When assembling a chimney, it is amazingly important to remember to take all the necessary steps to make it as safe as possible.

One of the most commonly used safety measures is chimney cap installation. This solution helps both to prolong the life of the chimney and to protect your home from the elements and unwelcome visitors.

However, even if you have already bought a chimney cap, it may seem complicated to install it as it requires taking several important factors into consideration.

Read our guide to learn how to cap a chimney and how you can benefit from it!

Old chimney caps on a British house

Key Points

  • A chimney cap is installed in order to provide protection against rain, fire, debris, animals, etc., and to keep an excellent level of ventilation at the same time.
  • You can find metal, mesh, or combination chimney caps on the market.
  • The specifics of the chimney cap installation can depend on the particular type of chimney you have.
  • Chimney caps do not require a lot of maintenance, but they should be cleaned and checked for possible damages once a year.
  • This solution offers you long-term savings, as it prolongs the life of your chimney.

What Is a Chimney Cap?

Chimney caps are coverings installed at the top of a chimney for added protection. They can be made from metal mesh to enable ventilation or provide full coverage with a metal cap if the chimney is disused.

Chimney cap installation can help you to protect the inside from rain and downdrafts while allowing the smoke and gases to vent safely if the chimney is in use. What’s more, the mesh prevents debris and animals from coming inside the chimney and causing blockage and contamination.

What Are the Types of Chimney Caps?

Searching for protection for your chimney, you can encounter products made in various styles, such as stainless steel chimney caps painted with terracotta coloured paint.

What’s more, the type will also depend on their particular design, often depending on whether the chimney is actually in use.

Here are some of the most common types of chimney caps you can find:


C-Cap is one of the most popular chimney cap designs nowadays. You can find it in many different sizes, and it is suitable for most of the chimney types used in the UK. C-Caps are typically made from such materials as plastic or steel (painted or not) and can serve their purpose for a long time.

They are the quickest and easiest way to cap off a disused chimney. In simple terms, they are just lids that close the chimney completely and protect it from insects, birds, and contaminants. It’s simply best to protect a chimney that is not in use anymore!

 A person installing a C-Cap

Chimney Cowl

Chimney cowls should be used when you do not intend to completely seal up your chimney. Usually, they are installed on chimneys that are still in use, as they allow for proper ventilation and protection against elements at the same time.

They are most commonly applied in the case of chimneys connected to wood burners, gas fires, and other kinds of more modern appliances

Moreover, you can use a cowl as an alternative to a chimney cap if you are planning to get back to using the chimney and connect it to an appliance in the future.

Chimney cowl with mesh

There are many chimney cowls available on the market, so make sure you are buying the right one and check whether it is compatible with the appliance that is going to be connected to it. After its correct installation, a chimney cowl will help you protect against dampness, bugs, birds, and more.

Metal Chimney Cap

Metal chimney caps are commonly used to protect fully operational chimneys. They have built-in fixing straps and a jubilee clip for simple and quick installation.

What’s more, they have additional meshing that allows for proper ventilation, at the same time preventing birds and bugs from getting in and protecting your chimney from rain.

Metal chimney cap

You can use a metal chimney cap if, for example, you are afraid that your chimney is getting old and may suddenly fall apart. Thanks to the included straps, it will be kept together even if there is a risk of any cracks. As they are made of durable materials, they can also handle unfavourable weather conditions.

Clay Pepper Pot

Clay pepper pots have been used in the UK for over a century, so it is a more traditional solution. Even though it is a bit old-fashioned, it also provides some protection against dirt or unwanted visitors in your chimney.

It comes in a variety of designs, so you can choose the one that matches your roof and chimney the most. However, clay pepper pots lack some of the important features found in more modern alternatives mentioned above. For instance, they are more prone to cracking, and they may not provide effective protection against rain.

A man on the roof with a chimney cap in the background

How to Cap a Chimney

To know how to cap a chimney properly, you need to adjust the process to the particular type of chimney and desired level of sealing. Nevertheless, here are some general steps to follow:

  1. Take the Necessary Precautions

Before you start the actual chimney cap installation, make sure you are as safe as possible and prepare some equipment for self-protection, like safety glasses and gloves.

To lower the risk of accidents when trying to reach your chimney, use a ladder or scaffolding.

  1. Check Your Chimney

Check your chimney’s condition and try to determine its type. Typically, chimneys in the UK are made of metal, masonry (brick or stone), or prefabricated.

The design and materials will have a big impact on the capping solution you should pick.

  1. Take the Measurements

Take all the necessary measurements of the chimney opening, being as precise as you can.

In this way, you will be able to make sure you are buying the right size and type of protection for your particular chimney.

