What is best chimney cap to install?
Let’s breakdown the best chimney cap to install types, styles, materials, and installation.
There are many types of chimney caps. You must first determine what type of fireplace your chimney is venting.
Does it burn wood or gas? Do you have a factory built fireplace system or a man made masonry system. This is important because a factory built fireplace system may require only manufacturers listed parts but allow for a custom shroud. The code to install a chimney cap for a man made wood burning masonry fireplace and chimney is strict to the fabricated dimensions.
Here is a list of types of chimney caps:
- Flue Caps
- Custom Chimney Caps (full coverage)
- Down Draft Prevention Caps
- Termination Caps
- Termination Cap with Dampers
- Top Mounted Damper Caps
- Multi Flue Caps
- Chimney Chase Covers
Chimney caps are made of steel, stainless steel, copper, prep ready to be painted steel, colored steel, and galvanized steel.
The benefits to have a chimney cap are:
- Provides a roof over the chimney flue to keep out rain.
- Protects the chimney flue from moisture.
- Prevents rusting and deterioration of the fireplace components.
- Stops critters and birds from entering the chimney flue.
- Custom Chimney Caps, Chimney Chase Covers, and Shrouds protect the chimney crown and the first row of brick.
- Can upgrade the exterior appearance of the structure
Factory Built Chimney Cap
Chimney chase covers, UL Listed termination caps, termination caps with dampers, shrouds, and down draft prevention caps are all caps for a prefabricated flue system. Every prefabricated chimney requires a chimney chase cover per NFPA 211.
NFPA 211: Standard for Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents, and Solid Fuel-Burning Appliances is the source for all chimney and fireplace city and state codes. Chimney caps should be installed strictly to the NFPA 211 codes.
The only exception to not installing a chimney chase cover is if a chimney is not present. A pipe only penetrates the roof and is not encased in a chimney
Chimney Chase Covers
Every factory built fireplace system with a chimney requires a chimney chase cover, storm collar, and a UL listed termination cap. A shroud may be installed over the chimney chase cover.
Chimney Chase covers must be fabricated with certain criteria. All sides must come over and down the chimney chase to shed water away from entering the chimney cavity. A cross break must be fabricated in the construction of the chimney chase cover to shed water away from the flue collar. The flue collar must be sealed and come up to enough to prevent water splashing over it.
The flue pipe must come above the flue collar enough to install the storm collar to prevent any rain from entering the chimney chase. The storm collar should be sealed to the outer flue pipe and down the cross over seam. I suggest using a long lasting warranted polyurethane caulk. Silicone is okay too but only last a few years.
UL Listed Termination Cap
UL Listed Termination Caps are the chimney caps that compete the very top of the flue. Generally round in stature but not always. There is a UL Listing standard for termination caps that must be adhered too. Most manufacturers only required their fabricated termination caps on their flue pipe.
Down draft prevention caps are to stop negative drafting back into the house. An after market product to stop back puffing of smoke. An odd top redirects the outside winds away from going down the chimney flue.
Termination cap with a damper is exactly that, a damper installed inside the termination cap. These caps stop insects from trying to hibernate and completely seal the chimney flue inner pipe. If the outer pipe is venting you can cover the vent holes ONLY when not in use. You MUST uncover the vent holes before using the fireplace. If not uncovered the fireplace will not be able to cool itself enough during usage creating a major fire hazard.
Chimney shrouds are for wind equalization and decoration. Shrouds are not required in terminate a flue or chimney top unless manufacturer specs require one.
If your chimney is in a high wind location a chimney shroud can be installed to neutralize or calm the wind at the chimney top.
Man Made Fireplaces Chimney Caps
Man made fireplaces and chimney's are also called masonry chimneys.
List of chimney caps for man made fireplaces are:
Chimney caps made for masonry flues are made in many sizes. Here at Masters Services we only install custom chimney caps. Chimney caps that do not cover the entire chimney top are not the best chimney cap to install. Moisture is the main deterioration factor in chimneys and fireplaces. The best chimney cap to install is always a chimney cap that protects the chimney top the best from moisture.
As a Master Certified Chimney Technician, I sworn an oath to install only the best products on the market for chimneys. Flue chimney caps do not cover the entire chimney top therefor leaving it exposed to future deterioration. If a full coverage chimney cap like our No 1 chimney cap or No 2 chimney cap is capable of being fabricated then that is what should be installed.
