Cracked Chimney Flue Tiles: Why it happens & how to fix it

The chimney, like any other part of the home, can have problems and defects which make it less efficient and safe to use.  One of the most common chimney ailments homeowners run into are cracked flue tiles.  When left untreated, this issue can wreak havoc on the home’s chimney system.  Cracked tiles can lead to dangerous gas leakage allowing carbon monoxide to seep into the home’s interior.  It can also allow deadly heat transfer to combustible materials in the surrounding areas increasing the risk of home fire.

Why It Happens
Cracked tiles often occur when heat is not evenly disbursed throughout the chimney.  This leads to unequal expansion of the tiles causing them to buckle, crack, or split.  Clay tiles are most prone to this problem because the material is unable to quickly absorb the heat.

How to Fix It 
When cracked tiles are found, the best way to remedy the situation is by lining or relining the chimney itself.  A stainless steel chimney liner is the preferred option among homeowners as it often comes with a lifetime warranty and typically never needs to be replaced.  Single clay flue tiles can also be installed to replace broken ones but will often crack again creating another safety hazard within the flue.  If damage is minimal, a product such as HeatShield® Cerfactory Flue Sealant can be used to fill the cracks.  A new liner though will offer the best protection while providing a more permanent solution.

Regardless of how you choose to address a cracked tile problem, hiring a professional sweep to do the work is important.   They have the expertise and knowledge to complete the often complex lining process while also ensuring the chimney is compliant with local fire codes.  For Chicago area homeowners, Lindemann Chimney Service is the trusted partner they turn to for all of their chimney needs.  Since 1969, they have been offering their customers quality chimney and fireplace installations and repairs.