Has a squirrel, a raccoon, or a family of birds made a home in your chimney? Has water been pooling in your fireplace every time it rains? If so, either you need to install a chimney cap on your chimney, or your existing cap is damaged and needs to be replaced. The question naturally follows: how much is this going to cost me?
That’s a tough question to answer, but the good news is that we’re no stranger to chimney caps and covers at HY-C. In fact, we’ve been designing, manufacturing, and selling them since 1947. During those 75+ years, we’ve pinpointed three factors that determine the price of a chimney cap: metal type, flue size, and labor.
By the end of this article, you’ll understand how these three factors affect the price of a chimney cap. You’ll also be armed with the information you need to go into an installation consultation with clear options and a focused budget in mind.
How Metal Type Determines Chimney Cap Cost
Most of the chimney caps on the market today are made of metal. And, while the type of metal may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, the three used most often in chimney cap construction are galvanized steel, stainless steel, and copper. Each type is weather-resistant, rust-resistant, and designed to keep animals out of your chimney. The differences between them come down simply to aesthetic and price.
Galvanized steel is the most budget-friendly chimney cap metal. Aside from its relatively low price, galvanized steel is typically treated with a black powder paint finish for a sleek, low-profile appearance.
Stainless steel tends to be more expensive than galvanized steel, but its classic, shiny metal finish proves attractive to customers who are willing to spend a little more.
Finally, copper is far and away the most expensive chimney cap metal. Its brilliant, new-penny color develops a natural patina over time, though, so if you’re looking for an eye-catching chimney cap with a premium price tag, copper is hard to beat.
How Flue Size Determines Chimney Cap Cost
After you’ve decided on the metal of your chimney cap, the next variable in determining its price is the size of your chimney’s flue. The flue is the duct that runs directly from the fireplace, up through the chimney, and out the top of the chimney crown. Flues are generally made of clay, concrete, or steel, and a chimney cap is designed to cover the portion of the flue that sticks out of the chimney itself.
Some homeowners may find that their chimney has two flues; if that’s the case, there are multi-flue chimney cap options available. But, as they are the most popular, we’ll assume you have a single-flue chimney.
How does flue size determine chimney cap cost? It’s pretty simple: the bigger the flue, the bigger — and more costly — the chimney cap. Flue sizes fall into two categories: round and rectangular (or square). Round flues have a diameter between 8” and 18”. Rectangular flues tend to measure between 9” x 5” and 20” x 20”. After you’ve measured your flue and chosen a metal, consult this table to get a general sense of how much your chimney cap will cost at retail:
|5” to 12”
|13” to 16”
|17” to 20”
|$60 to $85
|$80 to $120
|$130 to $200
|$100 to $140
|$130 to $200
|$180 to $280
|$320 to $400
|$360 to $430
|$400 to $520
How Labor Determines Chimney Cap Cost
With the chimney cap metal and size in mind, there’s one last thing to figure out: how much will it cost to pay someone to install (or replace) the chimney cap? Do-it-yourself homeowners won’t need to worry about this cost factor, as they’ll be able to install the cap themselves. However, even though it may be tempting to attempt a self-installation to save some money, we do not recommend installing chimney caps yourself. It’s better to hire a trained professional with knowledge of fireplace and chimney mechanics and proven experience in roof safety.
That having been said, a few variables will affect how much you’ll pay for an installation. A simple, single-flue chimney cap installation on a single-story house may run you anywhere from $100 to $200. A more complicated installation could cost between $500 and $1,500. Why the discrepancy? Multi-story houses, high-angle roofs, or roofs with slate tile instead of shingles present more danger to the installer and, therefore, a higher bill. Depending on your home and your roof, the installer may also need to utilize specialized equipment like scissor lifts or ladders that are taller than the standard seven to ten feet.
Whatever your circumstances, be sure to get multiple quotes from a few licensed, insured chimney service professionals. Comparing these quotes will ensure you end up with competitive pricing options and will allow you to choose an installer who will complete the job safely and correctly.
Which Chimney Cap Is Best for Me?
Raccoons, squirrels, birds, and precipitation are the last things you want inside your chimney. These nuisances are annoying at best and dangerous at worst, and the most frustrating thing is knowing a simple chimney cap could have kept them out from the start.
Now that you know how metal type, flue size, and labor costs determine the price of a chimney cap, you’re ready to find one that fits the size and style of your home. After you make your purchase and hire a professional chimney cap installer, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your home safe and protected.