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4 Major Types of Chimneys Used in Residential and Commercial Buildings

People have been building chimneys for more than 500 years. They have proven to be an efficient method for venting the toxic fumes produced in wood and gas-burning fireplaces and stoves. Whether you are a contractor building a new residential, commercial or industrial building or a homeowner remodeling an existing home, there are several different types of chimneys for venting liquid and solid fuel heating appliances. Since each one has its unique characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages, here is an overview of the four major types of chimneys.

 masonry chimneyMasonry Chimney

The majority of chimneys are of masonry construction for its strength, and durability. It’s the same type of material commonly used in residential and commercial buildings. There are three main types of masonry: brick, stone, and concrete block.

Brick chimneys are the most common type of all. And a well-built and maintained brick chimney can last for over 100 years. While strength and durability are certainly an advantage, its porous clay material is not. And without regular maintenance and waterproofing, the brick and mortar can crack and become dislodged causing the structure to eventually become unstable.

Stone chimneys are another popular type. While stone is also porous, its denser surface makes it more difficult for moisture to penetrate. And since no two stones are identical, each stone chimney is unique. Although it is more labor-intensive to construct a stone chimney, many homeowners find that its unique, custom appearance is worth the extra cost.

Concrete Block – Chimneys built with concrete-block are typically used in industrial applications and some single-family and multi-family residential buildings. One of its advantages is that it allows for taller chimneys. Also, the chimney can be customized for a single- or multiple- stack without being limited to a strictly rectangular design. Since concrete is prone to cracking, it needs to be well insulated.

Pre-Fabricated Chimney

Pre-fabricated chimneys give homeowners a look and feel of a traditional masonry chimney at a more affordable cost. Since they are produced in a factory and assembled on-site, home builders and homeowners don’t have the labor-intensive cost of hiring skilled masons for a site-built chimney. It also offers multiple options like brick, cement, and stone façades in a variety of shapes, colors, and styles to give the chimney a unique appearance.

Metal Chimney                                        

With its resistance to fire, water, and pests, metal is another excellent type of chimney. It has a wide variety of uses in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings that want a reliable and efficient chimney system without the high maintenance required for a masonry chimney. Its flexibility allows for some attractive modern and industrial designs that will make the chimney an impressive focal point of a home or commercial building.

Freestanding Heating Wood Stove

A chimney that is built for a fireplace is inefficient for a wood stove. Due to the laws of gravity, installing a wood-burning stove near the center of the home interior will maximize heating efficiency and reduce wasted energy. The stove pipe can be vented straight up the ceiling exiting through a custom-built masonry or pre-fabricated chimney near the roofline.

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