How to Build a Chimney (User’s Guide)

Chimneys are a necessary addition to any home, and can help keep your house warm by removing smoke from the fire burning in the fireplace. In this article, we will walk you through how to build a chimney that is up-to-code and safe for use. We’ll discuss what tools you’ll need and why it’s important to hire an experienced contractor if you don’t want to do it yourself.

Chimneys are a great addition to any home. They help keep the house warm in the winter, and cool in the summer. But before you can build your own chimney, there are some things that you need to consider.chimney

What is a Chimney and Why do I Need One?

A chimney is a structure that conducts flue gases from the combustion of fuel, such as wood stoves and oil furnaces. In order to heat your home efficiently with these appliances you must have a good working chimney system in place because it carries the fumes outside where they can escape into the atmosphere harmlessly rather than pouring through an open window or being drawn back into your living space in search for fresh air.

A chimney also allows for more of the heat produced by your heating appliance to flow into your home rather than escape up the flue due to no obstruction. A good working chimney can increase your efficiency and save you on energy costs. But first, before building a new one or repairing an old one, it’s important that you know how they work so that you have a better idea what will be involved in maintaining it once its built.

Chimneys are commonly made from brick but other materials such as steel may sometimes be used depending on the application. They usually range between four feet long with an inside diameter of 12 inches all the way up to 36-48 inches with diameters upwards of 24 inches being quite common sizes. The larger the size of your chimney, generally speaking, the more efficient it can be at removing dangerous gases and smoke because there is less pressure drop through the flue which means you will need to use fewer pots or stoves to heat your home.

Chimneys are divided into sections called “stages” that go from top (called throat) down towards bottom (called first stage). Numbers placed on each section represent how many feet away they are located from ground level. Stage heights range between zero all the way up to 30 feet with 15-20 being typical heights for residential properties across North America these days. Number one stage starts closest to roof line/throat where gas burning appliances connect and gradually decreases in height as it gets closer to the first stage which is where gas burning appliances are connected. There can be up to four stages for a chimney with the height of each being determined by manufacturers specifications that vary from model to model.

A few things you should know about different kinds of flues before we get too far along: The size and type (solid vs corrugated) of your stovepipe will determine how many sections your chimney has because they come in standard sizes and some may only require one while others may need two or more, depending on appliance manufacturer’s recommendations. Chimneys used for wood stoves typically have outside diameters ranging between eight inches all the way up to 12 inches, but maybe even larger depending on whether solid or corrugated stovepipe is used.chimney sweep

A few considerations you will want to keep in mind when designing and building your new chimney:

  • Make sure you have adequate space and airflow around your chimney to function properly by clearing away any flammable materials such as leaves or other combustibles within six feet of appliance, walls and roofing. Also make sure that there is no tree limbs hanging over top – this could pose a fire hazard if they become dry in the fall/winter season because they may catch on fire from sparks coming out of appliances. It’s also important not to use aluminum flashing when installing metal flashings/mantles to ensure proper draft at all times – so keep those steel shavings brushed off regularly! Otherwise, an excessive amount might accumulate which will cause smokey exhaust fumes inside your home.
  • The best advice you can get before building a chimney is to seek professional help from an expert if you are unsure of how to properly install one or have any questions regarding its use and function. There are so many different kinds of appliances out there, including wood stoves that come with their own specifications for installation which must be strictly adhered to in order for your home not only remain standing but also safe at all times! We hope this article has helped give you some insights into things like what kind of materials used when constructing the stack itself, what size stovepipe should be recommended by appliance manufacturers etc., as well as other important considerations needed in ensuring efficient ventilation/air flow throughout your property.
  • Chimneys typically range between four and six inches in diameter with nine being a standard size for stovepipe.
  • Seek professional help from an expert if you are unsure of how to properly install one or have any questions regarding its use and function.

Chimney Types

Build a chimney type that best fits your needs.

Pot Belly Stove Chimneys

Pot Belly Stove Chimneys are used for wood burning pot belly stoves, fireplace inserts and gas logs. They have an exterior brick wall with metal liner inside to protect the flue from high heat temps. If you plan on using just one appliance it’s important that you install a Category I or II stove pipe or Type L venting system for this particular application. This way there is no chance of backdrafting occurring when you use multiple appliances at once such as furnace and water heater in winter months; heating up your house during summer days (or nights); cooking food; boiling water; etc… With all these additional activities going on the added pressure can cause your chimney to backdraft.

The best location for a pot belly stove is in the basement, garage or on an exterior wall away from doors and windows.

