A chimney cap is an important addition to consider adding to your chimney for many reasons. They will prevent the buildup of debris in your flue, as well as keep wild critters out (Santa Clause gets through just fine, don’t worry).
Caps come in many different sizes, colors, shapes, and materials. The first step in choosing a chimney cap is to decide on which material works best for you. Material choice will depend a lot on what size budget you have.
Among the least expensive is Galvanized Steel. Galvanized Steel caps will typically last five years before it’s time to find a replacement. The steel is covered in a zinc coating that will prevent rusting for a short time, but once the zinc coating wears away, the cap will rust and require a replacement. While this might be an adequate short term solution, you will most likely save money in the long run by going with a higher quality material. Because of their short life span and focus on affordability Galvanized Steel caps come in mostly basic styles and varieties.
Aluminum caps are another budget friendly option, but not without drawbacks. They tend to be more rust resistant than the Galvanized Steel; however they are significantly less durable. Aluminum is a naturally soft metal (I know you’ve smashed a soda can or two). Extreme weather can bend the shape and compromise the mounting. On the bright side, the aluminum caps are fairly soot resistant allowing them to sustain an attractive shine with less frequent maintenance.
Stainless Steel is the optimal combination of great performance and affordability. Although they’re just a bit more costly than the lower quality options, their lifespan will allow for less maintenance in the long term – which means less cost for you. Stainless Steel didn’t get its name from nowhere. It’s extremely corrosion resistant and wont rust. It’s strong enough to withstand harsh elements while requiring very little upkeep. The Stainless Steel caps will maintain their luster without tarnishing. And because they last such a long time, you’ll find you have more control over design choices.
Copper is the top of the line choice for those homeowners looking for the longest term investment. Very few choices compare to the beauty and durability that comes with copper. Copper caps are even more sturdy than their stainless steel counterparts, and are equally as rust-resistant. They are an investment that will likely last a lifetime. In addition to its durability, copper caps have a classic look. Because they enhance the beauty of brickwork, they are a great choice for historic homes. One drawback of installing a copper cap is the potential for regular maintenance. Copper naturally will develop a greenish brown patina over decades. If the homeowner wishes to retain the original color and shine, a regular cleaning will add to overall costs. Luckily, most people have agreed that a copper patina is a welcome feature on aged homes. Homes built with copper accents are generally valued higher than those without.
Brass caps are composed of 70% copper and 30% zinc. The benefit of this composition is that it becomes more cost effective than copper, although also slightly lesser quality. Thicker brass caps will be equally weather resistant and last just as long as copper but won’t age in the same manner as copper.
Lead Coated Copper
These caps are dipped in a sizzling bath of lead. Once cooled, the lead adheres to the copper which allows for added protection from the elements. The benefit of these caps is that they are almost assuredly maintenance free. They sustain a shiny gray luster that will beautifully patina over time. Lead Coated Copper caps are an excellent option for homeowners that are in search of a cap that will last a life time and require minimal upkeep.
For more information on chimney cap options, browse through our website. Feel free to give us a call if you have any further questions!