Katy Elliott

A daily design journal about new england life, home decorating resources, and renovating a 257-year-old house in Marblehead, MA.

Getting Estimates For Chimney Repair

Posted on | July 8, 2010 | 17 Comments

The last few weeks we have been getting estimates for our chimney. The chimney as it comes out the roof needs repair and a possible rebuild. We also need a cap—right now it’s open to the sky. Who doesn’t like to know it’s raining when your in the living room?

The chimney rebuild is our biggest priority. It’s the first thing that needs to get done in our long list of big and expensive projects. Once the chimney is repaired we are hoping to get a new roof this fall.

We have three maybe four fireplaces in the house. We’ve never used any of them in fear the house will burn down. In addition to repairing the actual chimneys we also need liners or something similar. I’m hoping we can get the second floor fireplace working by the fall (above)—since it’s the only room that’s really close to getting done or should I rephrase; somewhat livable. I can deal with waiting for the others. The potential fourth fireplace is on our first floor. We assume it’s behind the blue wall but in what condition? I’m dying to bust down the wall to take a peek. The space is my someday dining room. I’ll report back on our progress once all the estimates come in. I know you’re all dying to know how much chimney repairs could cost. I heard a horror story recently of a homeowner getting an estimate for $80,000!

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17 Responses to “Getting Estimates For Chimney Repair”

  1. alexandra grablewski
    July 8th, 2010 @ 7:00 pm

    I love your blog and check it all the time as we’re renovating a house in Brooklyn NY. We just opened 5 fireplaces (had them newly lined, fixed the brick, and 4 built out to burn wood instead of coal, and the fifth for a wood stove), had the chimney’s rebuilt and capped, and got 4 marble mantles…all for about 19K (cash)….so don’t let anyone charge you 80K! That’s just crazy! And things should be cheaper out of the city–so don’t lose heart…
    Good luck!


  2. Katy Elliott
    July 8th, 2010 @ 7:53 pm


    That seems reasonable! I heard that crazy estimate through a friend. No idea what they actually needed done. Maybe they wanted the chimneys lined in gold?


  3. Sarah
    July 8th, 2010 @ 9:37 pm

    We are in the Midwest and had to have ours relined last year, although it is a newer house. We did the metal liner, instead of the kind that they pump in and expand around. Also added locktop dampers (a chimeny cap and damper all in one) to both chimneys. Had some tuckpointing done, too. Think we came in around $7k, but I’m guessing things are generally cheaper where we are. My parents have an 1840s farmhouse and Dad put the locktops on both of their chimneys. They are amazing at reducing heat loss, especially in older houses. I sound like I work for them : ) I don’t, we have just been doing whatever we can to green up our house.


  4. Erica
    July 9th, 2010 @ 6:33 am

    I had a couple of masons take a look at my chimneys — I have two stacks (six fireplaces, three on each stack). One stack has the central heating furnace vented through it, so I was told that I cannot have fires ever on that stack (it would set the furnace on fire and the house would blow up).

    Apparently, there’s a lot of building rubble down the other stack that would need to be cleaned out. All the fps are blocked in with cement, so it’s hard to know what’s back there. They were originally for coal stoves (some have the two holes still visible). It’s a four-storey 1872 townhouse(so the chimney stack is inside the wall between houses), and I was told it would be around $10k to get the one stack cleared out, lined, fixed up and have the fps unblocked (Springfield, MA).


  5. Gregory
    July 9th, 2010 @ 8:53 am

    Oh, what gorgeous mantles you have!


  6. Julieann/CreateGirl
    July 9th, 2010 @ 10:28 am

    wow amazing to have so many fireplaces in one house! Excited for you to see what is going on behind that blue wall! Good luck with the estimates!


  7. Celia
    July 9th, 2010 @ 10:40 am

    80K sounds like a lot! We are in South Georgia, but our house is 75 yrs old with five fireplaces. We are renovating and opening up some of these for use (hopefully) this winter. We only have one wood burning and the others were used for coal, so we’re having to possibly convert those later to wood burning, etc. We’ve had a few people look at our chimneys/fireplaces and it takes a lot of work. While it is EXPENSIVE… 80K still seems pretty high. Just make sure you get a few estimates/quotes and check their references, etc (which I’m sure you are!). Good luck and keep us posted. Love seeing the progress on your site! Good luck!!!


