Contractor replaced chimney cap, too big the gap and doesn't fit. He refused to come back to fix it. what option do I have?

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tvontea

New Member
Nov 6, 2021
9
chicago

It happened 1 hour ago. Contractor replaced the chimney cap, collected the check. I walked around and took some photos. I notice the northwest corner has some big gap (most likely 1-2 inch, not entirely sure), and overall the cap doesn't align with the brick. photo taken from northwest corner clockwise.

Talked to the contractor, he first said this is normal, can't be a perfect fit. After a few rounds of talk, I sent these pictures. And he blame it's because chimney is not square. Then I said you did measure it, right? At the end, he said he will not cash the check, and congratulate me for a free chimney cap replacement. He is very firm he will never come back to my home for service. I was just stunned, I am polite, and look for option, and I hired him because my neighbor use his service.
I am in zone 6, and it is starting to get cold. I called other contractors, some are fully booked for the season, some quote me close to $3000 to even come onsite to measure the size.

How bad is this situation? I am guessing the fact that contractor walk away without even trying to remediate the issue suggest it might be a mess-up situation. My concern is that the gap around the northwest corner is way too big, not only the moisture/water/snow will get in and cause more damage, but the wind will blow the chase cover off over time. worse case scenario if I can't find contractor until next Spring, will it cause damage to the chimney?

Thank you!
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,839
central pa

It happened 1 hour ago. Contractor replaced the chimney cap, collected the check. I walked around and took some photos. I notice the northwest corner has some big gap (most likely 1-2 inch, not entirely sure), and overall the cap doesn't align with the brick. photo taken from northwest corner clockwise.

Talked to the contractor, he first said this is normal, can't be a perfect fit. After a few rounds of talk, I sent these pictures. And he blame it's because chimney is not square. Then I said you did measure it, right? At the end, he said he will not cash the check, and congratulate me for a free chimney cap replacement. He is very firm he will never come back to my home for service. I was just stunned, I am polite, and look for option, and I hired him because my neighbor use his service.
I am in zone 6, and it is starting to get cold. I called other contractors, some are fully booked for the season, some quote me close to $3000 to even come onsite to measure the size.

How bad is this situation? I am guessing the fact that contractor walk away without even trying to remediate the issue suggest it might be a mess-up situation. My concern is that the gap around the northwest corner is way too big, not only the moisture/water/snow will get in and cause more damage, but the wind will blow the chase cover off over time. worse case scenario if I can't find contractor until next Spring, will it cause damage to the chimney?

Thank you!
It looks to me like your chimney is not square. If I had made the cap it would have atleast 1/2" all the way around. There is nothing to do to fix it other than make a new cover. There is no danger but it should have been bigger to carry water away better. I would say you got it for free if you don't like it have it replaced by some one else next year.
 
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tvontea

New Member
Nov 6, 2021
9
chicago
Thank you bholler and fire_man for your reply.
look at the first picture , the corner on the left is not cover, and the corner to the right is almost cover but lifted up. I wonder why he didn't just push the right side down so it cover the right corner at least.
is that because there is 4 inner corners (which is not visible, like the blue block ),

and left side of cap cover the inner corner, which prevent him to fit the right side to the outer corner?
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,839
central pa
Thank you bholler and fire_man for your reply.
look at the first picture , the corner on the left is not cover, and the corner to the right is almost cover but lifted up. I wonder why he didn't just push the right side down so it cover the right corner at least.
is that because there is 4 inner corners (which is not visible, like the blue block ),

and left side of cap cover the inner corner, which prevent him to fit the right side to the outer corner?
It looks to me like it is covering the top course of brick that steps in
 

fire_man

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2009
2,587
North Eastern MA
The top course of brick usually steps out. I can't tell what the heck that cover is attached to.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,839
central pa
The top course of brick usually steps out. I can't tell what the heck that cover is attached to.
No not usually at all. I see them step in much more commonly here. It's stupid but that's how they do it in many areas
 

fire_man

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2009
2,587
North Eastern MA
That makes no sense to me, around here they tend to be stepped out - I always thought to shed the rain as a drip edge.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,839
central pa
That makes no sense to me, around here they tend to be stepped out - I always thought to shed the rain as a drip edge.
I am not saying it makes sense just that it is very common in many areas
 

fire_man

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2009
2,587
North Eastern MA
I didn't see that his photos were a slide show with 8 slides. The last one shows the stepped in brick and I see the tapcons in some of the images. The installation is not as bad as I originally thought and I'd be less worried about water getting in per the OP's original post.
 
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Supersurvey

Burning Hunk
Jan 25, 2015
240
New Jersey
To me it looks to be too small.
 

