In rural areas such as North Wales real fires are a popular way of providing heat and providing a warm and cosy ambiance. Like all heating systems fireplaces also require regular maintenance and repair and because our customers live in rural areas we get a high demand for chimney lining services.
We specialise in chimney lining and have up to date technology for diagnosing the condition of chimneys and use up to date materials and methods to for relining and repairing them.
Why should I use a specialist to reline my chimney?
Chimneys and flues are subjected to intense heating and cooling cycles, condensation and aggressive chemical reactions caused by hot flue gases.
Above the roof line the chimney stack is exposed to the full force of the weather, houses in rural areas are more vulnerable to these forces and often require greater attention.
To withstand such conditions, maintenance and repairs need to be of the highest standard and done by specialists. Often badly executed work by unqualified contractors using inappropriate materials and ill-conceived methods result in damage to the character and fabric of the building, and may even be dangerous.
The most appealing focal point in any room must be the fireplace. Be it an open fire, closed stove, the leaping flames are the real heart of the home.
However, for any fire to work successfully, it must be connected to a sound chimney and correctly sized flue.
The functions of a chimney are to safely remove the products of combustion from the fireplace or appliance to outside without causing danger to the occupants of the house or setting the house itself on fire.
A chimney works because hot air rises and always moves from high to low pressure. Factors such as running the appliance at a very slow rate or cold air leaking into the flue, will cool the gasses and affect the performance of the chimney.
To keep the flue gasses warm, consideration must be given to the insulation value of the lining system chosen.
In houses built since the introduction of the 1965 Building Regulations, all flues must be built with liners during their construction. This is usually done with clay liners, which should last the life of the building.
However, in houses built prior to 1965, lining was less common. Flues were usually “parged” (rendered) on the inside with lime mortar. This parging suffers attack from acids and tars produced during combustion, and gradually deteriorates.
The flue is then in poor condition, often leaking fumes or tars into the walls or other parts of the building. Sadly, many houses built since 1965 suffer similar problems due to badly installed flue liners and need further attention.
Reasons for chimney lining
There are a number of reasons why an old chimney may need lining.
- The flue is leaking smoke and fumes into other rooms or parts of the building.
- Condensates or tar are seeping through the chimney walls causing staining, either inside or outside the building (a common problem with wood burning stoves)
- The flue is much too large for the type of fire or appliance being used.
- The flue is too cold, particularly if on an outside wall, and is not drawing properly.
- If the chimney was built since 1965, but with the liners fitted the wrong way up, tar and condensate leakage may occur.
- The old flue surface is eroded and rough, causing frictional resistance to the flow of the gasses resulting in poor updraught.
Methods of chimney lining
Several methods are available for inserting a lining into an existing flue. A brief list of these is as follows:
- Rigid sections of clay or refractory liner installed by cutting into the flue wall or by lowering down from the top of the chimney.
- Insulating concrete pumped in around an inflatable former by a specialist contractor.
- Flexible metal liner in a continuous length lowered down the chimney.
- Spray on coating by specialist contractor.
- Ceramic coating by specialist contractor
All of these chimney lining methods have some advantages and some drawbacks. Their suitability will depend on individual circumstances. Good professional advice on the most appropriate system is essential.
Before any new lining is installed it is essential to have the chimney thoroughly swept to remove all soot and tar deposits. This means with stiff polypropylene or steel scraper brushes. Preferably use a member of the National Association of Chimney Sweeps, who work to a Code of Practice and provide a certificate on completion.
In all cases it is advisable to use a system that has a recognised test approval and if a guarantee is offered it should be underwritten by insurance.