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does a masonry chimney need a steel liner?

We own a farmhouse Victorian dating from the 1880's/90's. The two masonry chimneys were sealed when we bought the house, and the estate owner's son told us they had been sealed during the Depression to keep out the draft. We unsealed them and have had the firebox and mantle in the living room professionally restored to code.

The chimney is clear- it has been scoped and photographed and you can see the sky at the top. All four contractors who have come to look at it and gave estimates about possible lining have said it is well-designed and well built...100% hand-laid masonry brick and hand-mortered and includes an impressive brick chimney top. Before sinking so much into lining it with steel and concrete (which one contractor told me was going to make it extremely heavy), our question is...do we really need to?

The chimney is in verified good shape, it is completely masonry, and the firebox has been rebuilt. We'd rather not spend the $3500-$4000 here if we can help it, but we want to be safe and we want to burn logs in the winter. Thanks, Jen & Jim Taylor Townsend, Delaware

Re: does a masonry chimney need a steel liner?

I'm no expert in this area, but it was my impression that old flues without clay flueliners should not be used. The fact that it is good shape is a plus. Besides steel liners their is a system where an fabric tube is inserted in the chimney, inflated and then a special concrete is poured to create a new flue liner. You might check with the local building department or insurance company.

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