For wood burning fireplaces

For wood burning fireplaces you can go with either clay tile or metal pipe style chimneys. With clay tile they are made of refractory bricks that are commonly used for masonry ovens, fireplace hearths and floors; they’re also applied as lining material inside precast concrete smoke chambers (used by most commercial manufacturers). The size of this type of flue ranges between 12 inches wide up to 24inches which will require 12 inch diameter stack/pipe installation behind it depending on height above roofline. On average these cylindrical shaped stone lined chimneys are about 14 feet tall.

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Metal pipe chimney

Metal pipe chimney systems made out of galvanized steel, aluminum or stainless steel can be used to suit your application needs. What’s great about these flue systems is that they have many benefits including being lightweight and easily portable; durable enough for windy conditions (allowing the possibility of using them outside); easy to handle when installing etc… Although metal doesn’t hold up well in extreme temps you should know that it has low heat conduction so there’s no chance of excessive heat transferring into your home which could cause damage especially if your appliance operates under high BTU/Hr ratings like pellet stoves, fireplaces or boilers.

Stovepipe chimneys

Stovepipe chimneys are made of carbon steel and are commonly found in pellet stoves, freestanding wood or gas fireplaces. These chimneys can either be round shaped (made out of single piece pipe) or sheet metal which is composed of various sections that stack together to form the exact height needed for your application. Stovepipe sizes range between 14 inches up to 30inches with larger diameters being used on appliances that have higher BTU/Hr ratings like boilers etc… This type of flue comes equipped with a damper inside so it’s important not install any additional dampers as they will cause backdrafting if installed next to each other.

For prefabricated fireplace inserts

For prefabricated fireplace inserts you want use Type B prefab chimney that has a single wall, double wall or triple wall; this will depend on the appliance you’re installing and whether it requires an exterior installation (where weather conditions can be harsh) or interior installation. Type B flues are usually made out of sheet metal so they’re very lightweight and easy to handle when trimming for length in order to meet your exact height needs.

With all these options there is no need to worry about safety as long as you know which type of system best suits your application needs.

How to Build a Chimney

Step One: Determine the type of chimney you need

There are three different types depending on your space and desired use. The first is a prefabricated, pre-plastered chimney that can be used right out of the box for wood burning stoves or fireplaces with gas logs (if it has an opening for them). These may look like traditional masonry brick but they are much lighter because their core is made from insulating materials—usually fiberglass, ceramic wool or mineral wool insulation. They come in one size but you usually don’t have to worry about cutting these down since they fit within standard stud framing dimensions – that’s why some people call this a “stud wall” chimney.

Step Two: Prefabricated chimneys

The second type of prefabricated chimneys are made from heavier materials, popularly clay or concrete block with insulation sandwiched in between two layers of cement mortar. There is no interior liner for this kind—just the insulating material and a facing. If you want to use these outside (for example, if you’re building an outdoor fireplace), they will have to be protected by stucco or stone because they can absorb water which would freeze inside them causing damage over time (and not just during winter). These types may also need some cutting down depending on your area but usually only at the top where it attaches into the framing studs above. You can buy adjustable flue liners for these types of prefab chimneys.

Step Three: prefab brick or block chimneys

The third type requires a little more construction because you are building the interior liner yourself using fire clay boards, cement board or steel. You can use bricks if you want but they don’t provide much insulation so it’s not recommended unless your area is very dry and there isn’t too much heat loss through the exterior walls—and even then, you might get away with fiberglass insulation instead of ceramic wool (which would be better). These kinds of prefab brick or block insulating liners have to fit perfectly into stud framing dimensions since that holds them in place vertically while their mortar bed keeps them from shifting horizontally – this will prevent cracks over time. For this reason, it’s best if you use the same type of material for your insulating liner as what you used to build the prefab chimney. You can also buy adjustable flue liners for these types of prefab brick or block chimneys.

Step Four: how high up each one will be mounted in your home?

Once you’ve decided on a type, it’s time to choose where and how high up each one will be mounted in your home. The first option is on an outside wall either at ground level or second floor height (where there are no obstructions above). This would work well with all three types—if they need some cutting down, this gives you access from both sides without needing to get into attic space that could be difficult to reach anyway since most attics are not well insulated. The second option is to use the prefab chimneys inside your home—one on each level if you have two stories, or one on a single story building with at least an open loft above it for all of them. This would work best with type three since these are the only ones that allow access from both sides without cutting into interior walls – they can be mounted directly onto wall studs wherever there’s room but should project about six inches beyond any obstacles like windowsills to prevent water damage and rot over time due to leaks.

Step Five: check local codes

Once you know where they will go, check local codes regarding how high up in your space they need to start projecting insulation materials stop being effective. That’s usually about three to four feet up, depending on your area and its climate. This is the only time (in most areas) where you will need a building permit since these prefab chimneys are considered ‘additions’ or extensions of your home—not stand-alone structures like sheds or other outbuildings.

