There’s nothing quite like snuggling up in front of the fireplace on a cold, rainy day during the holidays. And even if your home has been built without a fireplace, you don’t have to miss out on all the comforts it can provide. Nowadays, installing a fireplace or wood-burning stove is easy – and these need a functional chimney.
The most common type of chimney installed in the U.S. is the masonry chimney. Chimneys have different manufacturers, different models, and may be made of brick, concrete blocks, stone, mortar, concrete, flue tile, steel, and even cast iron.
Types of Chimneys
Although masonry chimneys are the most common, there are several other types of chimneys to consider including:
- fireplace insert
- wood stove
Masonry chimneys have various designs that can influence not only its installation but also repair cost. These are also the safest of all, having been tried and tested over the centuries. A masonry chimney has to be constructed professionally in order for it to function properly. There is a formula involved which considers factors like the height of the chimney and the diameter of the flue pipe.
How Much Does It Cost To Install a Masonry Chimney
If you are considering installing a new masonry chimney, we recommend getting in touch with some local professionals able to discuss all your options and offer you a free quote.
However, as with most home remodeling projects, there are some national averages that can be considered.
For example, the average national cost to install a chimney comes in anywhere between $2,350 – $11,250 for an average 30-foot chimney.
So it’s easy to see that there are many factors that could affect the overall installations cost, not including the size of the job at hand. Most consumers report a cost of roughly $90- $210 per sq. ft.
Installation can be a very time-consuming process and you are likely to require more than one professional working on the construction. Labor for a masonry chimney ranges between $80 – $95 per ft. Costs can also be affected by several factors, for example, when a more decorative exterior is required.
Signs That Your Chimney Needs Repairs
Many people make the mistake simply forgetting about the chimney as if it’s a worry-free part of the house. Nothing can be further from the truth. A damaged chimney can lead to serious problems.
Luckily, there are many signs that indicate that masonry chimney repair may be required:
Chimney crown damage
It will be necessary to go onto the roof and inspect the structure if your chimney crown has been damaged.
Once you notice pieces of chimney collecting in the fireplace, your flue is probably damaged. A chimney inspection should reveal the extent of the deterioration.
Spalling occurs when bits of masonry starts peeling off and collecting around the bottom on the outside of the structure. Once you notice bits that flake off, repairs are required before the chimney collapses.
When you look at your fireplace or damper, there should be no rust. If you do find rust, your chimney may be suffering from excess moisture. Visible signs of rust could be an indication of much larger damage.
Deteriorating mortar joints
Damaged mortar joints in your masonry chimney cannot be ignored for too long. If the damaged mortar isn’t repaired, the chimney will collapse. This is most common in colder regions with freezing weather where the moisture can freeze inside the masonry cracks.
Efflorescence is the white staining or discoloration of the chimney. Although easy to remove and clean, it doesn’t address the problem of moisture in the chimney. Once you notice efflorescence, repairs may be imminent.
Wallpaper near the chimney can also give away signs that you might be in need of repairs. Once it displays visible damage, or signs of moisture, it should not be ignored.
How Much Does It Cost To Repair a Masonry Chimney
With all the factors that can affect the cost to repair a masonry chimney, consumers report a national average of anywhere between $160 – $2,200.
For a few basic repairs, you could pay as low as $100, but you may be required to get in touch with a local professional to assess your situation and give you a clearer idea of the type of repairs you need.
Crown repairs can come in anywhere between $350- $750. However, there are many variables at play here and in extreme cases, you could be looking at as much as $3,000. On average, however, expect a price tag of between $750 – $1,000.
Masonry joints expand and contract as the temperature fluctuates. Over time, this leads to cracks. When in use, smoke and carbon monoxide, not to mention ash and embers, ends up inside the wall, leading to further deterioration. If you catch the problem early, you could repair some masonry cracks for anywhere between $175 – $300. If the damage is extensive, repairing masonry cracks in your chimney could be as much as $3,000.
If left untreated, spalling can lead to total destruction of your masonry chimney. Extreme deterioration may require repair of up to $3,000. But catch the problem early, and you could save and have some spalling repairs for $885 – $1,100.
When the mortar starts crumbling, you may not need to replace the bricks if you act fast. Re-mortaring is a more affordable option and can cost anywhere between $2 – $3 per sq.ft. On top of that, you can expect $40 – $55 per hour in labor.
Get in Touch With Local Professionals
There are many factors to consider when it comes to your masonry chimney. It’s not something that can simply be ignored once you start to notice the problem. But as with most home remodeling or repair projects, the only way to get a more accurate idea of what you should be paying is by comparing estimates from local professionals in your area. Not only does this give you the opportunity to compare costs, but also the chance to discuss your options with an expert.