Keeping your fireplace and chimney properly maintained is essential to ensure the health and safety of your home and family. Unmaintained fireplaces are the leading cause of household fires every year. In fact, recent studies show that there are over 25,000 chimney fires every year in the U.S., and these fires are responsible for $125 million in property damage.
Elements like creosote build-up, damaged dampers, cracks in the chimney and even nesting critters are the main culprits when it comes to fire hazards. Having your fireplace and chimney inspected regularly can help ensure your home is free of these issues and help keep your family safe. However, if problems are identified during your inspection, it’s important to get them taken care of quickly.
What is the Average Cost to Repair a Chimney?
The average cost to repair a chimney depends on the type of material it is made of. Generally, there are three main types of chimneys: metal, prefabricated and masonry. While each type of chimney serves the same purpose, they have different nuances that impact the repair process and cost.
- Metal Chimney
Metal chimneys are a modern type of chimney that homeowners choose due to their strength and durability. While they are not as susceptible to cracks and damages as brick chimneys, metal chimneys are prone to rust, which can create an equally dangerous problem. Metal chimneys are also prone to exterior damage and dents from storms that can create further issues for the homeowner.
The price to repair a metal chimney varies depending on the maintenance required, however, the average cost ranges from $250 to $1200.
- Prefabricated Chimney
Also known as a factory-built chimney, a prefabricated chimney is manufactured at the factory and assembled on-site. The fireplace is essentially a firebox created with sheet metal and comprises stainless steel in the chimney material compound. The biggest issue with these chimneys is that the parts corrode over time.
Prefabricated chimneys are similar to metal chimneys in structure, so the repair cost is also the same, averaging from $250-$1200 depending on the maintenance needed.
3. Masonry or Brick Chimney
Noted as the most popular type of chimney, masonry chimneys are durable and offer additional warmth to other rooms in the house since the bricks absorb heat. While reliable, these chimneys need the most care and maintenance as they are more prone to cracks, erosion and creosote build-up.
As brick chimneys are more dependent on regular maintenance, the cost to maintain them is higher than other chimney types, averaging from $300 to $1500.
What is the Cost to Repair Chimney Parts?
While there are different types of chimneys, they all work in roughly the same way, meaning they all have similar parts. See the average cost to repair each chimney part below.
- Mortar: The mortar is a critical component in building the chimney’s outer walls and it protects the chimney from moisture. Weather and changing seasons wear heavily on mortar and often lead to necessary repairs. The average mortar repair cost ranges from $150 to $500.
- Flashing: A thin metal sheet that prevents water from entering your roof. Keeping the flashing intact is key to preventing water damage. The average cost to repair the flashing ranges from $200 to $300.
- Cap: As part of the top of the chimney, the cap prevents rain, snow, animals, and debris from entering the fireplace and keeps the embers and sparks contained. The average cost to repair a damaged chimney cap is $100-$250.
- Rotted wood: Many chimneys are wrapped with vinyl siding and wood trim that gets damaged due to excessive moisture or water, which can lead to rotting. Repairing rotted wood can cost between $200 and $500.
- Siding: Siding is the material that encircles the outside of the chimney and is primarily made of wood or aluminum. The most common causes of siding damage are heavy storms or general wear and tear. The cost of repairing the chimney siding ranges from $500 to $600.
- Flue: The flue carries exhaust from the fireplace to the outside of your house. A defective flue can hinder the airflow leaving your fireplace, enabling smoke and hazardous gases to enter your home. Repairing the flue is much more cost-effective than relining or resurfacing, ranging from $300 to $2000.
- Stack: This is the exterior part of the chimney that extends above the roofline. The chimney stack is constantly exposed to harsh weather conditions including heavy rains and intense heat. The stack is one of the more costly components of a chimney to repair and can range from $500 to $3,500.
- Smoke Chamber: This offers a safe passageway between the chimney liner and the opening of the firebox. It directs harmful gases, creosote, soot, and other matter away from the house via the chimney flue. Like other components, the smoke chamber is prone to damage from wear and tear, and the average cost to repair the smoke chamber ranges from $500 to $2,000.
- Crown: The crown is a concrete slab that covers the top of the chimney and protects it from rain, debris, snow, and other elements. It safeguards the brick and mortar from deteriorating and contains the sparks and embers within the fireplace. The cost to repair the chimney crown ranges from $750 to $1,000.
- Foundation: Arguably the most important component, the foundation is the chimney’s base that provides strength and durability to the entire chimney. It is also one of the most expensive parts of the chimney to repair with the average cost ranging from $1,500 to $3,500.
The best way to determine what kind of maintenance your chimney and fireplace needs is to schedule a Chimney and Fireplace Inspection with WIN Home Inspection. Your inspector will closely examine all the major and minor components of your fireplace and chimney to help identify if any maintenance or repairs are needed. Should maintenance be needed, your inspector will walk you through the next steps and answer any questions you may have.
What are the Most Common Chimney
Problems affecting the chimney and fireplace account for 48% of house fires during the winter months, which is why it is critical to have your fireplace and chimney inspected prior to use. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association recommends getting a chimney and fireplace inspection on an annual basis.
Here are the most common chimney issues:
- Creosote build-up
- Cracked bricks
- Damaged mortar
- Bad or missing chimney caps
- Cracks in the flue
- Chimney obstructions
- Rotting wood
These chimney issues can be identified and potentially avoided with a Fireplace and Chimney Inspection by a certified WIN home inspector. Our experts offer Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 inspections to ensure your fireplace and chimney stay secure and your home and family are protected.
What is the Fireplace and Chimney Repair Process?
It’s important to be proactive if repairs or maintenance are needed. Not only can repairing your fireplace and chimney keep you safe, but also can help extend the life of your fireplace and chimney and save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Here are some of the common steps in the chimney repair process:
- Fireplace and Chimney Inspection: The first step in the chimney repair process is to get a chimney inspection. The inspection will identify what type of maintenance is needed and help you decide what next steps need to be taken.
- Chimney Sweeping: If blockages in the chimney are identified, call in a chimney sweep to dispose of any blockages, debris or obstructions.
- Chimney Repointing: Chimney repointing eliminates damaged cement or mortar blocks and allows the professional to fill the area (cracks or joints) with a new mortar mix.
These are just a few of the steps a homeowner can take to repair their fireplace and chimney. After a Fireplace and Chimney Inspection with WIN, your insured inspector will walk you through the next steps in the repair process and help you decide how to best proceed. Click here to find your local WIN Home Inspector and schedule your Fireplace and Chimney Inspection.