  8. El
    July 9th, 2010 @ 11:57 am

    Katie, Thanks so much for publishing this. It’s extremely informative to hear about the estimates.


  9. Katy Elliott
    July 9th, 2010 @ 5:03 pm

    Thanks for your sharing your stories!

    Our first estimate for a cap and rebuild of the chimney down through the roof a few feet came in at $4,500.

    I guess you need a mason for the rebuilding and a chimney sweeper to do the liners?

    I’ll report back once I know more…


  10. Mopar
    July 10th, 2010 @ 4:28 pm

    Did you not get the estimate from the guy who will do the work? In Brooklyn, we have people who specialize in old chimneys. It’s usually a one man operation with helpers. He does everything: Masonry, liners, removing and installing historic stone and wood mantles, caps, buying and selling mantles, you name it. So you wouldn’t normally hire a general type of mason and a sweep, no. Also, be careful. The chimney business is famous for fraudsters. You of course want to be safe and get someone who knows what they are doing, and who won’t charge you for unecessary work. Hopefully you can find a few referrals through word of mouth and get three bids from reputable people.


  11. mopar
    July 10th, 2010 @ 4:39 pm

    While we’re on the topic, does anyone know anything about how you use a fireplace and chimney in a kitchen to house and vent a stove?

    I just assumed you put the stove in and as long as the chimney was open and appropriately lined, the stove would vent through passive ventilation.

    But we had a chimney guy in to look at all our fireplaces, and he talked as if a vent hood is absolutely required. I was kind of confused by what he was saying. And I guess there is an actual duct that comes out of the oven and goes up the chimney — but our stove doesn’t have such a thing as far as I know. I didn’t really understand.

    I don’t like stove vents. I think they are really ugly. Has anyone ever looked into this or done it? Thanks.


  12. Ellen
    July 10th, 2010 @ 10:18 pm


    I find your blog beautiful and inspirational. I second what mopar wrote about finding a chimney expert that really knows the whole operation. We had simlar work done a few years ago on our 110 year old house: we did only the one liner that went to the furnace (due to cost), plus rebuilding the chimney from the top down to about 12 courses inside the attic, and a cap. The one firm did everything except the flashing (as they are not licensed roofer). I recall the total was about $7k. It’s a big and kind of messy job, so make sure you really like and trust who you are working with.

    Good luck!


  13. G
    July 10th, 2010 @ 11:40 pm

    mopar – your vent hood question puzzles me. What do you mean by “the stove would vent through passive ventilation”? If you accidentally burn dinner and you have smoke everywhere, it’s going to go up, which a vent hood would capture. What are you referring to as “passive ventilation” with no hood?


  14. nicole
    July 11th, 2010 @ 12:43 pm

    yep, i agree with other posters – find someone reputable and get lots of bids. i’ve used angie’s list to check out various contractors with good luck. we’re having the two fireplaces in our home looked at next week and i’ll report back with costs here in portland maine. might be pretty close to what you’ll be looking at in terms of cost.


  15. Mopar
    July 11th, 2010 @ 3:33 pm

    Passive ventilation means no fan. I believe regular chimneys use it to ventilate a fire in the fireplace. Or maybe there is some way to insert a fan in the chimney where you wouldn’t see it? I’ve seen photos of stoves in old chimneys without a vent hood, but I don’t know how they do it.


  16. Devon
    July 12th, 2010 @ 7:19 pm

    My goodness those chimneys are fantastic. Good luck with the chimney repairs. Our chimney is (literally) pulling down one side of our house. I’m terrified to even inquire about the $$ of fixing, etc. May you have good luck on this one…


  17. Michaela
    October 15th, 2012 @ 10:33 am

    Can anyone recommend a reputable company to do an inspection of the inside of our chimney plus repair some bricks and the concrete cap outside? We’re in Brooklyn and noticed some posters were as well.


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