A chimney alone is a great architectural addition to a home. Historic homes that were built when fireplaces and chimneys were the only method of indoor heating usually have several chimneys that just add more character to the home. Those houses just would not look complete without them. Some houses even have those extra tall, very decorative and elegant chimneys that seem almost surreal. Well, those tall decorative pieces of the chimney that you see are usually chimney pots. A chimney pot is a terracotta or clay top that can be added onto a chimney for several reasons.
One reason to add a chimney pot is to enhance the elegance of a home. A carefully selected and designed chimney pot can add extra beauty to a home. When remodeling a home, a chimney pot can be the ultimate finishing touch to the outside. There is an endless list of designs and sizes of chimney pots. They can add that Victorian look that your home needs, or simply add that little something extra to make your home stand out.
There is also a more technical reason to add a chimney pot to your chimney. That is: to enhance the draft within your chimney. Not only do chimneys pots add to the elegant beauty of a home, but they also serve as chimney extensions. Oftentimes, in houses that have draft issues, adding extra height to the chimney can solve those issues. Using a chimney pot is a great way to add that height without the cost of brick, mortar and labor to extend the actual chimney.
There are also some cons that go along with having a chimney pot on your chimney. Most chimney pots these days are made from terracotta or clay. While it is easier to get any kind of design out of the clay, it also makes the chimney pot more susceptible to damage. For instance, plants that make their way on to the chimney can grown into the clay and even crack the clay or the mortar that holds it in place. If you have a chimney pot, you should inspect it regularly to ensure that no plants are trying to burrow their way into it.
In areas prone to high winds, chimney pots can weaken over time and may not hold up as well as masonry. In the event of a severe hurricane, debris is often thrown through the air. Something striking the side of the clay chimney pot can easily crack it or take it out completely. These are extreme instances, but should be considered nonetheless.
In the event of a chimney fire, clay chimney pots will not be able to hold up to the extreme temperatures as well as brick. Like clay chimney liners, if a fire were to occur, the clay could crack and even shatter under the high temperatures.
Another thing to consider before adding a chimney pot is the extra height. While this can be a positive thing in order to enhance the draft of your chimney, it can also be a negative when it comes to chimney maintenance. If you are one of those do-it-yourselfers and enjoy working on projects around the house such as cleaning out your chimney, the extra height can make it nearly impossible for someone without the right equipment to get up there and sweep the chimney. If the chimney pot you choose only adds a couple feet to the chimney then this will not be an issue. However, when it adds several feet to the height, then you may need to start hiring a professional chimney sweep to get the job done.
While it is possible to add a chimney cap to a chimney pot, it seems to take away from of the elegance that the pot adds to the home. If you choose not to have a cap, then extra measures must be taken to ensure that the chimney flue it still well protected. Wire mesh can be added to the top of the chimney pot before it is installed in order to provide the necessary barrier for debris and animals; however the top is still exposed to rainwater and smaller debris.
There are several things to consider when thinking about adding a chimney pot to your chimney. They can add great architectural elegance to the home, but may also present some other problems as well.