DIY It: How To Replace Your Own Chimney Cap

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Doing home projects yourself can save you money and help you learn valuable skills, but when done improperly, they can be costly and dangerous. If you’re considering installing a new chimney cap, then, you need to do your homework first – and, luckily, in this day and age, you can use the internet to learn what you need to know. Here’s what you need to know to make sure your chimney cap is properly placed and that you don’t get hurt during the installation process.

Take Proper Precautions

Fitting a new chimney cap means climbing up on your roof and that’s hazardous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Before you head up there, then, you’ll want to make sure you have a few things on hand. First, you’ll obviously need a ladder. You’ll also want someone to hold the ladder to make sure it’s stable. Depending on the height and slope of your roof, you might also consider wearing a harness in case you slip.

Check And Measure

In order to install a new chimney cap, the first thing you need to do is remove the old cap if it’s still attached, measure the flue, and select the correct type of replacement cap: a surface mount cap, chimney pipe mount, or tile/outside mount. Each of these will fit a different flue style, and the flues come in different sizes, so make sure you’re precise. You also want to ensure that your chimney cap is made from the correct metal; if you have a gas fireplace, you’ll want to avoid galvanized caps, which can react and create corrosive exhaust. You’ll be better off with steel or copper caps, no matter the type of fireplace, as these require less maintenance.

Clear The Way

Once you’ve bought your replacement cap, you’ll need to do a “dry fitting” – place the cap without affixing it – to make sure it’s the correct size. Once you’ve done this, you can then clean the area. You’ll likely find that there are bits of mortar and sealant from the prior cap attached to the flue that need to be removed before you can attach the new chimney cap.

Ready Your Tools

You’re on the roof and you’re sure that the chimney cap fits. Now you need to make sure you have all the right tools. That includes a hammer drill, drill, and properly sized drill bits, plus brackets, and concrete and sheet metal screws. In order to attach the chimney cap, you’ll mark how the brackets sit during the dry fit, then attach them to the cap. During this phase, you’ll use the sheet metal bit and screws. Returning to the roof, you’ll then switch to the concrete screws and bit to attach the chimney cap to the main chimney structure.

Compared to some projects, installing a new chimney cap isn’t difficult – the main challenge is simply climbing up on your roof. Once you’ve made it that far, the actual installation process can be completed in minutes. Don’t pay someone to complete such a simple project when you can do it yourself.

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