When it comes to form versus function, many homeowners hold conflicting ideas about chimney caps. On one hand, chimney caps are incredibly practical; they allow a chimney to vent freely while preventing animals, water, and other debris from entering the structure. This reduces the risk of the chimney being damaged, which most of us can agree is a “good” thing! But folks also tend to worry that the addition of a chimney cap will seriously detract from their home’s appearance. After all, everyone knows that chimney caps are ugly, right?
Actually, that’s incorrect. We’re not quite sure where the misconception that all chimney caps are gaudy and unattractive came from, but we’d like to take some time today to dispel this myth:
Chimney caps come in a wide variety of designs (and materials)
If your neighbor’s “avant-garde” choices for his home’s chimney cap made you swear that you’d never allow one to be installed on your chimney, keep in mind that caps come in all different shapes and colors. If you opt to have one installed, you’ll be able to choose from copper, stainless steel, galvanized steel or aluminum. No need to worry about the cap clashing with your brickwork and/or exterior paint! Also, the shape of the chimney cap can be altered to your specifications. Industrial, folksy, rustic, modern—there’s a cap to match every home’s aesthetic.
Chimney caps are unobtrusive
Many people seem to be under the impression that chimney caps are these enormous, bulky structures that dwarf the rest of the chimney and inevitably grab the attention of onlookers (thus reducing a house’s curb appeal). In reality, though, most chimney caps are relatively small and decidedly un-flashy. While some people do opt to have larger or more prominent caps installed because they think of them as part of their home’s exterior design, a chimney cap doesn’t have to be a work of art. It can be a simple, plain structure that’s only as large as it absolutely needs to be and blends in with the rest of the chimney. And don’t worry: even a “pretty” chimney cap won’t steal the spotlight from the rest of your home’s décor!
Chimney caps can actually hide cosmetic issues…and prevent new ones from forming
Interestingly enough, some homeowners deliberately opt for larger-than-necessary chimney caps because a good cap can cover up badly-designed brickwork or crowns. Now, if there’s something structurally wrong with either of these chimney parts, then slapping a cap over them won’t fix their problems and may cause more serious issues down the road. However, if you think that the brickwork on your chimney is unappealing or its crown is an odd shape, your chimney cap can very easily serve as a cosmetic patch for this area!
Here’s another factor to keep in mind: chimney caps are specifically designed to prevent the chimney from becoming damaged…and the damage that uncapped chimneys tend to incur can be pretty ugly-looking. We’re talking moldy or water-damaged interior walls, crumbling brick and mortar, scratches and messes from animals who took up residence inside the structure, etc. Not only are these issues expensive to fix, but they’re an eyesore. Even if you think that a capped chimney doesn’t look as nice as an uncapped one, the cap will definitely look nicer than brown water spots on your walls!
Ironically, chimneys do leave smoke like vaping electronic cigarettes! Not to make too much smoke, you can always use dry wood and keep the fireplace door closed to avoid air coming in. This will ensure that the wood is burned very slowly.
It’s definitely possible for a chimney to function without a cap, and it’s certainly not illegal to keep your chimney “capless.” But if you want for your chimney to continue working in a safe, efficient manner for years to come, you should seriously consider having one installed. Not only are caps extremely beneficial, but they can be tailor-made to suit your purposes and your personal taste. So please: don’t let irrational fears of ugly structures stop you from obtaining a well-made, properly fitted cap for your chimney!