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Chimney Overstacking

Terra cotta flue tiles were added to the top of this chimney without building up the appropriate supporting brick work surrounding it.

Terra cotta flue tiles were added to the top of this chimney without building up the appropriate supporting brick work surrounding it.

Often, when a fireplace is spilling smoke into the home rather than drawing smoke up the chimney, the first conclusion most people reach (including some ill-educated chimney sweeps) is that the height of the chimney must be extended. Admittedly, making a chimney taller is sometimes the correct solution to a smoking problem, but the height of the chimney must be extended properly!

“Overstacking” is when someone attempts to extend the height of the chimney by simply adding terra cotta flue tiles to the top of the chimney, without building up the appropriate supporting brickwork surrounding it!

These over-extended flue tiles are a potential danger as the exposed mortar loses its adhesive qualifies over time.

These over-extended flue tiles are a potential danger as the exposed mortar loses its adhesive qualifies over time.

Folks often mistakenly assume that a little mortar between the top and bottom flue tiles will be adequate to hold the overextended flue tiles in place indefinitely, but this is not the case! It is only a matter of time before the mortar turns to sand, loses it’s adhesive qualities, and a precariously-perched overstacked flue tile comes tumbling down…..onto whatever may be below at that given moment! The unfortunate recipient of a falling flue tile could be your roof, your car, or your head! In any case, it wouldn’t be good because flue tiles are HEAVY, hard, and shatter like glass with very sharp edges!

If your chimney has been overstacked, either the bricks also need to be extended up to properly surround and support to the overs tacked flue tiles, or the overstacked flue tiles must be removed for safety purposes!

AtoZ's chimney sweeps are experts at extending the height of your chimney's brickwork in order to properly support the terra cotta flue tiles.

AtoZ’s chimney sweeps are experts at extending the height of your chimney’s brickwork in order to properly support the terra cotta flue tiles.

A new crown is poured once the bricks are extended in order to hold the top flue tile safely in position for years to come.

A new crown is poured once the bricks are extended in order to hold the top flue tile safely in position for years to come.

Waterproofing your chimney can save you future damage and repairs, so check with A to Z tofind out more about this important chimney repair before it’s too late!

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I just wanted to thank you for your expert advice at my last chimney cleaning. We were looking to purchase and install a new wood stove in order to keep our home warmer during the winter, and although it wasn’t directly related to having our chimney swept, your technician took a lot of time to go over several features and designs that were good, and told me several things to watch out for when purchasing a new wood stove.

Needless to say, I could tell this guy knew what he was talking about! It was nice getting an impartial opinion from someone who works with wood stoves all day long!

Suffice it to say that when our new wood stove is installed, we’ll continue to have A to Z out to clean it! You guys are awesome!

~ Allan Stuckin, Fair Oaks, CA
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