Chimney Cap

A square copper chimney cap on the green floor of an industrial warehouse with forklifts in the background

Should You Get a Copper Chimney Cap?

The vast majority of chimney caps on houses throughout the United States are made of steel — either stainless or black galvanized. Still other caps are made from aluminum, a material that’s low in cost yet durable enough to last on a rooftop for years.

But for those who are interested in adding a luxurious touch to the top of their chimney flue, there’s copper: a time-tested, eye-catching material used in everything from plumbing to pennies to the Statue of Liberty itself.

But just how much will one of these expensive copper chimney caps cost you?

And are there any limitations to the sizes, shapes, and styles of chimney flues a copper cap can fit?

As a company who makes our chimney caps right here in the USA, we want to help you uncover the answers to these questions — and more. We’ll explain just how much a copper chimney cap costs relative to its steel counterparts, and we’ll outline the shapes and dimensions required of a chimney flue to accommodate a copper cap.

By the time you’re finished here, you’ll know if you have the right flue size and the right budget to get a copper chimney cap for your home.

How Much Does a Copper Chimney Cap Cost?

The best way to contextualize the cost of a copper chimney cap is to consider its price relative to a stainless steel cap of the same size.

Chimney cap prices are determined largely by their dimensions. For example, a square cap measuring 8” x 8” costs less than the same style of cap measuring 13” x 13”. The larger cap requires more material and costs more as a result.

Let’s compare the prices of three styles of square, single-flue HY-C chimney caps by size in both stainless steel and copper:

Flue DimensionsStainless Steel Cap PriceCopper Cap Price
7.5” x 7.5” to 9.5” x 9.5”$79$270
11.5” x 11.5” to 13.5” x 13.5”$130$300
16.5” x 16.5” to 18” x 18”$166$340

It’s clear that square copper caps are quite a bit more expensive than square stainless steel caps. The same holds true for rectangular single-flue chimney caps:

Flue DimensionsStainless Steel Cap PriceCopper Cap Price
7.5” x 11.5” to 9.5” x 13.5”$110$336
7.5” x 16.5” to 9.25” x 18.25”$125$355
10” x 14” to 12.25” x 16.25”$135$373
11.5” x 16.5” to 13.25” x 18.25”$145$385

Depending on the dimensions of your chimney flue, a copper chimney cap can cost anywhere from $170 to $250 more than a stainless steel cap.

That’s true for a simple reason: copper is scarce, while steel is relatively more widely available. If your primary concern for your chimney cap is simply functionality, then a common, dependable stainless steel cap works perfectly well.

But if you prefer the aesthetic appeal of a copper cap and you’re willing to pay double or even triple the price you’d pay for a stainless steel chimney cap, there are options available for you — but they may be more limited than you might expect.

What Sizes do Copper Chimney Caps Come In?

Three multi-flue copper chimney caps on a gray, textured background

If money isn’t an object in your chimney cap purchase and you’re leaning towards a copper cap, the next factor to consider is size. Black galvanized and stainless steel chimney caps are incredibly versatile size-wise, and we make them in dozens of shapes and sizes to fit virtually any chimney and flue combination.

Copper caps come in a variety of sizes, too, but not nearly as many as stainless steel caps or black galvanized caps. To start with, if you have a circular or oval chimney flue, you’re out of luck — we don’t make any round copper chimney caps.

From there, that leaves square and rectangular single-flue and multi-flue copper caps. In these categories, there’s a bit more to choose from.

Multi-Flue Copper Chimney Caps

A multi-flue copper chimney cap installed on a chimney's crown

If your chimney has two or more flue pipes, you’re in luck: we make our black galvanized, stainless steel, and copper chimney caps in the same 17 lengths and widths:

Screen to ScreenCrown Dimensions Required
10″ x 10″14.5″ x 14.5″ to 15″ x 15″
10″ x 14″14.5″ x 18.5″ to 15″ x 19″
14″ x 14″18.5″ x 18.5″ to 19″ x 19″
13″ x 19″17.5″ x 23.5″ to 18″ x 24″
17″ x 17″21.5″ x 21.5″ to 22″ x 22″
14″ x 21″18.5″ x 25.5″ to 19″ x 26″
14″ x 26″18.5″ x 30.5″ to 19″ x 31″
14″ x 30″18.5″ x 34.5″ to 19″ x 35″
14″ x 34″18.5″ x 38.5″ to 19″ x 39″
15″ x 37″19.5″ x 41.5″ to 20″ x 42″
17″ x 29″21.5″ x 34.5″ to 22″ x 35″
17″ x 35″21.5″ x 39.5″ to 22″ x 40″
17″ x 41″21.5″ x 45.5″ to 22″ x 46″
17″ x 49″21.5″ x 53.5″ to 22″ x 54″
17″ x 53″21.5″ x 57.5″ to 22″ x 58″
17″ x 58″21.5″ x 62.5″ to 22″ x 63″
17″ x 64″21.5″ x 68.5″ to 22″ x 69″

Be careful, though — multi-flue copper chimney caps are available in different heights than black galvanized and stainless steel caps:

  • Multi-flue black galvanized and stainless steel chimney caps can be either 8”, 10”, or 14” in height
  • Multi-flue copper chimney caps, though, can be either 9”, 12”, or 14” in height

Why does the height of a chimney cap matter? It has to do with the clearance between the top of the flue tile and the cover of the chimney cap itself.

Smoke and hot gasses move up the flue as a fire burns in your fireplace, and those gasses need to escape out of the top of the flue. If the chimney cap’s cover doesn’t provide enough clearance for these gasses to escape, they’ll get backed up inside the chimney, and you may end up with smoke inside your house.

To prevent this, there should be at least 6” of space between the top of the flue tile and the chimney cap’s cover. That means if your flue tile protrudes 3” from your chimney’s crown, you’ll need a cap that’s 9” in height (to allow for that 6” of space).

All three of our metal caps (black galvanized, stainless, and copper) are available in 14” heights. But copper caps come in two additional heights: 9” and 12” (as opposed to the stainless and black galvanized caps’ 8” and 10” heights).

If a multi-flue copper cap doesn’t allow 6” of clearance (or more) over your chimney flue in any of their three available height options, you run the risk of filling your house with smoke. So keep the height of your flue tile in mind before you buy.

Custom Copper Chimney Caps

A custom skirt-type copper chimney cap installed on a chimney on a white background

We make one style of custom copper chimney cap: the custom skirt-type. Aside from the visual appeal of the copper material itself, copper skirt-type caps have a huge functional advantage: the skirt covers the entirety of the concrete chimney crown, protecting it from damage from both weather and wildlife.

These caps can fit single-flue and multi-flue chimneys, and they’re made to order based on the size of your chimney and the height of your flue. There are some size restrictions, though:

  • Custom skirt-type chimney caps are limited to 38” x 88”
  • Custom skirt-type chimney caps must be 9”, 12”, or 14” high

If you want or need a custom chimney cap, copper skirt-types are a great way to go. Just remember that they’ll cost much more than custom stainless steel caps.

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Single-Flue Copper Chimney Caps

A square, single-flue copper chimney cap on a white background

Single-flue chimney caps are a bit more straightforward than custom or multi-flue caps. They don’t attach to the chimney’s crown; rather, they are attached to the flue tile itself. This means that unlike a multi-flue chimney cap, there’s no need to worry about the height of a single-flue cap, because the clearance from the flue tile to the cap’s cover will be the same on every chimney.

From there, the only thing left to worry about (aside from price, of course) is the length and width of the cap. Again, stainless steel caps are available in more sizes than copper caps. Here’s a look at our square single-flue chimney cap dimensions in both stainless steel and copper:

Flue Tile DimensionsAvailable in Stainless?Available in Copper?
7.5” x 7.5” to 9.5” x 9.5”YesYes
9.75” x 9.75” to 12” x 12”YesNo
11.5” x 11.5” to 13.5” x 13.5”YesYes
13.75” x 13.75” to 16” x 16”YesNo
16.5” x 16.5” to 18” x 18”YesYes
18.5” x 18.5” to 20.25” x 20.25”YesNo

As you can see, copper caps skip a size range; this is akin to a style of tennis shoes only coming in full sizes with no half sizes available.

Why is that?

It’s essentially because historically, customers seldom ordered these sizes, so we’ve found that it doesn’t make sense to make copper chimney caps that no one is asking for.

