Chimney liners are an important component to any chimney one may come across. The liner serves a number of purposes. First, it controls the speed at which the heat moves from the chimney outside. An unlined chimney allows the heat to move quickly through increasing the risk of starting nearby woodwork ablaze. Second, a liner protects the masonry surrounds from creosote and other byproducts that can build from average use of the fireplace. A chimney liner traps the debris inside of it and lessens the exposure to outside areas. Lastly, chimney liners are important to increasing the overall efficiency of a fireplace unit by creating a perfectly suited flue for heat to rise through. Chimney liners come constructed in three main materials – clay, metal, and cement. A liners flexibility or lack thereof will be dependent on the materials it is constructed of. In this article, we will take a systematic approach to compare a rigid chimney liner to a flexible chimney liner.
When choosing between a flexible versus rigid chimney liner, homeowners will need to take into consideration a number of factors. Price, maintenance requirements, and ease of service and installation can all differ between the two. First, let’s discuss their difference in construction. Rigid liners are assembled from segments of pipe that is then installed into the flue. A flexible liner is constructed from a continuous section of corrugate tubing and is fashioned as it is installed in the flue itself
How your chimney is shaped will have a huge impact on which liner you choose. If the flue is offset from the fireplace or stove it is attached to than a flexible chimney liner would be the better option. If the flue is direct and squarely centered on the unit, homeowners may opt for a rigid chimney liner. Having the ability to bend and conform to its environment, the flexible chimney liner offers greater utility for unique configurations.
Homeowners will also want to be aware of the cost variance between a flexibly chimney liner and its rigid counterpart. The rigid liner is often less expensive as the materials used to construct it are more affordable. A flexible chimney liner involves more parts and materials in it construction. A flexible liner also requires more craftsmanship and labor to make a liner unique to the application it is needed for.
Lastly, the maintenance of the liner will also very between the two. Rigid liners are more prone to developing leaks because of how they are constructed. They feature shorter segments of multiple pieces of metal where divides can form. On the other hand, many rigid liners have a smooth service making them easy to clean. A flexible chimney liner has a corrugated surface making the sweep process a little trickier. As customer demand rises, many manufacturers are now offering smooth surface flexible chimney liners but often at a higher cost than their standard counterpart.