How to install a chimney pot
Guide to install clay chimney pots

Installing Clay
Chimney Pots

First, let's define the term.

Definition: A clay chimney pot is a plain or decorative terracotta pipe that mounts on top of a chimney around the exterior of its flue. In some regions folks refer to chimney pots as terminals. Most chimneys have a metal square on top of them that must be removed before installing a chimney pot.

So why install one?

Benefits: Elongating the chimney increases draft, whereas improving architectural characteristics increases home aesthetics and property value.

Supplies Required:

  • Clay Chimney Pot(s)
  • Trowel
  • Mortar
  • Wire mesh
  • Silicone Caulk
  • Masonry diamond blade
  • Scaffolding
  • Find a friend to assist or hire a contractor.

Dealing with existing pot - If a chimney pot is already in place, it will of course have to be removed. Use an angular grinder to cut away the base. Debris will most likely fall down the chimney at this point, so stay clear of the area down near the hearth. By the way, keep the old pot, which will make a great garden planter.

Measuring the flue - For proper fitting accurately measure the size of your current flue. The chimney pot must fit around the outer lip. Bigger is better in this situation. So make sure the the base is slightly larger than the flue opening but never smaller. If so, the pot will not work properly. The ideal ratio of the fireplace opening to the top of the pot opening is 1:15 to 1:20.

Cleaning the chimney top - Remove any excess cement above the chimney top. Use a masonry diamond blade to level the surface. Clean off soot and debris using PaverCleen or the higher strength FireCleen. Exercise caution at all times while doing the cleaning on the roof.

Manuevering the pot - Bring the chimney pot to the top of the roof. Do not try to carry the pot up a ladder and never install a chimney cap alone. To do so would be very foolish as the weight could easily sway you off. Some pots weight over 500 pounds. Scaffolding may be necessary.

Mortar mounting - Mix some mortar and place 3 inches around the flue. Now place the chimney into the mortar. Push the pot deep down in the mortar. Make sure to moisten the mortar twice a day for 5 days to avoid the formation of cracks.

If you live near coastal areas, sometimes bolting the pots down is suggested for additional support. For very old homes that do not have a flue, mostly seen in Europe, a piece of slate is used. A hole at least 6 inches is put in the middle of the slate. A mortar mix of 3 parts sand to 1 part cement is used to make the mortar. For most installations however the mortar is sufficient.

Choosing style(s) - Chimney pots vary in design from little detail to ornamental decoration. Do you want a medieval European basic smoke stack look? A contemporary cottage intricate pot focal point? You can browse through the styles by navigating from the above "Terracotta" green button or "Clay Chimney Pots" drop down menu text, or here.

Contacting us - Once you decide which pots interest you, we recommend calling us to discuss your flue size(s) to ensure proper measurement and supply needs. You can order online or by phone, whichever you prefer. Pots will ship via common carrier and arrive at your house or business within a few days. If you decide a contractor is needed, we'll gladly recommend a local chimney pot installer. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions: 1-800-679-8718.

Selecting options - Remember that chimney pots are also available in copper, steel, and custom terracotta shapes. Another product to consider is a rain guard. Guards are available for every style of chimney pot, in round, octagonal, and square sizes. A rain guard is added after a chimney pot has been installed. Wire mesh can be used to keep out pests (e.g., raccoons) and debris (e.g., twigs), secured with silicone caulk.

Maintenance - Periodically schedule for a chimney sweep to check the pot(s) for and then patch cracks resulting from extreme temperature changes. Remove plant growth (particularly ivy roots) that will ultimately damage pots and mortar.