Metal chimneys are not always more expensive than masonry chimneys but, in the large sizes, they tend to be. When installed within a wooden chase, metal chimneys take up more room, invite maintenance problems, don't look as good and don't last as long as masonry chimneys. No matter what you do to camouflage a metal chimney, it's still perceived as a fake chimney in the words of architect, Jeremiah Eck. And you can't add a Clay Chimney Pot or an unlisted Decorative Shroud on top of a metal chimney.
So, why would anyone use a metal chimney to vent a masonry fireplace?
There are only two - well three - legitimate reasons we can think of.
Other reasons for specifying metal chimneys are usually based on false assumptions. Here are some facts:
- Didn't plan ahead and have to support the weight of the fireplace and chimney on the third floor without having built a proper masonry foundation.
- Have to offset the chimney fourteen feet and, again, haven't constructed a masonry foundation to support the chimney.
- Really like the high-tech look of a bare stainless steel chimney.
(There's no accounting for taste.)
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- Masonry chimneys are often less expensive than large metal chimneys in wooden chases.
- Masonry chimneys last 100 years longer than metal chimneys.
- Masonry chimneys are permitted by code and perform well in seismic areas (see "Seismic Issues And Masonry chimneys")
- Masonry chimneys take up less space and are easier to squeeze into smaller spaces.*
*Generally, metal chimneys are not as "flexible" as masonry chimneys. That may sound oxymoronic but you can slope a masonry chimney at any angle up to the code limit of 30 degrees whereas metal chimneys are generally limited to 15 deg and 30 deg angles. And you can build a masonry chimney smaller in one direction by building it larger in the other - for example, if a 16"x16" flue (24"x24" chimney) won't fit between trusses on 24" centers, you could build a 20" by 28" chimney that would fit with a 12" by 20" flue made from two 12"x12" flues with the sides cut out to make a single, two-part liner.
Add to that "flexibility" the fact that masonry generally costs less than large metal chimneys and it lasts 100 years instead of 20 years, and you have a clear choice in favor of masonry.
- And finally, you can't add a Clay Chimney Pot or an unlisted Decorative Shroud on top of a metal chimney.
Metal Chimney Detail
Buy a Metal Chimney anyway
Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
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