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Thread: No rain cap

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012

    Default No rain cap

    Good morning all, first I must introduce myself, I am a home inspector in Pennsylvania and have been a member of this list for nearly a year now. I never have had to post in the past, because every time I had a question I always found the answer in an old thread. I have been unable to locate one for this particular situation however. I inspected a house yesterday where both the wood burning fireplaces were missing rain caps. When I got on the roof I found that neither of the flues extended above the crown and both had a wire mesh permanently attached. I am trying to determine how best to write this up. I typically suggest a cap be installed, however with the flue flush there is nothing to attach one to. The permanent mesh also poses a problem, not allowing the chimney flue to be accessed for cleaning. If the mesh is removed, could the flue be extended and a cap installed?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Chicago IL

    Default Re: No rain cap

    Defect: top of chimney parged and does not have a proper cap; this was likely done in the past as a cheap repair when the old cap was cracked or severely eroded; the parging will suck up water over time, wash out the bricks below and eventually leak into the building; the lack of a rain hat will also contribute to water intrusion and speed up the erosion process
    Recommend: remove parging, install approved non-porous chimney cap, install approved rain hat properly; tuckpoint chimney as needed, service flashings as determined
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Default Re: No rain cap

    You seem to have it together.
    Cap not required. Cap suggested. Wire covering opening. Liner not extending above crown for normal cap attachment.

    Adding a cap will require more than a screwdriver, but can be done by qualified contractor.

    Crown (from what I see in the picture) does not look correct to shed water (extended lip?) and liner does need to be extended on both. Second chimney looks like a crappy mason work in general. Also not liking the stepping of the brick in the second picture.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Bennett (Denver metro), Colorado

    Default Re: No rain cap

    Rain caps aren't automatically required, even if a good idea. Most older masonry fireplaces are designed not to have one. The bigger concern is no ability to access the chimney to clean it or even inspect it. So, I would recommend the installation of a removable screen and/or rain cap and evaluation of the chimney flue once accessible.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  5. #5
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: No rain cap

    Both chimneys are a bit on the short side. As far as the fixed mesh it can be cut out. As far as the new rain/debris/critter cap I see the absolute majority not attached to the liner but to the concrete cap itself. As a matter of fact most have tabs bent out to secure them straight down.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Near Philly, Pa.

    Cool Re: No rain cap

    Need min. 3ft above roof
    crown restored.
    flue extended 2-4" above crown
    replace counterflashing with flashing let into mortar joints and held with soft pointing mortar
    repoint as needed with soft pointing mortar
    recommend combination rain cap/ spark arrestor/ animal guard.

    In cases where the flue is recessed or flush, ordinary stainless steel caps can still be attached with either legs that extend down into the flue or brackets that get Tapconned into the crown. Do not allow caps to be glued down with silicone as the cap needs to be removable for service.

    I'll bet they have draft issues with those tall trees towering over these chimneys.

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.


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