Covering A Chimney: Step By Step Guide & Options

Covering a chimney is necessary for a wide range of reasons.

Also, the term “covering” may be perceived to mean closing an unused chimney. While this may seem a bit confusing for some, the explanations provided will help you better understand what covering a chimney entails.

We aim to inform and provide the necessary guidance needed to perform this task. Chimney coverings include chimney caps. These are key components of a chimney that keep out moisture and water.

They’re placed at the top of the chimney and may have a mesh siding or chimney screen to prevent rodents from getting into your chimney.

About Chimney Caps and Other Covering Options

From the topic above, it’s evident that we’re discussing having some form of enclosures. Now, the type of enclosure being discussed largely depends on the function it performs.

The topic above is a bit vague in terms of what specific covering we’re talking about. Nevertheless, we’re focusing on all possible coverings including chimney caps as well as closing unused chimneys.

What unfolds is a situation where readers find or pick some information on their areas of interest. In other words, this article will serve different interests.

Chimney Caps

Chimney caps are protective coverings installed at chimney tops.

Newer chimney cap designs come with screens as added protection against sparks and also to keep animals out. Chimney caps can be found in varying designs. Your preferred cap will likely be influenced by shape, design, or size.

So, is a chimney cap necessary? It absolutely is! Consider a scenario where moisture gets into your chimney through direct exposure to snow and rainfall. All of that can be prevented by simply having a covering placed over your chimney.

This is where a chimney cap comes in handy.

For a chimney cap to fit nicely, you’ll need to know what cap size your chimney needs. Now there are various chimney capsizes to choose from. These range from 8 by 8, 8 by 13, 13 by 13, and 8 by 17.

Another size would be 13 by 17. Your chimney capsize should fall under any of these size categories.

  • Taking Measurements

Little can be done in determining the right chimney cap fit for a chimney without taking measurements. So, it’s important to seek help if chimney cap measurement will pose a bit of a challenge.

By getting someone that knows how to perform this task, you’ll get the exact measurement to purchase.

  • Stainless Steel Caps

Chimney caps are made of different materials. However, the most durable of these are those made from stainless steel. Stainless steel chimney caps are known to last for as long as necessary.

The best types are those that come with spark arrestors which are also made of steel.

Spark arrestors are the wire mesh screens enclosing the chimney. With this combination (chimney caps plus spark arrestors), you won’t need to have your stainless steel caps replaced

Benefits of a Chimney Cap

When it comes to benefits derived by using chimney caps, there are several of them. Although some of these benefits have been mentioned in passing, it’s necessary to expand a little more on these.

Such benefits include keeping animals out, blocking downdrafts, preventing flue blockage, and arresting sparks. Of course, the list won’t be complete without mentioning moisture protection.

  • Animal Exclusion

Animal exclusion is one of the major benefits of installing a chimney covering like a chimney cap. The warmth from chimneys is known to attract all sorts of animals ranging from rodents to birds.

These get into chimneys and cause all sorts of issues. With a chimney cap, they stand no chance of entry.

  • Blocking of Downdrafts

As hot gases and smoke escape from a chimney, air also gets in.

Now, this is needed to sustain combustion within a fireplace. However, on windy days, downdrafts can cause problems as they make your home colder despite your heating efforts.

Chimney caps help interfere with such downdrafts, thus allowing only enough air to sustain a chimney fire.

  • Preventing Flue Blockage

Quite a lot of debris settles on your roof, gutters as well as getting into your chimney flue when it’s opened. This isn’t the case when a chimney cap is installed. Debris is kept out, thus keeping your chimney flue free of blockages

  • Arresting Sparks

Sparks are common during combustion. These flying embers are likely to find their way out of a chimney on windy days. When such a situation unfolds, major fires can be ignited.

With a chimney cap (those having spark arrestors), the chance of this happening is very little.

  • Moisture Protection

Moisture is known to cause all sorts of chimney issues. With chimney caps, you get an added layer of protection as snow and rainfall are kept from getting into your chimney.

Covering An Unused Chimney

Chimneys that will be out of use for a significant period of time need some form of covering. Providing such covering ensures that moisture problems are prevented.

Here, the top and bottom of the chimney are targeted for sealing.

It’s important to understand that such covering isn’t permanent but temporary, pending when the chimney will be needed. The sealing process should begin with an inspection. An inspection is necessary to ascertain the state of the chimney.

This may require some cleaning and maintenance before covering it.

Having closed the chimney, you’ll do well to have it inspected before it’s put to use again. Of course, you’ll need to have the chimney reopened first before using it.

  • Basic Tools Needed for Chimney Covering

To cover up a chimney, certain basic tools are necessary. These include a screwdriver, ladder, foam insulation, utility knife, tin snips, and measuring tape.

Others include a caulk gun and butyl rubber caulk.

Not every homeowner will have the time or be interested in performing a DIY chimney sealing. Such situations will require calling a professional chimney sweep for help.

Covering a chimney has been discussed from two angles; placing a chimney cap and sealing up a chimney. Whichever you’re interested in, it’s important to involve or enlist the help of a professional chimney technician.

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