Chimney Caps: Why They Matter

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Some home elements are mainly decorative, but others, like chimney caps, are functional too. If you’re wondering if you need a chimney cap (or find yourself asking what a chimney cap is), you’ve come to the right place. We tapped Madelyn Oliver, executive administrative officer at Master Caps, to break down everything you need to know about chimney caps. The Master Caps team designs, builds, and installs chimney caps for contractors, homeowners, and builders. We frequently use their chimney caps in our designs and are excited to share Madelyn’s insights with you.

Curious what a chimney cap will look like on your home? Our team of expert designers can help you visualize the entire exterior of your home — chimney cap included. Learn more about our exterior design services here

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A home featuring two chimney caps

What Are Chimney Caps?

A chimney cap is a protective metal structure located at the top of a chimney. (Think of it like a baseball cap sitting on top of someone’s head.) Chimney caps are designed to allow smoke from a fireplace to pass through while keeping the elements, debris, and animals out.

In the design above, there is a black cap on each of the two brick chimneys.

A rendering of a home exterior featuring a chimney

Chimney Cap Benefits

If you’re thinking you can do without a chimney cap — think again. Madelyn said they are a must-have for any home with a chimney and boast many benefits.

A rendering of a large home's exterior

#1 // Provide Protection from the Elements

As we mentioned above, chimney caps keep your chimney protected from elements like rain and snow. This is the main reason you need a chimney cap, Madelyn told us. She added that, if water is allowed into the chimney, it can cause erosion and other costly damage.

A chimney cap can also help keep drafts out of your home on a windy day.

A one-story home with a chimney

#2 // Prevent Chimney Breath

Homes in warm or humid climates risk getting “chimney breath” if the chimney isn’t protected with a cap. According to Madelyn, chimney breath occurs when heat and humidity create moisture in your chimney, which can eventually turn into mold. The odd smell that results is hard to get rid of, which is why it’s so important to try to prevent it in the first place.

The exterior of a home with a chimney cap

#3 // Keep Animals Outside

Even if you’re an animal lover, you don’t want raccoons, squirrels, or other critters entering your chimney and possibly your home. But without proper protection, that’s a real possibility, and it happens more often than you’d think, Madelyn told us. 

We’ve had customers wake up in the middle of the night, and they’ve seen animals peeking up in their [chimney] flue. If you don’t have that opening protected, then you can definitely run into issues where you have things staring at you in the middle of the night.

Fortunately, installing a chimney cap is an easy way to prevent wildlife from getting into your chimney.

A rendering of a two-home exterior design

#4 // Limit Debris Build-Up

Just like gutter guards limit how much debris accumulates in your gutters, chimney caps can do the same for your chimney. If too much trash, leaves, or tree branches collect in your chimney, it can become less efficient, or even worse — a fire hazard.  

A rendering of a backyard with seating area

#4 // Boost Curb Appeal and Help Sell Your Home

Chimney caps are mainly functional, but they also serve an aesthetic purpose. 

“Chimney caps definitely [boost] curb appeal and can elevate the overall look of your home. Whenever you put a new chimney cap on, it makes the whole house come together,” Madelyn told us. 

Black caps on white brick chimneys, as seen above, are popular right now, as are copper caps, Madelyn said.

It’s also worth noting that, depending on where you live, a chimney cap might be required if you want to sell your home. 

“A lot of homes won’t actually sell unless they have a chimney cap, because we receive such crazy weather here,” Madelyn said of Texas, where she is based.

A large brick home with a chimney

Chimney Cap Styles

Because chimneys come in various shapes and sizes, so, too, do chimney caps. They can also be made from a selection of different materials, including steel, copper, and aluminum. 

As far as styles go, Master Caps has plenty to choose from. There are several factors to consider when choosing a chimney cap style, such as the type of chimney you have — prefab vs. masonry — and how visible — or not — you want the cap to be. 

If you’re unsure of what type of chimney you have, don’t worry. Madelyn said they can usually determine this for you over the phone, or you can send in photos of your chimney and the team can confirm for you that way. From there, they can recommend the style that’s right for your chimney. 

A virtual home exterior rendering with a chimney

The Bottom Line on Chimney Caps

If your home has a chimney, it should also have a chimney cap. Your chimney will function more efficiently, and you won’t have to worry about critters or junk getting indoors. 

From the chimney all the way down to the walkway and everything in between, we can help you visualize your home’s exterior before you spend the time and money implementing any costly changes. Get started today.