Your home’s chimney doesn’t just serve as an aesthetic feature. It also has an important function if you use a fireplace or wood-burning stove. A good chimney is designed to allow smoke to rise and exit the home. Damage to a chimney can be dangerous, particularly if it becomes obstructed and you continue to use your fireplace. Various repair and rebuilding jobs may cost anywhere from $250–$13,300, but for a common problem like a chimney crack, the average chimney repair cost is around $750.
Chimney Repair Cost Factors
Here are the most important factors when determining the cost of your chimney repair job.
- Type of chimney: Some chimney materials are easier and cheaper to repair than others.
- Type of repair: Chimney repair runs the gamut from simple fixes to complex restoration jobs.
- Method of repair: Different repair methods have different materials and labor costs.
- Labor: The more complex and time-consuming the job, the more it will cost in labor.
Cost by Chimney Type
The material your chimney is made out of will factor into the cost of repairing it. Prefabricated and metal chimneys are durable and typically require the least costly repairs. Masonry chimneys, made of bricks and mortar, are slightly more costly because they’re subject to erosion and may require rebuilding. Stucco chimneys require extra finishing once repairs are complete, thus are typically the priciest to fix.
Cost by Repair Type
Working chimneys have many functional parts, and some of these parts cost more than others. Here are various parts or components and approximately how much it costs to repair them.
- Chimney cap: The cap sits atop the chimney opening and prevents water, debris, and even small animals from getting into your home. It also prevents fireplace embers from flying out. Even in a brick chimney, this part is usually made of metal. Repair to chimney caps typically costs $100–$250.
- Chimney crown: The chimney crown sits just below the cap and covers the chimney opening, save for the hole under the cap. It also plays a vital role in forming a barrier between your home and the outdoors. Since it’s often made of poured concrete, chimney crown repair costs $750–$1,000. Chimney crown replacement will cost even more.
- Chimney stack: The chimney portion that’s visible above the roofline is called the stack. Stacks sustain lots of weather-related wear and tear, so an older stack may have severe structural damage. A small problem with the stack can be repaired for around $500, but rebuilding and re-mortaring it can cost up to $3,500.
- Chimney cricket: A chimney cricket, also called a saddle, helps prevent water leaks between the roof and chimney by diverting the water flow away from the chimney. If your roof has one of these, it will cost anywhere from $700–$1,300 to repair.
- Flashing: Flashing is the metal lining that waterproofs your roof’s joints and other features. It’s needed at the base of a chimney where it exits a roof, and chimney flashing repair costs $200–$300.
- Wood: Not all chimneys have a wood structure where the chimney meets the roof, but some do. If the waterproofing around this wood fails, it can rot and require replacement. Wood rot repair usually costs $200–$500.
- Siding: The material around the external portion of the chimney that rises from the roof is the siding. If the siding is made of wood, it will cost the same as wood rot repair. If it’s made of aluminum or other materials, it will usually cost $500–$600 to replace.
- Flue liner: The chimney’s flue is the interior tunnel that leads to the opening at the top. The lining of the flue is what protects your home from the heat of a fire. Chimney flue repair costs vary widely depending on how much of it needs fixing. The clay tiles that line a flue typically cost $65–$100 per square foot. Including labor, cracked flue tiles can cost as little as $200 to replace, but fully relining the chimney can cost up to $5,000.
- Smoke chamber: The chimney’s smoke chamber acts like a funnel, directing smoke and soot up into the flue so it doesn’t blow back into your home. Small cracks can be patched for around $500, but more substantial damage can cost up to $2,000 to fix.
- Foundation: The foundation of a chimney is typically a poured concrete pad underneath the firebox. If it cracks or breaks, this may result in a leaning chimney. Foundation repair is expensive at $1,500–$3,000 but is necessary to support the chimney’s weight.
Cost by Repair Method
Depending on the type and extent of the damage, chimney technicians can use several methods to repair a damaged chimney.
- Re-mortaring: Mortar is the material that holds bricks together and seals the gaps between them. A cracked chimney can be repaired with fresh mortar joints if the bricks are still in good condition. This repair is typically inexpensive at $150–$500.
- Sealing: Small cracks and other minor chimney damage can also be repaired by applying a waterproof sealant to the brickwork’s exterior. At $150–$500, this costs about the same as re-mortaring.
- Restoring: The chimney restoration process typically involves using a variety of repair methods to restore the damaged chimney to its former state. This can cost anywhere from $250–$4,000 depending on how much work is needed.
- Repointing: Repointing is a form of re-mortaring, but the technician will usually remove some of the old, damaged mortar before replacing it. Thus, it tends to cost a bit more, usually between $500–$2,500.
- Tuckpointing: Tuckpointing is similar to repointing—in fact, some people use the words interchangeably. Technically speaking, tuckpointing involves using two colors of mortar, one of which matches the bricks, so the joints between them look smaller and neater. It tends to cost about the same as repointing at $500–$2,500.
