How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Chimney?

By Timothy Moore · November 01, 2023 · 8 minute read

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How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Chimney?

The cost to replace a chimney ranges from $1,000 to $15,000, depending on the type and size of the chimney. You can install a smaller or prefabricated chimney for $1,000 to $5,000, but a full masonry chimney replacement cost can reach $15,000.

Below, we’ll explain new chimney cost factors, break down labor and materials expenses, discuss financing options, and help you determine if you might be able to replace the chimney yourself.

Chimney Replacement Costs: An Overview

How much does a chimney replacement cost? Anywhere from $1,000 to $15,000. A full chimney replacement is on the higher end of that range while a partial replacement — or a basic prefab chimney installation — is on the lower end.

In some cases, it might be possible to repair the chimney instead of replacing it. Chimney repair costs typically range between $1,000 and $3,000, though it varies depending on the extent of the damage.

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Full Chimney Replacement

A full chimney replacement costs between $5,000 and $10,000 — or up to $15,000 in some cases. Prefabricated chimneys are the lowest-cost option. You’ll pay moderate prices for a metal chimney and the highest prices for a brick chimney.

Partial Chimney Replacement (Rebuild)

You may only need to replace part of a chimney, like the stack, which extends above the roof. In other cases, you may need to pay for the repair of specific elements, like collapsing mortar, a damaged chimney crown, or a cracked flue.

Partial chimney replacement costs may top out at $5,000 while repair typically ranges between $1,000 and $3,000 per job.

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Chimney Installation Labor Cost

Labor makes up a large portion of the cost to replace a chimney. Depending on your geographic location, if you can reach the chimney by ladder or you need scaffolding, and the type of chimney being installed, labor rates may range from $50 to $150 an hour for an experienced mason.

You will usually need to hire a structural engineer before the mason can begin their work, which adds to your overall labor costs. Depending on where you live, that can cost around $500.

Chimney Installation Material Costs

Material costs vary depending on the type of chimney being replaced, rebuilt, or repaired. Prefab chimneys have lower material costs while masonry chimneys require more expensive materials like bricks and mortar.

Chimney Installation Cost Financing

Paying for a new chimney — or even a more basic chimney repair — can be difficult on a tight budget. If you don’t have the money in emergency savings, you can explore other options like:

•  A payment plan with the contractor: Ask the contractor if they can set you up with a payment plan over a set number of months, rather than requiring the full payment all at once. Costs may be higher if you go this route.

•  A credit card: Some contractors will let you pay with a credit card but be careful. Your credit card may have a high APR, and if you can’t afford to pay the full bill at the end of the month, you could end up paying a lot of interest, which will make the new chimney even more expensive.

•  A home improvement loan: Home improvement loans are a low-cost option for homeowners. These personal loans typically have a lower interest rate than your credit card, and you can choose repayment terms — often three to five years — that make sense for your budget. A personal loan can be a cost-effective way to pay for common home repair costs.

•  Home equity loans: Homeowners can also tap into their home equity with a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC).

Before you decide on the best financing option, you will want to compare the difference between home equity loans vs. home improvement loans.

Can I Replace the Chimney Myself?

A chimney replacement requires special skills and training. A lot can go wrong if you install or repair a chimney incorrectly. It could become a fire hazard or potentially collapse. No matter your DIY skills, we highly recommend hiring a qualified mason to tackle all repairs and replacements.

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What Factors Impact a Chimney Replacement Price?

Several factors can impact your overall chimney replacement cost, including:

•  Permits needed: You’ll almost always need to get a permit for larger chimney replacement projects. Permit costs vary depending on your state and municipality.

•  Level of work required: Wholesale chimney replacements cost significantly more than minor work. For example, chimneys may just require some repointing or tuckpointing to keep them in good shape, or you may need to replace the crown or cap or only rebuild the stack. If you have to replace the whole chimney, it may require demolition, which can be expensive. Talk with your contractor about the extent of the work to get a better idea of the total chimney installation cost.

