Need to Schedule a Chimney Sweeping, Maintenance & Repair, or Dryer Vent Cleaning & Repair?

If the interior of your chimney is damaged, cracked, or spalling

You Need To Have Your Chimney Relined!

Older masonry chimney structures, usually those built prior to 1950, don’t have any type of lining system installed and instead are just composed of brick and mortar.

Top Hat’s Chimney Liner Repair and Installation Service

A properly sized and installed chimney liner is essential for your chimney to work properly. Masonry chimneys typically have what are called clay tile flue liners. Older masonry chimney structures, usually those built prior to 1950, don’t have any type of lining system installed and instead are just composed of brick and mortar.

In an unlined chimney, heat and moisture can pass through the masonry faster than a lined chimney. This leads to premature chimney damage and can lead to unsafe situations in your home. Temperature and moisture cause damage to the chimney, mortar and bricks. In time, holes will develop in the chimney system allowing heat and toxic gases to enter your house.

If you have an unlined chimney, it is recommended that you stop using it until a properly sized, sealed, lining system is installed!

Clay tile flue liners are a standard when building homes today. But there are some problems that can develop even with new clay liner tiles. Clay tiles are subject to stresses from heat expansion, moisture and acids that are produced by today’s modern heating systems. These stresses can cause the tiles to crack, soften, flake, and deteriorate to the point of failure. This happens more often than you might think because clay tile flue liners come in predetermined size combinations, many of which are too big for today’s heating appliances.

Additionally, many masons when building chimneys use the same mortar to lay the flue tiles as they use for building the chimney. This shortcut saves them time and money. Flue tiles are required to be installed with non-water soluble refractory mortar as they sustain a much harsher environment. Failure to use non-water soluble refractory mortar causes the masonry joints to wash out in between the flue tile joints, exposing your chimney to pre-mature deterioration and chimney/house fires!

There are several different situations that will warrant a new lining system installed.  These are detailed in the categories below:

Deteriorated Clay Liners

Clay tile flue liners deteriorate when moisture or acid is present day after day. Oil, coal, & wood soot are all acidic as are propane and natural gas fumes. When there is lack of a rain cap, rain water mixes with the byproducts of combustion and an acidic paste or mist is formed. Over time, this deteriorates the factory glazing of the tile and exposes the softer inner material of the tile. It is almost the same as getting a cavity in your tooth.

In gas appliances, beside the acid issues, moisture is produced from the appliance itself and exhausted directly into the chimney. This wears away the mortar joints between the tiles and if there is a defect already in the tile, moisture will accelerate the damage to the tile.

Cracked Clay Liners

Cracked clay lining tile are usually caused by one of three things: A chimney fire, thermal shock, or mother nature.

  • A chimney fire will cause the tile to get so hot, so fast, that the clay material expands beyond its means and will crack. 
  • Thermal shock happens when the tile gets extremely cold during the winter when it is not being used. Then if you build too big of a fire, too fast, the tile cannot properly heat up evenly. Then the outside of the tile is cold and contracting, while the inside of the tile is hot and expanding. These two conflicting forces can cause the tile to crack – just like if you pour hot water into a crystal goblet – CRACK.
  • Mother nature can play a role in cracking tiles too. How? you might ask, Lightning strikes, tornados, blasting from mining, freeze/thaw cycles, and earthquakes can all cause structural shifts, putting pressure on the tile stack and cracking it.

Shifted Chimney Liners

If the joints in between the clay tile liners have failed, the weight of the tile stack can shift and cause the tiles inside of the chimney to move. This will allow gaps that will slow down the draft, cause turbulence in the flue, and allow flue gases to escape.

Unlined Chimneys

In an unlined chimney, heat and moisture can pass through the masonry faster than a lined chimney. This can lead to unsafe situations in your home. Temperature and moisture, as well as acidic flue gases cause damage to the chimney mortar and bricks. In time, holes will develop in the chimney system allowing heat and toxic gases to enter your house.

Proper Chimney Liner Sizing

Proper sizing of the chimney is essential for the appliance to operate efficiently. If the chimney is too big, condensation of the flue gases can occur and deterioration of the chimney will happen. If the chimney is too small for the appliance, the appliance itself can malfunction and cause toxic gases, such as Sulfur Oxide, and Carbon Monoxide to enter into your house.

Top Hat's Service Area

State College, Bellefonte, Lock Haven, Tyrone, Phillipsburg, Huntingdon, Centre Hall, Pleasant Gap, Millheim, Penns Valley, Spring Mills, Howard, Port Matilda, Stormstown, Zion, Pine Grove Mills, Clearfield, Milesburg, Lemont, Petersburg, & Avis, Pennsylvania.

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