Step Six: install them if they’re readymade

Finally, it’s time to install them if they’re readymade – just attach each one into the stud framing with galvanized nails that won’t rust over time (you can also use screws but then you’d have to fill in holes later). If you built your own liner be sure there aren’t any gaps between boards for air leakage which could cause smoke backdrafting and carry dangerous gases into living areas. You can use mortar to fill in spaces between boards or if you used bricks, stack them tightly and then seal the ends with a good quality caulk (not water-based) which will also prevent shifting over time. If there is no insulation like ceramic wool at all – use steel wool instead since it won’t burn up as easily if exposed to high heat from flames or sparks; this will allow for easier cleanups too because wood chips and other debris fall right through it and don’t smolder inside your chimney system before burning out.

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Step Seven: proper air circulation

Don’t forget that all prefab brick/block insulating liners need proper air circulation around them so they don’t overheat and crack. This means that if you use ceramic wool, make sure there is a gap of at least one inch between it and any nearby surface – for example the top edge should be flush with the brick or block but leave enough space for air to flow up behind it so hot gases can escape from inside your flue system instead of building pressure against insulation materials which could cause them to fail over time.

Step Eight: short-term heat output

Remember too that prefab chimneys are designed for short-term heat output only since they don’t actually burn anything (unlike wood stoves) – you won’t get any benefit from cooking food on them either unless it’s just boiling water in a cast iron pot hung above their openings like an old-fashioned hobo stove that many campers still use. If you want to cook food make sure your kitchen range is actually vented outside through a proper chimney lining system which also has an air control damper at its top opening since these are designed for short-term output only and will overheat if left on too long without one.

Step Nine: start planning for the first fire of autumn!

Now it’s time to start planning for the first fire of autumn! Make sure everyone knows how to build a proper fire in each type of prefab fireplace/chimney you have – especially kids who might not understand about hot embers or sparks flying out into living areas where they could burn carpets, drapes, clothes…or even people! Also think about what you’ll be burning – will it be seasoned hardwood or softwoods like pine, fir and cedar? Are you going to use artificial logs made of wax, compressed sawdust pellets or wood chips from a local mill specifically designed for your type of prefab fireplace/chimney system? If so, they will need dry kindling placed inside under them before lighting the fire to get a good blaze started.

Step Ten: terms of safety precautions

Once you have everything ready in terms of safety precautions and planning ahead about what kinds of materials you’ll burn in which type(s) of prefab chimneys don’t wait too long before starting that first autumn fire! After all that work putting ’em up this fall wouldn’t want winter snows rolling in before you actually get to use them!

Other Considerations for Building a Chimney

  • You have to consider some other factors as well. For example, you should take into consideration the height from which it will be used and how much heat is required for your home or business. In addition, if you are planning on adding a stovepipe damper, then this needs to be factored in before beginning any building project too. Furthermore, there are certain rules that must be followed when using an open fireplace chimney since carbon monoxide poisoning can occur quite easily. You also need to know what type of work permit may be needed depending on where you live and whether or not inspections will need to happen at different stages during the process too (such as with electrical appliances).
  • Also note that in most cases people do not build their own chimneys due to the very specific requirements that must be met in order for it to function properly. If you are not comfortable with trying this yourself then consult a professional instead (such as your local fire department).
  • Be sure to check with your local building authority before beginning any construction work.
  • It is always best for you to hire a professional if you are not comfortable doing it yourself first.
  • We recommend hiring an expert instead of attempting the job by yourself.
  • If you do decide to build one, make sure that there will be enough height above where it needs to go and what type of appliances should be used along with other specifications too (such as inspection requirements).
  • Do not take on this kind of project without knowing ahead of time whether or not certain permits may need to happen during various stages either since carbon monoxide poisoning can occur easily otherwise.
  • In order for the fire to burn efficiently, it’s best if there is an opening at the top that provides a way for smoke and fumes from inside your house to exit into the open air. Your chimney should be tall enough so any debris doesn’t fall back down again which could block up the flue before you have a chance to clean out anything stuck in it. But don’t make it too tall because heat rises and longer passages work against its efficiency by slowing down diffusion rates within them.

Environmental Protection Agency Homeowner Guide

  • Gather all materials together. You will need: bricks, a drill and appropriate bit (about ¾ of an inch), first round brick to use as your top capstone for the chimney, mortar adhesive – make sure you buy this at least one day before starting on your project so it has time to set up; fireproof insulation board; masonry nails or screws; safety glasses and protective face mask (if desired); trowel if using mortar adhesive.
  • Decide whether or not you want to build a chimney from bricks, stone, concrete block, metal or some other material. If so, make your selection accordingly and purchase all necessary materials before starting the project.