- Rebuilding: If the chimney’s structural integrity is in question, it may need to be partially or completely rebuilt from scratch. Rebuilding can cost anywhere from $500 for a partial chimney rebuild to $13,300 for a new chimney.
- Parging: Over time, soot, residue, and creosote build up in a chimney’s smoke chamber. Parging, also called pargeting, is the addition of mortar or a spray-on coating that smooths the chamber surface and slows the buildup of residue. This tends to cost between $1,000–$2,000.
A chimney repair company may charge anywhere from $50–$150 per hour. The longer a job takes, the more it will cost. Keep in mind there may also be a flat service call fee of $50–$100 for any visits these technicians make.
Additional Cost Considerations
In addition to the above factors, some other considerations go into a chimney repair project’s total cost.
Part of maintaining your chimney means keeping it relatively clean. This isn’t just for aesthetics. Wood-tar creosote, a greasy yellowish product of burning wood, can build up inside a chimney’s smoke chamber. This creosote is flammable, and if enough builds up, it can potentially cause a chimney fire.
Jim Fuson, owner of 21st Century Home Inspections, says one of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is not getting their chimneys serviced. “Regular [service depends] on how much you use it, especially if it’s a wood-burning fireplace. If you’re using it all the time, basically through the whole winter season, I would get it inspected on an annual basis because people who don’t, that’s where fires occur.”
It’s a good idea to hire a chimney sweep at least once per year to clean out the chimney from top to bottom. This usually costs $80–$200, but if the chimney hasn’t been cleaned for multiple years, it may cost as much as $800.
Repair vs. Rebuild
When deciding whether to repair or rebuild your existing chimney, consider how much each feature will cost. Here are some approximate replacement costs for these features.
|Chimney Part||Cost To Rebuild|
It’s hard to tell the condition of a chimney just by looking at it, so it’s a good idea to have its damper and vents regularly inspected. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) defines three levels of inspection. A basic Level 1 chimney inspection costs about $100 and should be done once per year. If you make any changes to your chimney or your house sustains damage from a storm or earthquake, it’s time for a Level 2 inspection, which costs $300–$600. If a Level 1 or 2 inspection shows signs of serious damage, a Level 3 inspection will be conducted to assess the appropriate repairs and can cost $1,000 or more. Most CSIA-certified chimney sweeps will be able to perform these inspections.
An inspector may also suggest installing a carbon monoxide detector if your chimney has a non-vented fireplace. “We always recommend getting a carbon monoxide detector and installing at least one in the living room where the fireplace would be located,” says Fuson.
DIY vs. Professional Chimney Repair
Unfortunately, chimney repair isn’t typically a do-it-yourself (DIY) job. Most homeowners lack the equipment and experience to perform proper repairs, and improper repairs may cause further chimney problems.
Professional Chimney Repair
Chimneys are difficult to access and work on, which makes chimney repair professionals highly valuable. Not only will they take the risk of getting on the roof, but they’ll have the necessary tools to work inside the chimney itself. These are uncommon tools that most homeowners don’t have lying around. Additionally, professionals can ensure that all repairs are structurally sound.
DIY Chimney Repair
In addition to the risks of trying to repair a chimney yourself, the risk of accidentally causing further problems is high. A blocked chimney can allow carbon monoxide-containing smoke to build up in your home. A chimney that is spalling, or crumbling as a result of water damage, may collapse. It’s worth the extra labor costs to hire a professional chimney repair technician for all but the most cosmetic repairs.
How To Save on Chimney Repair
There are still ways to save on the overall cost of chimney repair even when hiring a professional.
- Keep up with regular maintenance and cleaning to extend your current chimney’s lifespan.
- Schedule your annual inspection and cleaning well before winter. Many chimney technicians will charge slightly less in the off-season.
- Call around and receive quotes from at least three professionals before making your choice. Be wary of any who give a much higher or much lower price than the others.
- Consider your options. Chimney replacement costs more upfront, but it may ultimately be cheaper than multiple chimney repairs over a few years.
- If your chimney needs repairing due to an event like a storm or earthquake, see if your homeowners insurance will cover the cost.
Chimney repair and replacement can be pricey depending on the extent of the problem, but if you use your fireplace, it’s very important. A functioning chimney will properly vent your fireplace smoke and keep external elements out while keeping your family and house safe. Keep up with your annual maintenance and hire a professional for all structural chimney repair jobs.
How To Hire a Professional
Hiring a professional chimney sweep or repair person is not substantially different from hiring any other type of contractor. Here are some tips.
- Look for a company certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. To receive certification, these contractors must be trained in proper safety and repair procedures.
- Make sure whoever is doing the work is bonded and insured to protect you, them, and your home.
- Look the company up on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website and customer review sites to get a feel for its ratings and reputation.
- If you need an inspection, ask for details such as whether it’s visual or camera-assisted. Make sure you’re getting the proper level of inspection for your needs.
- When getting an estimate, ask about all options: repair, rebuilding, and removal. Be sure to get a project timeline.
- Ask whether they offer any warranties or guarantees on their work.
FAQ About Chimney Repair Costs
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