Rectangular copper caps, on the other hand, are more readily available in the same sizes as their stainless counterparts:

Flue Tile DimensionsAvailable in Stainless?Available in Copper?
3.5” x 7.5” to 5.5” x 9.5”YesNo
7.5” x 11.5” to 9.5” x 13.5”YesYes
7.5” x 16.5” to 9.25” x 18.25”YesYes
10” x 14” to 12.5” x 16.25”YesYes
11.5” x 16.5” to 13.25” x 18.25”YesYes

Aside from the 3.5” x 7.5” to 5.5” x 9.5” range, rectangular copper chimney caps and stainless steel copper caps come in the same sizes, leaving you with more buying options.

Is a Copper Chimney Cap Right for You?

Before now, you may not have known much about copper chimney caps. Perhaps you knew that they were shiny and expensive, but exactly how much they cost and whether or not they’d fit your chimney flue were probably unclear.

By now, you should have a much better understanding of just how much a copper chimney cap will cost and the sizes and styles of chimneys and flues they’ll fit. If you’re interested in getting one yourself, just find the size you need and pull the trigger on your purchase.

But what happens when you actually get your copper cap? Installing a chimney cap is its own rabbit hole. Caps come in several different styles, but, as you know by now, copper caps come in single-flue, multi-flue, or custom designs. Our guide on how to install a chimney cap covers these styles and more. Give it a read; it will prepare you to install your brand-new copper cap when it arrives!

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HY-C Employees Building Chimney Caps

Custom Chimney Caps: Do You Need One?

A chimney cap serves a humble role. It sits securely atop your chimney, keeping out rain, hail, snow, and even critters. It does its job passively but unceasingly, its sturdy metal frame bolted tightly onto your chimney, braving the elements season after season.

Most people don’t think or know much about their chimney cap. After all, they can last well over 50 years, and homeowners generally only have to consider them in a select few circumstances:

  1. When building a new home
  2. After a problem is discovered with their existing cap
  3. When replacing a cap purely for aesthetic reasons

Because they’re the type of thing you don’t buy often, people tend to have a lot of questions about chimney caps when they actually do have to think about them. One of the most important ones to consider while shopping around is, “Can I buy a standard chimney cap, or do I need a custom-made chimney cap?

Well, we’ve been making chimney caps at HY-C for over 75 years. In fact, our factory floor is no more than a few yards from where this very article is being written. We make a few dependable lines of standard caps, and we also take custom chimney cap orders all the time. We know how to make them, who needs them, and everything in between. And we want to teach you all about it.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about chimney cap sizes. Whether you’re looking for a 5” x 9” rectangular single-flue cap or a multi-flue custom-skirt copper cap, by the time you’re done, you’ll know how chimney cap sizing works, and you’ll understand whether or not you need a custom chimney cap on your home.

Which Standard Sizes Do Chimney Caps Come In?

Think about chimney cap sizes like shoe sizes: when you shop for shoes, do you expect to have to special order them? Probably not — shoes are made in specific, incremental sizes, and unless you have especially small or big feet, the standard sizes will probably work for you.

Chimney caps basically work the same way. Manufacturers make chimney caps in very particular sizes, and we do that because those standard sizes fit most chimney flues around the country. In fact, one of our company owners estimates that 90% to 95% of the chimney caps we sell are standard-sized caps.

Put simply, the only situation in which you’ll need a custom-made chimney cap (outside of aesthetic reasons) is when your chimney flue or crown doesn’t fit within the standard flue or crown size ranges. So in order to understand whether you need a custom cap or not, learning about the standard sizes is a great place to start.

Chimney caps fall into one of four categories:

  1. Single-flue square/rectangular bolt-on
  2. Single-flue round bolt-on
  3. Single-flue round slip-in
  4. Multi-flue

Each type of chimney cap has its own size range, and it’s very likely that your chimney flue (or crown, in the case of a multi-flue cap) falls within the standard size ranges.

Single-Flue Square or Rectangular Bolt-On Chimney Cap Sizes

HY-C Square Bolt-on Chimney Cap

The bulk of the chimney caps on the market connect directly to your flue tile (the brown pipe that protrudes from the concrete chimney crown). They make this connection one of two ways: they bolt onto the tile or they slip into the tile.