Safety Tips

  • Use tools safely and sanely. This is something we should all practice life in general but it’s especially important when you’re working so closely with fire! You can easily get burned or burnt which could cause serious injuries to your body, even death if things go wrong too quickly for help to arrive on time. There are many ways to prevent this from happening such as keeping the right safety gear handy at all times (gloves, boots, eye protection). Also be aware of what other people around you may be doing and don’t take risks just because “it’s cool” – it’s not cool if someone gets seriously injured or worse over incredibly stupid mistake that could have been prevented if you just took the time to think through your actions.
  • Never leave a fire unattended. Use tools safely and sanely. This is something we should all practice life in general but it’s especially important when you’re working so closely with fire! You can easily get burned or burnt which could cause serious injuries to your body, even death if things go wrong too quickly for help to arrive on time. There are many ways to prevent this from happening such as keeping the right safety gear handy at all times (gloves, boots, eye protection). Also be aware of what other people around you may be doing and don’t take risks just because “it’s cool” – it’s not cool if someone gets seriously injured or worse over incredibly stupid mistake that could have been prevented if you just took the time to think through your actions. – Never leave a fire unattended.
  • Have an escape plan and never light a chimney with anyone below it! This is one of those things we take for granted, but again safety gear such as gloves and boots can help avoid serious injuries from slipping on ice patches or uneven ground. You don’t want to fall into the hot coals either so keep this in mind when creating your escape route. If there’s no way out simply wait until all embers are cold before attempting any further action unless otherwise directed by authority figures (firemen). Don’t assume because they’re not telling you to get out of there means it’s safe, they know what you don’t and are likely working on getting the fire put out in a timely manner.
  • Light your chimney with utmost care. Again be aware of others around you when lighting anything that can cause serious damage to property or people if not done safely; it’s also important to keep an eye on the wind direction since even something as simple as placing yourself between the source of ignition (matches) and fuel (wood/paper) could result in dangerous backdrafting causing injuries, burns etc.. Once again – use safety gear! If there’s no way out simply wait until all embers are cold before attempting any further action unless otherwise directed by authority figures (firemen). Don’t assume because they’re not telling you to get out of there means it’s safe, they know what you don’t and are likely working on getting the fire put out in a timely manner.
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How do I build a brick chimney?

It is important to learn the basics of building a brick chimney. You will need basic tools such as hammers, bricks and mortar for this project. The first step is laying two courses consisting of three common headers and eleven six inch blocks per course, perpendicular to your foundation wall (see images below). Next you need to lay another four full courses with stretchers or half-bricks between each block on both sides up until it reaches the top of the house. Then we recommend that you install one more header course at the top level before placing any inner lining material inside which could be metal or clay tiles depending on preference. This method creates an extremely sturdy structure that will last for years.

How long does it take to build a brick chimney?

It takes about one week (seven days) to complete this project if you work diligently and efficiently during the day. If you run into problems or issues, it may take longer than expected so be sure to have extra time set aside before starting work on your own building project!Is there any special equipment I should use when building my clay tile fireplace? You do not need much in terms of tools but we would recommend having basic carpentry/construction skills as well as some sort of security system since most likely children are going to want play inside once finished which is dangerous without proper supervision.

Do I need permits from the city to build a brick chimney?

The city usually does not require permits for this type of building project unless you are planning on making it bigger than normal or adding onto the house. However, we would recommend speaking with your local inspector to be absolutely sure before starting on any construction work yourself!

Do I need mortar when laying bricks for my clay tile fireplace?

You can choose to use mortar if you want but some people prefer using lime cement which is much easier and faster.

What is the first step of building a brick chimney?

The very first thing you need to do before even beginning on your project is to make sure that all of your measurements and materials are ready to go. This way, we can ensure that we start on time so as not to be held up by any problems or distractions along the way.

How many courses do I need when laying bricks for my clay tile fireplace?

Typically at least three full course levels consisting of six blocks per level will suffice depending on how high you want it but if in doubt four should always work just fine!

How high should I build my brick chimney?

This is an excellent question and there are many factors to consider, but typically around 18 feet or so for the first course level will work. Just remember that you can always go higher later on if needed!

Is it necessary to have a clay tile fireplace when building a brick chimney?

You do not need to use tiles in order to have one of these types of fireplaces but we highly recommend them since they look amazing as well as being quite effective at keeping heat inside your home during colder months.


You’re done! The chimney will be sturdy and the fireplace is ready for use. Your job isn’t finished yet, though. You need to maintain your newly built chimney in order to keep it working properly over time.