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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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Dear A to Z,

I just wanted to thank you for your honesty and for a thorough inspection of my chimney. One of the biggest concerns I have when hiring service professionals is being taken advantage when not having first hand knowledge of the various procedures. Last year when I had my chimney swept by one of your competitors, they claimed that I had a chimney fire, and that my flue was now cracked and needed extensive repairs.

This year, I hired A to Z to come out and sweep and inspect the flue because I heard they inspect the chimneys with a Chim Scan camera at no additional charge. The technician who came to my home, assured me I would be able to see any cracks or hazardous conditions along with him as he video scanned my flue. To my utter delight, NO EVIDENCE OF A CHIMNEY FIRE OR DAMAGE IN MY FLUE WAS DETECTED!!! Chris was extremely detailed in his inspection and really took his time educating me so I could feel comfortable. It was obvious that he knew what he was talking about and truly interested in doing the right thing…a far cry from last year’s experience with the other company. If anyone asks for an HONEST, COMPETENT, AND PROFESSIONAL chimney sweep company, I'll be sure to recommend A to Z!

~ Ms. Randi Scott, Lincoln, CA
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