A chimney cap, also called a rain cap, for most people, is one of those items that you never know you need until you need it.  You may wake up one day and find that an animal has decided to make your nice cozy fireplace a hideaway or you may even find chunks of mortar laying on the ground near your home or in your firebox or even worse, water in your fireplace even though you’re positive there is not a water line there.   If you’re in the market to purchase a previously owned home or have purchased one, the Home Inspector usually has this item on their list and checks for it during their inspection.

A chimney cap serves several purposes for your fireplace.   One of the main purposes of the chimney cap is to keep water from directly entering the flue.  Moisture in the flue will break down the mortar between the bricks and cause deterioration if it’s a masonry fireplace.  The solution is to re-coat the chimney through a process called relining.  This is a process that costs about twice the cost of an actual chimney cap. Mold and other green stuff can also use your chimney wall as breeding ground.  This removal would take a totally different process but nevertheless be an expensive one.  If it’s a pre-fabricated chimney, the water leaking in will cause damage that is equally harmful.   The metal in the firebox can rust and the solution is purchasing a brand new firebox.

Another function of the chimney cap is to keep birds, squirrels, other animals and wildlife out of your fireplace.  Depending on the weather, season or just because they feel like it, a bird, animal or wildlife will enter an unprotected fireplace.   Once they are down there, they can’t climb back up to get out.  So you may find yourself hearing cries for help from your nice cozy fireplace or they may be just hungry.  Especially, if they have babies with them that need to be fed.  I have heard of people opening the damper and allowing the animal to escape.  I guess the benefit of that solution is the good exercise you get chasing them around your house trying to get them out of the front door.  The down side of this is not knowing whether or not the animal is caring any type of diseases or parasite.

Birds also love to make their nest in the chimney.  You may think that this is an easy removal but unfortunately this is not the case most of the time.  There are laws that make it illegal to remove a nest with eggs in it or birds called Chimney Swifts.  You actually have to hear the crying birdies until they are strong enough to fly away.  However long it takes and let me tell you, the chimney flue has some very good acoustics!  With a chimney cap, all this can be avoided.

The chimney cap also protects the top of the chimney.  It covers the cemented area called the mortar crown.  Some people select a flue cover which leaves the mortar crown unprotected.  An unprotected mortar crown cracks over time and causes the top row of brick to spall.  Once the mortar crown cracks, the next thing that happens, naturally, is that it breaks off landing either on the ground next to the house or in the inside your firebox.  This is one of those home repairs you honestly don’t see coming.   Having your chimney inspected on a yearly bases is the only way to know if an issue of this magnitude is occurring.

Some of the cool features about the chimney caps are the colors, styles, shapes and different materials.   There are homeowners who feel that if they barely noticed the chimney cap up there others may not pay that much attention to it either so they choose a basic cap.  There are other homeowners who take pride in the overall look of their home and may choose an upgraded color or style.   Chimney caps come in numerous colors.  I know of 23.  Some are basic colors like black, brown, white and then there is Electric Blue, Regal Red and Sherwood Green.  Fancy huh?  There are many colors offered to match your tiles, gutters or even the trim on your house.  Copper and stainless steel are other materials options or you can just simply choose the paint grip material which allows you to paint the chimney cap the color of your choice to match your house perfectly.  When choosing a material and color, you want to make sure the color is baked in like 24 Gauge Colored Steel material versus sprayed on.  This material will last a lot longer and the color won’t easily fade, chip or rust.  You want your chimney cap to last as long as your home so when selecting one, good quality material is very important.

Chimney caps can be made to custom fit your home.  When you have a one size fits all chimney cap, you have to alter the cap to make it fit.  Even then it won’t be a perfect fit.  Not to mention that altering the chimney cap will compromise the coverage and protection the chimney cap is supposed to provide.  A bad fit and poor coverage is not a good choice at all.  You will quickly regret the decision.

If you are in the market for a chimney cap, or rain cap, Masters Services can help you.

Masters Service is a family owned and operated company that has been existence for 20 years.  Our chimney caps are made from top quality materials, we offer a huge selections of colors and are able to customize the chimney cap to your liking.  One of the best benefits of choosing a chimney cap from Masters Services is that we offer a lifetime warranty.  We stand by our product and our workmanship.  Call Masters Service today for an inspection or estimate at our Houston Office at 713-723-4854.  Feel free to also visit at our website at www.mastersservices.com.