻‍♂️. I would pay for the camera inspection and as long as it checks out good, run it a couple yrs that way and have it swept at least once a yr. Or drop an uninsulated liner down in there for now? I have a king hooked up to the clay liner darn near that same size you have and my chimney is spotless and is 18’ tall! I would for sure call other companies if you can find more for quotes. Nice house by the way and good luck!
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,240
central pa
I would consider the thought that maybe they don't want your job, but don't want to say so, and that's why they overprice the total?
That is very possible
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,240
central pa
Of course way less than 1% of homes are built with all the code stipulated clearances. --I don't see the project of removing all wood 1 or 2 inches away from the chimney included in the repair proposal though:)
No but they propose an insulated liner which means you don't need those clearances.

Matching any brick removed from the face wall is important to arrange in advance, or make replacement bricks a decorative design --and have the right professional do that.

Why would brick need to be removed?

It's possible most of the busted terra cotta debris could just fill the lower flue down to the cleanout and not even need to be removed.

Code requires a clean out on solid fuel chimneys so no you need to run liner down to the clean out and seal everything
 

QualityGig

New Member
Jan 26, 2021
7
Andover, MA, USA
So more apples than oranges in this comparison. We had terra cotta removal and insulated SS installed at the beginning of last winter after an inspection found concerns with buildup and evidence of past (minor) chimney fire. [We bought the place a couple years ago so, concerns on uncertainties over past usage are intentionally high.] Having had our neighbor's house burn down (electrical) when I was a kid, killing two, then our house having a roaring chimney fire just a week later, well, the safety component is by far the most important in my book. Agree with @EbS-P "...commend you wanting an insulated liner. At this point your really are at the cost vs added safety factor debate."

That said, our quote was much more reasonable -- $1.5K for removal, $4K for liner, $450 for new vent connector and to repair the chimney breach, which came to $6K in total. We're a first-floor, in-the-dining/living space woodstove with a chimney up through the second floor (so seems like a pretty similar set-up, other than the roof situation). The terra cotta removal is expectedly violent sounding and came with disclaimers of possible issues and unintended destruction (our chimney has four flues). There was no tenting, though they were very good about running a HEPA filter wet/dry vac-type unit (could tell that thing weighed a ton when they took it out). The chimney breach still confuses me a bit, but all-in-all it looked fine in the end. They mounted a 22" tall by 14" wide plate that they painted the same as the stovepipe. It doesn't have the old school, pipe-through-the-chimney look we had before, but again looked fine in the end. The install set aside two days just in case, but they were done in one. Everything was clean as a whistle when they left, and they also did a thorough stove cleaning, too, which they didn't charge for. They brought the liner up and dropped it down from above. We have a similar warranty inspection clause each year, which can be bundled with a sweep. Glad to offer any other details to the extent helpful. We live in the northeast and lightly assuming we'll see higher average prices in this area.

See the temptation of DIY for parts of this, but there are parts that are beyond typical DIY capability. Add in the certified professional bit, and it seemed a no-brainer project to let professionals handle. I'll do my own sweep and have them do the annual inspection to keep the warranty.

Comparing to your pricing it seems like there's still several $1K's of unaccounted charge/cost on the original $11K proposal. Hope this helps.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bholler

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
3,548
SE North Carolina
Thinking fire safety. I don’t have data but Im guessing Electrical fires are a more common occurrence. (All houses have electricity but not all burn wood so I don’t know the relative risk. ). 11 k buys a lot of heat and probably an upgraded electric panel. I’m slowly adding AFCI breakers. I probably have a bit more than half of the outlets up to current code.

Basement renovation happening now and I’m considering a residental sprinklers down there. Haven’t found anyone to quite that yet.
 

switepine

New Member
Feb 28, 2022
27
heJinx22
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.
Good question! I am in a similar situation sorta.... Pardon me for somewhat hijacking this because I cannot find any way to start a new thread! I have a 20 ft chimney that is 14 year old, w a high heat ceramic (Orange colored "terracotta" I believe is not the correct description of this liner) flue liner that is surrounded by a MASSIVE real adobe brick that is aprox 2-3 feet thick on bottom tapering to about 12-16" (read Well insulated from the fairly warm SW new Mexico winter (average 35-60 degrees as low as 20 at night). I may be able to get a 6 inch stainless down the chimney but the professional carrer adobe fireplace builder says "Why, it should work fine without a liner as long as it is sealed well and I use the Outside Air Venting (on a Vermont casting Aspen C3 OAV stove). Chimney Co people (who install of course) say no I must use a liner. Thing is I would install liner myself but it woudl require a cutting out the existing flue. Why is my question. If anyone can tell me why or how to start a new thread please do! Thanks

