Every home with a fireplace has the same general components. There’s the cap, which helps to keep animals and debris out. There’s your masonry, the visible brick-and-mortar most people associate with a chimney. Your crown is the first line of defense against water damage. And of course, your damper helps to control the flow of air in and out.
There’s also a less thought of, but vitally important, liner inside of your chimney called the flue. And from time to time, chimney flue tiles crack. Here’s why that happens and how to get them fixed.
As we mentioned, most homeowners probably think of their “chimney” as the brick-and-mortar they see from the outside. Technically, this is partially correct. Within that structure is your flue. It’s a liner made of three possible types of materials. Those include:
• Concrete, sturdy but more expensive;
• Stainless steel, more common in newer constructions, and;
• Clay tiles, our focus for today.
Whichever type you have, the role is the same. Your flue connects to the firebox, diverting smoke and other gasses up and out of your home. Your flue also acts as a barrier, protecting your home from the extreme heat from your fireplace while also reducing the risk of a house fire.
Problems arise when your flue fails. Specifically, with clay tiles, they can crack.
When the contractor built your home, they may have constructed your flue incorrectly or used inferior clay materials. If either of these is true, then it’s likely your tile will eventually crack.
If there is an ongoing water problem, such as crumbling masonry, this can accelerate the deterioration of your clay tiles. Water is corrosive, as are some of the gasses and chemicals that are a byproduct of burning wood. Together, these can lead to cracked flue tiles.
As we mentioned, your flue protects your home from heat, smoke, and toxic gasses. When your flue tiles crack, it can allow these three items to penetrate or damage your home. In addition, creosote — the black, tar-like by-product of burning unseasoned wood — loves to take root within cracked flue tiles. This leads to creosote buildup, and in turn, can lead to a house fire.
Can cracked flue tiles be repaired? Generally speaking, yes they can. The solution will ultimately come down to accessibility and the extent of the damage. If near the top of your chimney (say, just below your crown), our technicians can usually swap a cracked tile with a new one.
However, if the extent of the damage extends beyond a basic repair, it may be more cost-effective (and a better long-term solution) to reline your flue.
A metal replacement chimney liner, using stainless steel, is often the best solution to replace cracked, missing, or broken clay flue tiles.
Our team can help you decide if relining your chimney with metal or replacing it with new tile is the best choice. Remember, we’re here to help you and keep your family safe all season long.
We Service the Greater Atlanta GA and Chattanooga TN areas
Greater Atlanta Area – 770-255-1300
Chattanooga TN – 423-551-9912