Brick chimney rain cap and cap - San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (C) Daniel FriedmanHome Made or Site Built Chimney Rain Cap Features
Chimney top rain caps may be a DIY project. Are they safe?

  • CHIMNEY RAIN CAP / RAIN COVER DIY - CONTENTS: is it OK to make your own chimney rain cap or top cover? Is it safe and legal to use a non-listed chimney rain cap? Examples of functional and probably non-functional or unsafe do-it-yourself chimney caps. Chimney crown/cap defects, Chimney caps & crowns: building codes & standards;
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about home made or DIY chimney rain caps & chimney caps & their inspection, installation, troubleshooting & repair or replacement.
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Home made or DIY chimney rain caps & covers:

This article describes do-it-yoursel for "home-made chimney rain caps or top covers or rain covers. We explain why using an un-listed or DIY chimney rain cap may be unsafe, may violate building codes, or may not work well - or on the other hand maybe it will work. We'll take a look at several DIY chimney rain caps. At page top is an interesting home-made chimney top that may not provide adequate venting area.

This article series discusses common chimney cap & crown types, choices, & defects, and we cite pertinent chimney top cap / crown building codes & standards for fire and other safety concerns.

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Home Made & Site-Built Brick Chimney Rain Caps & Chimney Caps: Combination Designs

Chimney cap (C) Daniel Friedman Large site-built chimney cap in Maine (C) Daniel Friedman

In our photo at above left, the interesting chimney has a metal rain cap on one flue and not the other. The metal chimney cap looks home-made and perhaps not functional. The un-covered chimney flue (and most likely the covered one) are comprised of hard-fired clay chimney flue tiles.

The presence of creosote tar and soot stains around the left-hand rain cap and the size of its base make us suspect that what was originally a fireplace flue was covered and possibly lined with a smaller-diameter metal flue serving a woodstove.

Watch out: without disassembly or an in-flue inspection we don't know if this chimney has been lined with a metal flue, insulated, safe, and proper, or not. Further clues will be found indoors, such as perhaps a woodstove or fireplace insert. Further in-flue inspection for chimney safety is needed.

A type "A" listed metal chimney cap properly matched to the chimey flue is, in our opinion, more likely to be safe, functional, and code-compliant than an expedient DIY chimney rain cap such as those show here.

Watch out: if a DIY chimney rain cap obstructs the chimnmey by not providing enough venting space or area, or if the home made rain cap lets water enter the chimney or chimney flue the result may be a damaged and unsafe chimney risking carbon monoxide hazards or a building fire.

At above right an impressively-large and apparently custom-made chimney rain cap is displayed on a condominium we examined in Maine. The actual net free opening area was not visible.

More Site-Built Chimney Caps

Home made chimney rain cap in Brooklyn NY (C) Daniel Friedman Home made chimney rain cap in Brooklyn NY (C) Daniel Friedman

Above we illustrate a home made metal rain cap installed on what looks like an unlined flue on a home in Brooklyn, New York. There is no spark arrestor; if the installer used aluminum this rain cap may also be short lived. I'd want the chimney inspected by a certified chimney sweep.

At below left we illustrate a simple masonry chimney cap and rain cap constructed using thin soft clay bricks.

This combined rain cap and chimney cap and serve adequately to keep most rain out of the flue. Built originally for venting a small wood fire, this chimney rain cap are located in the temperate climate of central Mexico. You can see minor damage to the chimney's drip cap as the soft bricks are easily broken away.

Brick chimney rain cap and cap - San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (C) Daniel Friedman

Below our photo illustrates a combined chimney rain cap and chimney cap constructed of arch brickwork atop a New Hampshire home.

Like the A-shaped Mexican chimney rain cap (above left) this New Hampshire arched chimney rain cap offer some rain protection for the chimney flue and top surface but these designs:

Brick chimney rain cap - New Hampshire (C) Daniel Friedman

Chimney Top Cap, Crown, Rain Cap Article Series Contents


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