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Glossary of Terms

Clean out Door

Used to remove creosote and other foreign matter from the chimney. The clean out door should be tightly sealed to prevent cool air from entering the chimney as this reduces proper drafting efficiency.


The unburned residue of wood found in smoke that accumulated inside stoves and flues. Its buildup creates a fire hazard because it's flammable.


Also called a Wash, is a sloped bed of mortar that helps shed rain water. When this crown is cracked or deteriorated then rain can be absorbed into the chimney and cause rapid deterioration.


A device to control the draft of a fire.


The chamber of a stove or fireplace where the fire burns.


A passage in the chimney for smoke and gasses to escape.

Flue Liner

A hollow length of fire clay made to line the inside of the flue.


A decorative shelf above the fireplace. May be made of wood, plaster, stone, cast iron or other decorative materials.


A layer of masonry that covers bricks. Sometimes tuck pointing the bricks is not a sufficient means to repair bricks, especially in the smoke chamber above the fireplace.

Rain Damage

Without a chimney cap rain would seek down into the firebrick breaking down the brick and mortar.

Smoke Chamber

The area above the fireplace and below the flue, used to allow smoke to mix and rise into the flue. Because smoke tends to linger here, large deposits of creosote often accumulate here.

Smoke Shelf

Assists in collecting small amounts of rain that may enter the chimney. Considerable creosote deposits may collect here. Also helps to prevent loss of heated air up the chimney.


A condition wherein clay tile flue liners chip or peel. This is most often due to moisture mixing with corrosive deposits. Spalling compromises the integrity of the chimney liner and its ability to contain chimney fumes


Sometimes called a "breach", a thimble is the passageway for a freestanding stove or furnace to connect to the chimney.

Tuck pointing

A masonry term that refers to repair of the mortar joints between bricks. When this mortar has weakened or started to fall out then bricks may become loose. Tuck pointing refers to installing new mortar between the bricks.


Fireplace: Cut-away view

cut away fireplace

Victorian Era Fireplace: Cut-away view (1892-1920)

Victorian Fireplace

Factory Built Fireplace

factory built fireplace