How to Cover a Chimney

Open chimneys can collect leaves, pine straw and animals.
Open chimneys can collect leaves, pine straw and animals. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

The top of a chimney is nothing more than an open area that allows smoke from a fireplace to escape from the house. Although most modern homes have a covering at the top called a chimney cap, some older ones do not. All chimneys should have a covering to prevent rain from getting in and to prevent birds and squirrels from getting trapped. Installing a chimney cover typically requires only a screwdriver and very good balance.

Things You'll Need

  • Ladder
  • Tape measure
  • Heavy work gloves
  • Chimney cap
  • Screwdriver
  • Construction adhesive (optional)
  • Electric screwdriver (optional)
  • Rubber soled shoes

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Place a ladder up to the chimney or another part of the home, and extend it up so that it reaches or surpasses the edge of the roof line. Choose a perfectly level area of ground that is dry. Determine the height of the ladder, which is typically written on a label attached to it. Divide the number by 4, which is how many feet out from the house the base of the ladder should rest. This is the safest and sturdiest angle.

Climb onto the ladder carrying a tape measure. Measure the length and the width of the opening at the top of the chimney. If it is a circular hole, measure the width from one side to the other, which is the diameter. Go to a home improvement store, and purchase a chimney cap of the same size.

Put on heavy work gloves, and unpack the chimney cap from the box. Carefully carry it up to the roof.

Set the chimney cap on top of the chimney opening until it is secure.

Locate the two long screws on either side of the chimney cap, and tighten them as much as possible with your hands. Then use a screwdriver to tighten each screw an additional one to two turns to make sure that it is secure.


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