IMG_3156.jpg IMG_3157.jpg
 

switepine

New Member
Feb 28, 2022
27
heJinx22
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.
Chimney People LOVE to tear down as it is pure overpriced labor. Never fails. Get a opinion and somthing (EXPENSIVE) is wrong. Seems insane to me to remove the inside liner. that like removing the good tissue around a cancer. I still am failing to understand your desire to do anything?
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,240
central pa
I have never heard of a 5" Terracotta liner? Seems very small for a big chimney. My small liner is just under 7"
There are 5" clay liners but they are extremely uncommon
 

switepine

New Member
Feb 28, 2022
27
heJinx22
There are 5" clay liners but they are extremely uncommon
good to know! Could you address my other responce to this?
"I said: "Good question! I am in a similar situation sorta.... Pardon me for somewhat hijacking this because I cannot find any way to start a new thread! I have a 20 ft chimney that is 14 year old, w a high heat ceramic (Orange colored "terracotta" I believe is not the correct description of this liner) flue liner that is surrounded by a MASSIVE real adobe brick that is aprox 2-3 feet thick on bottom tapering to about 12-16" (read Well insulated from the fairly warm SW new Mexico winter (average 35-60 degrees as low as 20 at night). I may be able to get a 6 inch stainless down the chimney but the professional carrer adobe fireplace builder says "Why, it should work fine without a liner as long as it is sealed well and I use the Outside Air Venting (on a Vermont casting Aspen C3 OAV stove). Chimney Co people (who install of course) say no I must use a liner. Thing is I would install liner myself but it would require a cutting out the existing flue. Why is my question. If anyone can tell me why or how to start a new thread please do! Thanks" Thoughts? I have hear all the reasons for adding a liner but seems overkill? "
 

ChimneyS

Member
Apr 23, 2020
11
Baltimore, MD
Good question! I am in a similar situation sorta.... Pardon me for somewhat hijacking this because I cannot find any way to start a new thread! I have a 20 ft chimney that is 14 year old, w a high heat ceramic (Orange colored "terracotta" I believe is not the correct description of this liner) flue liner that is surrounded by a MASSIVE real adobe brick that is aprox 2-3 feet thick on bottom tapering to about 12-16" (read Well insulated from the fairly warm SW new Mexico winter (average 35-60 degrees as low as 20 at night). I may be able to get a 6 inch stainless down the chimney but the professional carrer adobe fireplace builder says "Why, it should work fine without a liner as long as it is sealed well and I use the Outside Air Venting (on a Vermont casting Aspen C3 OAV stove). Chimney Co people (who install of course) say no I must use a liner. Thing is I would install liner myself but it woudl require a cutting out the existing flue. Why is my question. If anyone can tell me why or how to start a new thread please do! Thanks

View attachment 300680 View attachment 300681
What is the expected location of the stove exactly, and the expected flue connection plan?
It'd be nice to insert a stove into the fireplace so it doesn't take up too much floorspace.
Sometimes flue sweeping is horrendously worse when there isn't a full height liner. It depends on details.
 

switepine

New Member
Feb 28, 2022
27
heJinx22
What is the expected location of the stove exactly, and the expected flue connection plan?
It'd be nice to insert a stove into the fireplace so it doesn't take up too much floorspace.
Sometimes flue sweeping is horrendously worse when there isn't a full height liner. It depends on details.
the Stove flue center should be almost dead center in fire box. it is a beehive shaped Kiva Fireplace fairly small. Not sure what the diff between a full length liner and not. It is not ideal the stove will probably have to be pulled out for cleaning but actually the built in "Shelf" would probably catch the creosote. That said I am burning fossil hard dry dead down oak in a normal environment that seld sees the humidity needle go over 30% during the day usually 15-20 in summer. Seldom ay snow cover for more than a few hours to occaisioanlly a week or 2 max. In other words this i wood is DRY as a Dino Bone. flue connection is not ideal either as there will have to be a bit of a elbow right off the stove or nearly right off due to the shelf zig zag. No 90s just gentle s curves? Hard to say. I am not going to use the legs on teh stove and will excavate a channel in the bottom of the fireplace for the drop down for the OSAir exchange unit. The stove eventually will have a base of maybe 1 1/2" bricks supporting it inside the Kiva as the outer Hearth drops down into firebox about that far. I will have to notch out the outside lip of teh fireplace dome for the 16 inch width of stove up about 20" on each side.I hope this makes sense?