In an upcoming podcast I will be discussing why I only sell full coverage chimney caps.
Chimney Cap No 1
The most common and best Dallas chimney cap and Houston chimney cap is the No 1.
Dallas, Texas was the origin of the first custom chimney design like the No 1 chimney cap. 40 years ago or more a local sheet metal shop was fabricating the Chimney Cap No 1 for local Dallas chimney sweep. Masters Services dropped selling flue caps that only cover the flue opening in 2000. Master Services only sells the best chimney cap to install for their clients.
The chimney cap No 1 parts include a base, legs, spark arrestor guard, and a lid.
The chimney cap No 1 has a base designed to shed off water coming from the lid. The base also comes inward at the top of the skirt 6 inches to catch blowing rain from entering the chimney flue. The base is the bottom of the chimney cap that secures to the chimney by wires and anchors. The legs are attached to the corners and possibly the middle for support. The legs hold up the lid and anchor the spark arrestor screening.
The spark arrestor screening is half inch hardware cloth. It is made to NFPA 211 standards and also acts as an animal or bird guard. The chimney cap No 1 is the best animal and bird protection product on the market. Larger animals like raccoon cannot penetrate these chimney caps. A raccoon will sit on a chimney with a flue caps on it and work to get the chimney cap off or damage it to get through it. This is the second reason why Masters Services stopped installing flue caps. First is moisture protection.
The lid for a chimney cap no 1 appears to be flat. It is not. The lid has a cross break in it to shed water off the sides. A cross break is where you bend an "X" in the lid from one corner to the opposite corner. The lid has a one or more inch skirt around the entire outer edge to prevent rain from going inward to enter the flue.
Custom chimney cap no 1 average cost is $450 to $650. It can cost more depending on the size and/or difficulty of installation. Multiple the steel cost by two and that is your average copper price installed.
Chimney Cap No 2
The chimney cap no 2 is the best upgrade to the No 1 in Dallas and Houston. The base, legs, and spark arrestor is the same as the chimney cap no 1. The lid is the big difference. It is a raised lid to look like a roof peak. It has an option of being different heights and to add standing seams.
The chimney cap no 2 is upgraded often to copper. Copper chimney caps patina nicely like the Statue Of Liberty over time. Copper does not rust or degrade like steel can if not properly sealed. If your house has copper gutters or copper gas lights then the custom cap no 2 is the chimney cap for your house.
You can upgrade the pitch too much higher and add arched windows to the no 2 chimney cap for a minimal fee.
Custom chimney cap no 2 average cost is $650 to $1000. It can cost more depending on the size and/or difficulty of installation. Multiple the steel cost by two and that is your average copper price installed.
Hayes Chimney Caps
Masters Services crown jewel of chimney caps. Offered in a lid that is the same size of the chimney OR offered with a lid expanding out over the chimney up to 6 inches. Options include standing seams, arched windows, shorter or taller lid, and can be left open at the top for factory built systems to act as a shroud.
The Hayes chimney cap is a decorate upgrade to any exterior. Hayes cost a bit more than our other chimney caps because it takes much more material to fabricate. It takes three people to fabricate from scratch. Hayes chimney caps also take up to 8 people to install and sometime a boom lift must be rented to get on the chimney top.
The average cost in steel for a medium sized chimney is $1600. Larger can go up to $2200 or more. Copper starts at $2500 and is often over $3000 because of the size and difficulty of installation.
Chimney Cap Facts
Chimney caps are an essential part of completing your chimney flue. Here are some facts about chimney caps...
- Keeps out rain!
- Bob Villa's This Old House said in an article once that a chimney cap is the most important exterior functioning item on a house.
- Chimney caps stops raccoons, birds, squirrels, snakes, bats, rats, opossum, and any other varmint out.
- No chimney top is the same size
- Having a full coverage chimney cap may slow deterioration of mortar joints to double the lifetime of the linings.
- Chimney caps can be made by having a brick arch over the flue.
- Copper is the best chimney cap metal
Masters Services is not only a retailer and installer of chimney caps but a fabricator. Our sheet metal shop can make any style of chimney cap you present us. Our challenge is making your chimney cap design code correct and function properly. Call Masters Services in Dallas at 972-877-4650 and Houston at 713-723-4854 for a free estimate on the best chimney cap to install for your chimney top.