Mt Bob

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2013
3,608
park county montana
Somebody forgot to take a square with them when they measured it. 2nd rip off from contractor today,on this site. Cancel the check.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,839
central pa
Somebody forgot to take a square with them when they measured it. 2nd rip off from contractor today,on this site. Cancel the check.
How is it a rip-off? It covers the top brick as it should. Like I said it's not how I would have done it but far from a ripoff especially considering he said he wouldn't cash the check.

What was the other ripoff I missed that
 

fire_man

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2009
2,587
North Eastern MA
I can now clearly see in photo #8 there is a top course of brick that the cover is attached to.
I dont see a problem except visually it's a bit uneven.

We can't tell from the pictures how the cover is sealed/flashed with the flue. There should be a collar built into the cover that the flue passes through.

screenshot_964.jpg
 
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tvontea

New Member
Nov 6, 2021
9
chicago
I can now clearly see in photo #8 there is a top course of brick that the cover is attached to.
I dont see a problem except visually it's a bit uneven.

We can't tell from the pictures how the cover is sealed/flashed with the flue. There should be a collar built into the cover that the flue passes through.

View attachment 284973
He used something like this: Amazon product
Thank you for pointing out the top course of brick.
1) is the chase cover supposed to cover the top course of brick (which is smaller), and the cover is too big and cause the gap
or
2) is the chase cover supposed to cover the bottom course of brick (which is bigger), and the cover is too small, plus the skirt length is too short (maybe due to that top course of brick) and can't reach down.

Should I hire someone to get up there and caulk the gap - I realize it's too big of the gap to caulk. If it's just visual thing, I'd just let it go.

Thank you again!
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,839
central pa
He used something like this: Amazon product
Thank you for pointing out the top course of brick.
1) is the chase cover supposed to cover the top course of brick (which is smaller), and the cover is too big and cause the gap
or
2) is the chase cover supposed to cover the bottom course of brick (which is bigger), and the cover is too small, plus the skirt length is too short (maybe due to that top course of brick) and can't reach down.

Should I hire someone to get up there and caulk the gap - I realize it's too big of the gap to caulk. If it's just visual thing, I'd just let it go.

Thank you again!
It would be best if it covered the widest part with atleast a 1/4" gap all the way around to direct water away. And no you absolutely don't want to caulk that gap you want it open
 

fire_man

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2009
2,587
North Eastern MA
I think what bholler is saying is the best way would have been to make the skirt a bit longer so it covers at least some of the second course of brick and make the whole cover a little bigger(longer and wider) so that there is at least 1/4" gap all the way around that second course to shed water away from the chimney walls. On mine I went with a 1/2" gap all the way around so I was sure it would be big enough in case I measured slightly wrong and also to shed water further away.
 
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tvontea

New Member
Nov 6, 2021
9
chicago
It would be best if it covered the widest part with atleast a 1/4" gap all the way around to direct water away. And no you absolutely don't want to caulk that gap you want it open
Thank you @bholler and @fire_man and . If I hire next contractor:
1. he need to measure widest part +1/4" bigger. for example, if it's 100*120", he need to make it 100.5*120.5
Contractor said the manufacture can only make square cover, and blame it's due to my chimney is not squared and cause the alignment issue.

2. Any suggestion on the Skirt Length? considered there is a stepped in brick on the top, the skirt length should be longer the current one?

3. he should put 2 tapcons on each side? I saw he only put 1 each side.

4. he should seal/flash with the flue

Anything else I should know?

A few weeks ago he sent me a picture of his work: . I feel that one is decent, not sure why he did crappy job for mine.
 
Last edited:

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,839
central pa
I think what bholler is saying is the best way would have been to make the skirt a bit longer so it covers at least some of the second course of brick and make the whole cover a little bigger(longer and wider) so that there is at least 1/4" gap all the way around that second course to shed water away from the chimney walls. On mine I went with a 1/2" gap all the way around so I was sure it would be big enough in case I measured slightly wrong and also to shed water further away.
Well in general I don't do chase covers on chimneys. I would have proposed taking that top course of brick off and pouring an overhanging crown
 

fire_man

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2009
2,587
North Eastern MA
Thank you @bholler and @fire_man and . If I hire next contractor:
1. he need to measure widest part +1/4" bigger. for example, if it's 100*120", he need to make it 101*121.
Contractor said the manufacture can only make square cover, and blame it's due to my chimney is not squared and cause the alignment issue.

2. Any suggestion on the Skirt Length? considered there is a stepped in brick on the top, the skirt length should be longer the current one?

3. he should put 2 tapcons on each side? I saw he only put 1 each side.

4. he should seal/flash with the flue

Anything else I should know?

A few weeks ago he sent me a picture of his work: . I feel that one is decent, not sure why he did crappy job for mine.
Is it me or is that chimney way too short for the roofline?
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,839
central pa
what's the disadvantage of it's too short? If next year I need to re-do it, I should ask masonry contractor to add more brick and make it higher?
We were talking about the other photo you posted