Square or rectangular chimney caps designed to bolt onto a single, square- or rectangular-shaped flue come in a range of sizes. The following table contains standard chimney cap dimensions and the flue sizes on which they fit.

If you have a square or rectangular flue whose dimensions are within the following range, you don’t need a custom chimney cap:

Flues with dimensions between…Need a cap with dimensions of…
3.5″ x 7.5″ to 5.5″ x 9.5″5″ x 9″
7.5″ x 7.5″ to 9.5″ x 9.5″9″ x 9″
7.5″ x 11.5″ to 9.5″ x 13.5″9″ x 13″
7.5″ x 16.5″ to 9.25″ x 18.25″9″ x 18″
9.75″ x 9.75″ to 12″ x 12″11″ x 11″
10″ x 14″ to 12.5″ x 16.25″12″ x 16″
11.5″ x 11.5″ to 13.5″ x 13.5″13″ x 13″
11.5″ x 16.5″ to 13.25″ x 18.25″13″ x 18″
13.75″ x 13.75″ to 16″ x 16″15″ x 15″
16.5″ x 16.5″ to 18″ x 18″18″ x 18″
18.5″ x 18.5″ to 20.25″ x 20.25″20″ x 20″

Single-Flue Round Bolt-On Chimney Cap Sizes

HY-C Round Bolt-on Chimney Cap

If your chimney flue is round instead of square or rectangular, don’t worry — there are standard chimney caps for you as well. Instead of length and width measurements, though, the cap you need will depend on the diameter of your chimney flue.

The table below will help you to find the chimney cap diameter you need based on the diameter of your round chimney flue. If your flue is within this range, you don’t need a custom chimney cap:

Flues with diameters between…Need a cap with a diameter of…
9.5″ to 10.5″10″
11.5″ to 12.5″12″
13.5″ to 14.5″14″
15.5″ to 16.5″16″
17.5″ to 18.5″18″

Single-Flue Round Slip-In Chimney Cap Sizes

HY-C Square Bolt-on Chimney Cap

Not all customers want or need a bolt-on chimney cap. For this reason, manufacturers design round caps that slip into the chimney flue instead of being bolted on. The installation process is much easier; you just slide the legs of the cap into the flue, and they’re held in place by tension.

Despite the installation method varying, round slip-in caps essentially fit the same flue sizes as round bolt-on caps (with one additional smaller size available). If your flue has a diameter within this range, you don’t need a custom chimney cap:

Flues with diameters between…Need a cap with a diameter of…
7.5″ to 8.5″8″
9.5″ to 10.5″10″
11.5″ to 12.5″12″
13.5″ to 14.5″14″
15.5″ to 16.5″16″
17.5″ to 18.5″18″

Multi-Flue Chimney Cap Sizes

HY-C Black Galvanized Multi-Flue Chimney Cap

Multi-flue chimney caps are quite a bit different than single-flue caps. Installers screw these caps directly into the chimney’s crown — the concrete slab poured on top of the masonry and around the flue tiles.

These caps are measured in screen-to-screen dimensions, but it’s important to note that they come with flanges on all four sides of them — metal edges that are perpendicular to the chimney cap’s mesh screen.

The flanges on our multi-flue chimney caps come with pre-drilled holes to make them easier to install. The flanges themselves measure 1.25 inches, meaning they add a total of 2.5 inches to the screen-to-screen length and screen-to-screen width of the cap (since there are two on each side).

Close-up of a multi-flue chimney cap flange

The following table lays out both the screen-to-screen and flange-to-flange dimensions of our multi-flue chimney caps. If the dimensions of your multi-flue chimney’s crown fall within any of the ranges on the table, you don’t need a custom chimney cap:

Crowns with dimensions between…Need a cap with flange-to-flange dimensions of…Cap’s screen-to-screen measurement (for reference)
14.5″ x 14.5″ to 15″ x 15″12.5″ x 12.5″10″ x 10″
14.5″ x 18.5″ to 15″ x 19″12.5″ x 16.5″10″ x 14″
17.5″ x 23.5″ to 18″ x 24″15.5″ x 21.5″13″ x 19″
18.5″ x 18.5″ to 19″ x 19″16.5″ x 16.5″14″ x 14″
21.5″ x 21.5″ to 22″ x 22″19.5″ x 19.5″17″ x 17″
18.5″ x 25.5″ to 19″ x 26″16.5″ x 23.5″14″ x 21″
18.5″ x 30.5″ to 19″ x 31″16.5″ x 28.5″14″ x 26″
18.5″ x 34.5″ to 19″ x 35″16.5″ x 32.5″14″ x 30″
18.5″ x 38.5″ to 19″ x 39″16.5″ x 36.5″14″ x 34″
19.5″ x 41.5″ to 20″ x 42″17.5″ x 39.5″15″ x 37″
21.5″ x 34.5″ to 22″ x 35″19.5″ x 32.5″17″ x 29″
21.5″ x 39.5″ to 22″ x 40″19.5″ x 37.5″17″ x 35″
21.5″ x 45.5″ to 22″ x 46″19.5″ x 43.5″17″ x 41″
21.5″ x 53.5″ to 22″ x 54″19.5″ x 51.5″17″ x 49″
21.5″ x 57.5″ to 22″ x 58″19.5″ x 55.5″17″ x 53″
21.5″ x 62.5″ to 22″ x 63″19.5″ x 60.5″17″ x 58″
21.5″ x 68.5″ to 22″ x 69″19.5″ x 66.5″17″ x 64″
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What if Your Chimney Falls Outside the Standard Size Ranges?

Before now, you probably knew very little about chimney caps, let alone how to measure one. As you can tell, though, it’s pretty easy: just figure out which one of the four categories your chimney falls into, and check to see whether or not its dimensions can accommodate a standard chimney cap. If you’re like 90% to 95% of people out there, a standard cap will work for you.

If your flue or crown falls outside of the standard dimensions, though, you’ll probably need to purchase a custom chimney cap. If that’s the case, you’re in luck: we make custom-sized chimney caps all the time.

Wondering how to get started? Our customer service team can help you figure out what style, color, and dimensions you’ll need for your custom chimney cap based on your current chimney flue or crown. Reach out today to find the perfect chimney cap for your home.

Rocky Raccoon

How to Keep Wildlife out of Your Chimney

Raccoons, squirrels, birds, bats — at some point or another, you may encounter any one of these critters in your chimney. Their presence can disturb your living space, cause costly damage to your chimney or fireplace, and at worst, curious or frightened wildlife may find its way into the rest of your home.

HY-C’s HY-Guard exclusion products have been protecting homes from nuisance wildlife for decades, and our chimney caps have been on top of flues for over 75 years. In the category of keeping animals out of chimneys, there’s nothing we haven’t seen.

In this guide, we’ll outline how a chimney works, which animals get into them, and how they manage to sneak in. We’ll also explain how a good chimney cap can go a long way towards keeping critters out of your chimney to help you keep your chimney — and your home — protected.

Parts of a Chimney

It’s important to visualize the components that make up your chimney so you can see both where critters get in and where they set up camp. A traditional fireplace is made up of several components, including the firebox, a damper, a smoke shelf, a smoke chamber, the masonry, and a flue. A standard chimney typically looks something like this:


The firebox is what you see when you look into a fireplace from inside your home. Lined with firebrick, it’s where you burn the wood in your fireplace. The damper is an adjustable steel or cast iron plate at the top of the firebox, and its job is to regulate airflow through the firebox, into the smoke chamber, and up through the chimney. Behind the damper sits the smoke shelf — a flat area at the base of the smoke chamber designed to prevent reverse airflow (i.e., backdrafts) into the firebox. The smoke shelf also helps to protect the firebox from water, debris, or wildlife that makes its way down the chimney.

Atop the smoke chamber, the flue is the exit from which smoke and hot gas escape the chimney. It’s supported by the masonry of the chimney and it extends upward through the building, through the roofline, and ends at some level above the shingles.

The flue is the most common entry point wildlife uses to get inside a chimney, either intentionally to create a nest or by accidentally falling in. Critters may also enter the actual chimney structure through flaws in the masonry, missing mortar joints, or other external damage. Smaller wildlife can get in through openings at the base of the chimney if the flashing is faulty. Decay and extensive weathering on older chimneys may offer still more points of entry for local fauna.