•  Type of chimney: Prefab chimneys are the most affordable to install. You’ll spend more to replace a metal chimney, but the most expensive type of chimney to replace is a brick one.

•  Size and location: Larger chimneys will cost more to replace than small ones. Chimneys that are easy to access (by ladder, for example) are also more affordable to repair or replace. If the positioning of the chimney makes it harder for the contractor to access, labor costs will be higher.

Signs Your Chimney Needs to Be Replaced

How do you know when it’s time to replace your chimney? Here are a few signs to watch for:

1.   Crumbling brick: If the brick is visibly crumbling or deteriorating, call a mason quickly to determine the extent of the damage and begin the repair or replacement work.

2.   Leaks: If your chimney is the source of leaks (look for water damage to the surrounding walls and ceiling), it’s time to call a contractor to look at it.

3.   Cracks: It’s good practice to have your chimney inspected each year. During the inspection, the contractor will look for large cracks. These could be a sign that it’s time to repair or replace the chimney.

The Takeaway

Chimney replacement costs can range from $1,000 to $15,000 — it’s not a cheap project, but luckily, it’s also not a common one. Get your chimney inspected every year, and keep up with regular maintenance and cleaning. Unless there’s unexpected storm damage or the chimney is old, you may not have to replace the chimney the entire time you live in your home.

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How long does it take to replace a chimney?

Basic chimney repairs can be quick: A professional should be able to repair a partially damaged chimney in one to four days. Significant damage may lead to longer timelines — in some cases, it might take weeks or even months to repair and rebuild a chimney.

Can I replace my chimney myself, or do I need to hire a professional?

Replacing and repairing a chimney requires specialized knowledge, skills, and equipment, not to mention physical strength. If you make even a small mistake when replacing your chimney, you might accidentally cause a leak, inadvertently create a fire hazard, or build a structurally unsound chimney that could collapse. Always hire a professional for this work.

What qualifications should I look for in a chimney replacement contractor?

When looking for a contractor to work on your chimney, always confirm that they are licensed and insured. You should also verify that they’re certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

Ask the contractors if they offer warranties or guarantees for their work and read reviews online to make sure they provide quality services. You can also ask them for references.

How do I compare quotes from different chimney replacement contractors?

Before getting quotes from any chimney replacement contractors, read online reviews and ask the contractors about their licenses, insurance, and certifications. Only get quotes from qualified contractors.

When comparing quotes, look not just at the overall cost but also the timeline to ensure they can replace your chimney quickly, if needed. Also verify what is and isn’t covered in the quote. For example, has the contractor included the necessary permits, or is that a separate cost not part of the estimate?

You’ll also want to ask about their payment schedule and how they prefer to be paid (cash, check, or credit card, for example).

Are there permits or inspections required for chimney replacement, and how much do they cost?

When replacing a chimney, you almost always will need to get a permit and an inspection. The costs will vary depending on where you live, but you might pay up to $500 for an inspection by a structural engineer, and permits can reach $150.

How often should I replace my chimney, and what factors affect its lifespan?

A well-built chimney should last several generations of homeowners. In theory, you may never need to replace your chimney (but regular inspections are a good idea). If you do replace your chimney, you likely won’t need to replace it again as long as you’re in that house.

That said, certain elements may need to be repaired or replaced more frequently. Chimney liners, for instance, last 15 to 20 years, and mortar lasts 25 to 30 years.

Extreme weather, like high and low temperatures, hail, and earthquakes, may shorten a chimney’s lifespan, as can exposure to water. As your home settles over time, it may also lead to premature cracks in your chimney.

What are the risks of not replacing a chimney that is in disrepair?

If you ignore the signs that it’s time to replace or repair your chimney, you’re exposing your home to a lot of risk. Water could more easily get into your home, leading to mold and mildew. Walls, ceilings, and floors could deteriorate over time, and the inner workings of your chimney would be exposed to rust. Eventually, your chimney might collapse, leading to much more expensive and extensive structural damage to your home.

Photo credit: iStock/AntonioSolano
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