Chimney Cap Installation
Chimney Caps are a Must-Have for Any Residential Wood Stove or Fireplace
A chimney cap protects your chimney, flue lining, and fireplace or stove from animals and the elements. It also safeguards your roof and surrounding buildings against fire damage caused by burning embers. Most cities and towns require a chimney cap, so installing one usually isn't a matter of choice. With caps available to fit any size flue and chimney, including decorative models that go above and beyond basic protection, finding one that suits your taste, needs, and budget should be a snap.
Chimney Cap Materials
Chimney caps must withstand severe weather, heat, and smoke damage. Because of this, they're made with tough and durable materials, including the following:
- Galvanized Steel: Generally the cheapest option available, these caps can be painted to match your home's decor.
- Stainless Steel: Stainless steel chimney caps hold up better than galvanized units against rust and the elements, often lasting 30 years or more.
- Aluminum: While similar to caps made from galvanized steel in terms of cost and durability, aluminum models tend to be nicer-looking.
- Copper: In addition to being beautiful, these cap models are the most durable available; most manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty.
Mounting Chimney Caps
Caps are mounted in several different ways. If the flue extends past the chimney base far enough, a popular method is to use screws applied on the base angle of the cap to tighten it against the flue. If you have an unlined chimney or the flue isn't tall enough, interior mounting models are available. Manufacturers also provide mounting brackets and lag bolts if neither of these options are feasible.
Most chimney caps are top-mount models that attach directly to the flue. Special draft-increasing and custom caps are available for systems that experience trouble with updrafts or require a nonstandard-size chimney cap.
Why Should I Get a Chimney Cap?
- Birds, squirrels, and rodents are attracted to the heat of your chimney and without a cap, animals can build nests inside. This poses a serious fire hazard.
- Without caps, embers from your fire could stray from the chimney and set your roof, a neighbor's roof, or other objects on fire. Chimney caps are sometimes called "spark arrestors" for this reason.
- Keeping rain and snow out of your chimney is a must. When water mixes with creosote, it erodes brick and mortar, creating a fire risk.
- Draft problems can be solved with a draft increasing chimney cap. Such caps use wind to maximize updraft and minimize smoke inside the home.
Chimney Cap Costs
Chimney caps that can accommodate round flues, square flues, or even multiple flues are widely sold. The prices below are based on a typical top-mount chimney cap.
- A galvanized steel chimney cap should cost between $200 and $350, including installation.
- Stainless steel chimney caps typically cost $300 to $600 installed.
- Aluminum caps cost about the same as galvanized steel units; expect to pay $200 to $400 with installation.
- Copper chimney caps are generally more of a high-end option; prices including installation can be as much as $2,000.
- Custom size chimney caps can add anywhere from $100 to $500 to the above costs.