What Kind of Wildlife Gets into a Chimney?

Squirrel on fence

Raccoons are infamous for using the chimney as a maternal den site; a female raccoon can easily climb up and down the inside of a flue. Normally, a mother raccoon births her babies (called “kits”) on the smoke shelf of a fireplace, so that should be the first place you check if you hear critters in your chimney.

Squirrels, bats, and birds can also get into the flue. Unlike raccoons, squirrels can’t climb back up the slick flue tile, and bats and birds have trouble navigating the narrow smoke chamber. Chimney swifts are a notable exception, though. These aptly named birds can fly vertically and have no issues making their home in a chimney. Swifts are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and require special permits for removal.

In some cases, small animals might be able to enter through the cracks and crevices in the masonry or flue tiles. These infestations — usually flying squirrels or bats — are sometimes hard to recognize, but typically easy to exclude with regular maintenance.

What Are the Signs of Wildlife in Your Chimney?

There are two sure signs of wildlife inside a chimney: noises and odors. Noises like scratching, clawing, or just general movement indicate that there may be an animal on top of the damper or the smoke shelf. If the damper was left open, the culprit will likely be staring you in the face from your firebox (or even running around your living room). Chirps or chittering are usually indicative of birds or raccoons.

Odor normally suggests raccoons as well, but most homeowners can pick up the scent of a long-term bird roost and the droppings that come with it. If the odor is particularly foul, the critter may not have survived its time in your chimney. In this case, your priority shifts from animal capture to carcass removal.

How to Inspect Your Chimney for Wildlife

Starting an inspection is easy enough; all you need is a flashlight to peek into the firebox to check for wildlife. Inspecting the smoke shelf is a little more difficult. Visual access to the shelf is difficult, so you’ll need both a light and a camera. From the roof, you can use a strong light source and look down the chimney flue for critters, or you can lower a camera down the flue and play the footage back later. It’s important to note that we do not recommend climbing onto your roof. Leave all roof-level inspections to a professional wildlife control operator.

As the flue is being inspected for wildlife and nesting material, be sure to inspect the chimney itself for any signs of damage, blockage, cracks, weathering, or creosote buildup. Repairing these problems will not only keep future wildlife from getting in, but will also ensure an efficient chimney that functions properly. To really keep wildlife out of your chimney, though, nothing beats a top-of-the-line chimney cap.

How a Chimney Cap Can Keep Wildlife out of Your Chimney

If you don’t have a chimney cap, getting one is an absolute necessity. First and foremost, they keep animals and debris from entering the chimney flue and creating blockages and fire hazards. They also prevent downdrafts and rainwater from getting into the chimney flue.

A chimney cap can also improve the chimney’s draft, helping it to vent smoke and gas more easily. Caps made from galvanized steel, stainless steel, or copper are popular choices because they are aesthetically pleasing, and because nuisance wildlife can’t gnaw through them or rip them off the flue.

It’s important to consider the mesh size of your chimney cap, too. ¾” mesh is common on most caps, but homes in some parts of Oregon and California require ⅝” mesh by law (to stop sparks from escaping and causing forest fires). Mesh size is a balancing act; the mesh needs to be small enough to prevent small animals from accessing the flue, but large enough to allow smoke and gas to escape to stop creosote from building up or ice from forming.

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Keep Wildlife out of Your Chimney

The idea of an unwelcome animal making a home in your chimney is unsettling. By now, though, you understand how your chimney works, what kind of animals tend to get into it, how to check for those animals, and how to keep them from accessing your flue in the future.

The best thing to do now is to find the right chimney cap with the best functions and the right aesthetic for your home. Once it’s in place, you won’t have to worry about a family of raccoons living on your smoke shelf anymore.

How Much Does a Chimney Cap Cost?

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.

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How Flue Size Determines Chimney Cap Cost

Chimney Flues

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”
Galvanized steel$60 to $85$80 to $120$130 to $200
Stainless steel$100 to $140$130 to $200$180 to $280
Copper$320 to $400$360 to $430$400 to $520
Chimney cap cost estimates for round or rectangular caps made from galvanized steel, stainless steel, or copper

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.