Chimneys on old British houses

  1. Prepare Your Chimney Cap

When you already visit a shop or get your chimney cap delivered from an online vendor, unpack it and follow the instructions included, making some adjustments if necessary.

A chimney cap may require small modifications or mounting bracket installation to fit properly.

  1. Install Your Chimney Cap

The details of how to cap a chimney can differ from one type of chimney cap to another:

Mesh Caps

Place your mesh cap over the chimney entrance and secure it in place with the help of clips or screws.

Check whether the mesh is securely mounted so that wind or animals won’t knock it loose.

Metal Caps

Place the metal cap over the chimney entrance and mount it using brackets or screws, following the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Make sure it fits snuggly, but do not tighten the screws too strongly so as not to damage your chimney.

Combination Caps

A combination cap may include attaching both metal and mesh components, so read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and follow them during your chimney cap installation.

  1. Check Your Chimney Cap

When you have already installed your chimney cap, take a closer look at it to make sure it is accurately secured.

Check if there are no gaps or loose parts, and push or tap the chimney cap gently to improve its stability.

  1. Clean After the Chimney Cap Installation

Get rid of any debris and collect your tools from the chimney area to leave its surroundings clean and safe.

And that’s it - now you know how to cap a chimney!

How to Maintain a Chimney Cap?

Usually, chimney caps do not require advanced maintenance, especially if we are talking about copper or stainless steel chimney caps. You should take care of them only in early spring or summer when you check on your fireplace.

To extend your chimney cap’s longevity and efficiency, you need to:

  • Remove debris that could lead to obstruction
  • Fix the mesh if there are any holes letting critters in
  • Clean the creosote buildup if there is any

A row of four metal chimneys with caps

The Benefits of Chimney Cap Installation

Caps are one of the most commonly used types of chimney protection, as they combine a lot of benefits. Some of the most important ones are as follows:

Protection Against Debris and Animals

Without a cap, your chimney is an open space, so a lot of things can fall inside, including leaves, branches, or debris. Moreover, rodents, birds, and other animals may enter there, get stuck and die eventually, leaving a rotting corpse.

Thanks to a chimney cap, you can reduce the contamination of your flue, as it covers the chimney’s top and sides.

Water Prevention

An open chimney could be very vulnerable to water damage, as too much moisture may lead to faster brick-and-mortar deterioration. This process can lead to mould and mildew growing in large amounts.

Furthermore, rain from the chimney could affect other areas of the house and harm the attic or interior structures like the ceiling or walls.

After effective chimney cap installation, water is less likely to get into your chimney and cause potential moisture problems. The cap’s well-designed structure covers the top of the chimney to keep water out but also does not block the airflow, thanks to the mesh sides.

Draft Control

A chimney draft is essential for removing the smoke from your home. With a dedicated cap, you can support the draft control by blocking wind and achieving consistency in the draft, which leads to the proper removal of the smoke from the firebox and the top of the flue system.

What’s more, the cap can also protect you against wind downdrafts going down your chimney and causing the fire to go out, lowering the temperature in your home, or bringing the smoke back into your home.

Fire Prevention

It is worth noting that the wire mesh on a chimney cap can not only protect you from water but also another dangerous element - fire.

Namely, it acts as a spark deflector, protecting rooftops and other nearby structures from catching fire as a result of hot embers escaping through the chimney.

Long-Term Savings

As the cap protects your chimney from moisture and blockages, it can significantly contribute to prolonging its life. In this way, you will save long-term on costly repairs or replacements.

Old British houses with multiple chimneys

The Final Note

Hopefully, you now know how to cap a chimney and why it is important for your house. If you buy a chimney cap at the Flue Pipes online shop and encounter any problems with the product or its installation, you can always count on our after-sales customer service.

We stock multiple chimney caps of various sizes and materials so that every customer can find a product suited to their needs. As they are of high quality, they will be a long-term investment that will serve you for many years to come.

Browse through our excellent offer and find the best cap for your chimney!


  1. Why do I need a chimney cap?

Without a cap, water, snow, sleet, and hail can enter your home and damage the flue. Moreover, small animals and birds may enter the chimney and block the airflow. With a chimney cap, ensure the highest safety and efficiency of your chimney.

  1. Do chimney caps prevent all water from entering the chimney?

While chimney caps are very effective at preventing most rainwater from entering the chimney, under certain conditions (like horizontal rain), some moisture might still get in. However, they significantly reduce water entry and the associated damage.

  1. How often should I replace my chimney cap?

The lifespan of a chimney cap depends on the material and the conditions it's exposed to. Regular inspections can help determine its condition and set the right time for a replacement.

In most cases, the more durable the material used for a chimney, the longer it will last. Hence, it is worth investing in a high-quality product to make long-term savings.