Very few caps can stand up to the beauty and longevity of a copper cap. Copper naturally develops a green tone patina that many people find very attractive. This aging process takes upwards of seven years to achieve. A great example of this copper patina is the Statue of Liberty. When first delivered your copper cap or shroud will be bright like a new penny. Within the first 3 to 6 months of owning your new copper cap it should dull down and lose its shine. After about a year the first signs of its patina should appear with it gaining veins of brown in its finish. Watching your cap change over time is one of the most enjoyable parts of owning natural copper.
Copper is measured in ounces per square foot. Our copper Chimney Champion comes in 20oz copper and most of our shrouds start in 16oz copper. It is common to see stainless steel supports inside a copper cap. This allows a lower weight copper to be used while giving the same visual appeal. We can make shrouds and caps of higher weight copper by request.
Installing a copper cap is almost identical to a galvanized or stainless steel cap. However, be sure to protect your copper cap from any contact with iron. One iron nail inadvertently used to install the cap will cause a corrosive reaction with the copper that cannot be reversed. Your copper cap will be greatly weakened by this reaction. This is why copper piping in plumbing is never installed with direct connections to iron pipes. The two metals chemically attack each other. Stainless Steel can be used with copper as the process that gives the steel its stain and corrosion resistance also removes reactive nature of the iron.
Aged Copper has all the benefits of standard copper but it has been chemically treated to accelerate the development of its natural patina. Aged copper is ordered when someone doesn't want to wait the multiple years to get the patina look or when an historical building needs a cap replaced and a adding a brand new copper cap would not match the building. The ageing process in no way impacts the longevity of the cap or shroud.
Brown Patina Copper
This copper has been chemically treated give it a beautiful patina that is predominantly deep brown. This process gives your cap a unique aged look that is very rare on copper that ages naturally.
Lead Coated Copper
Lead coated copper uses sheets of copper dipped into a bath of molten lead. As the lead cools it adheres to the copper and provides protection from the air and elements. Lead coated copper has a shiny grey/silver look and will patina to a light dull grey over time. Lead coated copper is a maintenance free and high quality material for your cap or shroud.
So you love the new penny look of a fresh copper cap and you don't want it to developed its natural patina? Then protected copper is for you. Protected Copper is standard copper with a special clear acrylic coating. This coating protects the copper from the elements and prevents it from developing its patina. This means your shiny new copper cap or shroud will stay shiny and new for a lifetime (some maintenance of the acrylic may be needed if it encounters physical abrasion).
Aluminized Steel (Kynar)
Aluminized steel is steel that has been hot-dip coated on both sides with an aluminum-silicon alloy. By Hot dipping the steel into its coating we ensure a tight bond between the steel and the aluminum. This steel has strong corrosion resistant properties on par with galvanized steel. Aluminized steel also provides high temperature resistance. This material can be painted after it has been prepped properly. Our Kynar colors are a great example of alumized steel in action.
This cold-rolled steel has a zinc coating that provides corrosion resistance. Galvanized steel can last for multiple years however once the zinc coating has been compromised the steel will start to rust immediately. Galvanized steel is the least expensive option when putting a cap on your chimney however it also has the highest upkeep cost and often times is the least aesthetically pleasing option. Even with all its detriments galvanized steel is one of the best selling options because of its initial cost. Galvanized Steel can be painted but only after treated with a solvent to remove the oily protective film left on it at the mill.
Painted Steel is another form of galvanized steel. Rather than bowdlerized steel that leaves the painting to you, Painted Steel comes... painted. Our Black Galvanized Caps are an example of this. Many colors of painted steel are available as a custom order. If you want a color that is not available via custom ordering then here's a tip to make your paint job easier: Buy a painted steel cap that is a close match to the color you want. Then after lightly scuffing the paint surface put a couple coats of your preferred color on the cap. This way you avoid having to use a solvent or prime the other varieties of galvanized steel.
Stainless Steel is the most corrosion resistant variety of steel available. Stainless steel is a steel alloy with a high percentage of Chromium. Chromium gives the steel protection from rusting. When Chromium comes into contact with oxygen it creates an oxide. This oxide becomes a protective layer over the steel and prevents any further rusting or oxidation in the material. The Chromium oxide layer is impervious to water and air however it can be penetrated by abrasion. Thankfully, with high chromium content the oxide layer will 'heal' the scratch quickly. This process is called 'passivation'.
Because Stainless Steel has such a high resistance to rust and corrosion it can be offered with a much longer warranty than galvanized steel. In fact, our Chimney Champion comes with a lifetime warranty! The Galvanized equivalents only have three year warranties.
Stucco/Stone Ready Steel
A Stucco or stone ready cap is a steel cap that has been adapted to allow for the addition of stone or stucco to the outside of the cap. If the cap will be located in an area that has a high corrosion potential then using stainless steel for the cap is highly recommended. Stainless steel is also recommended if rock/stone is going to be used to cover the cap rather than stucco, as it won't protect the steel from rain like stucco can.
We recommend that the rock or stucco not be installed on the cap until the cap is in place as a fully finished stucco or stone cap is very heavy and can crack when moved. Because the cap is so heavy be sure to check the specifications of your fireplace as many require the chase cover under the cap to have a 1" air gap between it and the chimney. With the weight of a stucco/stone cap this gap can be compromised.
While a Stucco/Stone Shroud does present some design challenges they can be a great addition to a home. Unlike all other caps a stucco or stone cap can completely blend into your chimney and give your chimney a classic tower look.