IMG_3157.jpg
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,240
central pa
Good question! I am in a similar situation sorta.... Pardon me for somewhat hijacking this because I cannot find any way to start a new thread! I have a 20 ft chimney that is 14 year old, w a high heat ceramic (Orange colored "terracotta" I believe is not the correct description of this liner) flue liner that is surrounded by a MASSIVE real adobe brick that is aprox 2-3 feet thick on bottom tapering to about 12-16" (read Well insulated from the fairly warm SW new Mexico winter (average 35-60 degrees as low as 20 at night). I may be able to get a 6 inch stainless down the chimney but the professional carrer adobe fireplace builder says "Why, it should work fine without a liner as long as it is sealed well and I use the Outside Air Venting (on a Vermont casting Aspen C3 OAV stove). Chimney Co people (who install of course) say no I must use a liner. Thing is I would install liner myself but it woudl require a cutting out the existing flue. Why is my question. If anyone can tell me why or how to start a new thread please do! Thanks

View attachment 300680 View attachment 300681
It may work fine we just don't know. But how do you plan on attaching your pipe to that 8x8 liner?

And I don't doubt that if your chimney is actually that thick you should be fine with regards to safety. But it still needs the same clearances to meet code
 

ChimneyS

Member
Apr 23, 2020
11
Baltimore, MD
the Stove flue center should be almost dead center in fire box. it is a beehive shaped Kiva Fireplace fairly small. Not sure what the diff between a full length liner and not. It is not ideal the stove will probably have to be pulled out for cleaning but actually the built in "Shelf" would probably catch the creosote. That said I am burning fossil hard dry dead down oak in a normal environment that seld sees the humidity needle go over 30% during the day usually 15-20 in summer. Seldom ay snow cover for more than a few hours to occaisioanlly a week or 2 max. In other words this i wood is DRY as a Dino Bone. flue connection is not ideal either as there will have to be a bit of a elbow right off the stove or nearly right off due to the shelf zig zag. No 90s just gentle s curves? Hard to say. I am not going to use the legs on teh stove and will excavate a channel in the bottom of the fireplace for the drop down for the OSAir exchange unit. The stove eventually will have a base of maybe 1 1/2" bricks supporting it inside the Kiva as the outer Hearth drops down into firebox about that far. I will have to notch out the outside lip of teh fireplace dome for the 16 inch width of stove up about 20" on each side.I hope this makes sense?

View attachment 300682
Unless there is something unusual about the baffle removal which would require pulling the stove for sweeping with a full length liner anyway, then it's highly likely that sweeping service will be 100 times easier with a full height liner. Even if pulling is required to sweep, it's still way better for sweeping with full length, in my opinion.
You usually don't really need to insulate the new liner when the terra cotta tiles stay in place. (This statement is not a haters invitation.)
And if you're doing the fireplace modifications yourself, then you are likely to be able to also install a full height flexible stainless liner yourself. It frankly is easier than setting up the tight connection of short piping to the damper area in many cases.
Just bust out the rear firebox upper area, and/or rear of damper frame in order to allow a relatively straight path for a stainless elbow at the bottom of the liner.
It does kinda suck that you have to notch the arched face brick. Don't forget that at some point of weakening the structure of the angled you are going to invite collapse of the upper center bricks and the little mantle area. If you could eliminate vibration hammering/chiseling of that face, it's advisable. Just cut out the notches with grinder/saw only. It may be possible to install a little quasi lintel/angle iron on the inside of the top of arch, but maybe too tricky given the curve, and unnecessary.
Having the ideal stove to fit there would be, again, ideal of course!
Wondering if it's possible to notch down into the whole hearth enough for the stove to sleeve in without changing the face arch. But big job, and it depends on what's below.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,267
Long Island NY
It was said above that

You usually don't really need to insulate the new liner when the terra cotta tiles stay in place. (This statement is not a haters invitation.)


That is not the case. Insulation needs depends on the clearance from the outside of the (normal brick) chimney to combustibles. If less than 1" (outside) or 2" (for a chimney inside the home), then.an insulated liner is needed.

I do not know how this works for a thick brick chimney as this is.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,240
central pa
You usually don't really need to insulate the new liner when the terra cotta tiles stay in place. (This statement is not a haters invitation.)
Again the existence and condition of a clay liner has absolutely no bearing on the requirement to insulate a liner