THE IMPORTANCE OF RAIN CAPS
A rain cap is a metal roof on the top of a chimney. It is screwed on to either the top row of bricks on the chimney, or onto a flue tile inside the chimney. Screwing it on allows for easy removal for cleaning and maintenance. There is a screen that keeps out critters and debris. This screen is also known as a spark guard. This is because it keeps sparks from escaping from the chimney onto a roof or nearby trees. It keeps things out of your chimney while still letting smoke out.
Let’s talk about moisture for a moment. For as long as there have been structures, moisture has been the number one source of deterioration. Chimneys and fireplaces are no exception. Bricks and mortar are very porous, and you could think of them like sponges. On a wet day they will absorb water, thus expanding slightly and holding more weight. This weight will contribute to structural damage over time. Rain caps shield the insides of chimneys (flues) as well as fireplaces from water dropping in. In Oregon, having a rain cap is essential for long-time care of your chimney.
Let’s also talk about critters. Every home needs protection from birds, squirrels and other pests that can come in through an uncapped chimney. Rain caps provide this protection through a metal screen that allows smoke from the chimney to billow out while keeping animals from coming in.
Finally, there is the element of fire safety. The screen mentioned above acts as a spark guard. Sparks, embers and burning paper may flow up and out of your chimney flue. Without this cap in place, there is a chance this burning debris will catch on the roof or nearby trees and start a fire.
We use stainless steel, American-made rain caps, courtesy of www.copperfield.com. All of our caps come with a lifetime warranty on parts. Because they are stainless steel, they do not rust, which comes in handy in this rainy environment. They are made of shiny metal, and we can paint them on request. Spray painting is an inexpensive way to do it, but you will need to touched it up frequently because the paint will chip away. Powder coating is another method. This is a where you apply a dry powder to the cap and then cure it in heat. It is available in a variety of colors. This is more costly than spray paint, but it lasts much longer.
We install hundreds of caps every year. We price them reasonably, starting at $189.00 for a standard single-flue rain cap supplied and installed. Some chimneys have oversized flues or have more than one flue so they may need multiple caps. For multi-flue chimneys it is sometimes better to have one large custom cap made that covers the entire top of the chimney. Depending on the size, they range from $325-$650 supplied and installed.