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Every part of your chimney plays an important role in the safety and functionality of your home’s fireplace. The lining of your chimney, though often ignored, is one of the most important safety systems in your chimney. It’s important to know the strengths and weaknesses of the different types of liner material for your Alexandria, VA, home.

Terracotta Chimney Liners

Terracotta chimney liners, often referred to simply as tile chimney liners, have been popular since the 1800s. Many homes in the area that still have their original chimney come standard with these tile liners. However, terracotta is brittle and tends to crack under rapid expansion and contraction. More importantly, the liner is typically made of two-foot-long sections of liner, which mortar joins together. Over decades of repeated heating and cooling and exposure to the elements, these mortar joints wear away and fall out, allowing flammable creosote to get behind the liner where you can’t clean or assess it. This is an all-too-common situation that greatly increases the chance of a chimney fire, even when a fireplace has been recently swept, and increases the risk of that fire spreading to the home.

Stainless Steel Liners

Stainless steel liners are the most popular solution for replacing or upgrading older terracotta liners. Since stainless steel liners come in one large piece, you don’t have to worry about creosote getting through the seams and building up behind the liner. Stainless steel is also able to withstand higher temperatures without the risk of cracking and other damage.

Which is Better?

Over the years, our team has seen all sorts of damaged chimneys in the area. Due to its ability to withstand high temperatures without cracking or bending, stainless steel is a vastly superior liner. While terracotta liners may be cheaper, they have a much shorter lifespan, even when well cared for, and there’s really no way to replace them once they sustain damage.

Your chimney liner is one of the most important parts of your home. A cracked and weakened chimney can create several issues pertaining to both safety and functionality. Call Rooftop Chimney Sweeps today to find out how we can repair or replace your existing chimney liner and meet the rest of your home’s chimney and fireplace needs.

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