If you’re a homeowner, you know there’s always something new to learn about maintaining your property.
In most homes, the fireplace is a treasured amenity especially during the chilly winter months. The heat from the fireplace makes your house warm and cozy.
To enjoy the benefits of a fireplace, you need to keep your chimney in excellent condition.
Many homeowners know about chimney parts like the crown and chase covers. One topic that might be new to you is chimney coping.
In this guide, we will discuss all you need to know about chimney masonry coping. Let’s get started.
What is the coping on a chimney?
A coping is a waterproof or water-resistant layer covering the top of a chimney to protect it from weather damage.
Chimney coping is typically built with stone or concrete and it has a slanted top and flat bottom.
Not all chimney tops have copings; that’s why most homeowners know little to nothing about it. Over time, the chimney masonry deteriorates because of exposure to weather elements such as rain and snow.
If you do not have a coping or your chimney crown is cracked, moisture will get into your chimney.
The moisture gets into the chimney masonry, freezes and expands, causing gaps and cracks in the chimney masonry.
This means more water gets into the chimney and can damage a large part of the structure, especially if the problem is not handled early.
A coping guides water away from the chimney masonry and thus protects against water damage. The mortar foundation supporting the coping is usually placed on the chimney crown and is made with metal flashing.
Drip lines are made over the flashing and below the coping to ensure water doesn’t trickle down to the chimney masonry.
At times, a corbel (an extra formed layer) is placed below the coping. Corbels function as decorative items.
As you can see, a coping serves as both a protective layer and an aesthetic feature.
Type of chimney copings
When choosing the right type of coping, it is crucial to consider the climate and the specific needs of the chimney.
For example, it may be necessary to use heavier-duty materials such as concrete or stone in areas with high winds.
In any case, coping can help keep a chimney in good condition and prevent expensive repairs in the future.
You can choose from the following types of copings:
1. Precast concrete chimney copings
Precast concrete is one of the best materials to use as a chimney coping. Precast concrete provides the following advantages:
Reduce installation time – Precast concrete is usually ready for use. You don’t have to take time mixing and pouring or waiting for the concrete to harden. This reduces the installation time significantly and is ideal if you want to do the installation in a day.
Durability-Precast concrete can provide protection against weather damage for many years. The precast chimney coping is normally tested for strength so you’ll always be sure it will last long.
Availability-Precast concrete chimney copings are usually available in a wide range of designs. You can quickly find a suitable one for your chimney top.
There are three types of precast concrete chimney copings:
- Deep Chimney Coping – Top slants to the flat bottom in layers. The width and length start from 22 inches. A chimney sweep can make a custom size for your chimney top.
- Picture Frame Chimney Coping – Resembles a picture frame.
- Standard Chimney Coping – Regular coping with a slanted top and flat bottom.
2. Poured in place concrete
In this type of chimney coping, you have to mix liquid concrete and pour it on the foundation at the top of the chimney crown. You may not always find the right shape or design with precast concrete copings. But when using poured in place concrete, you can always cast the right design.
Poured in place concrete copings become dry fast and can last many years. If you prefer this type of coping, ensure you use the services of an experienced chimney sweep to ensure the installation is done properly.
3. Chimney coping stone
Chimney coping stones are typically durable and will protect your chimney masonry from water damage. A skilled chimney sweep will help you install a chimney stone coping that functions well.
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What are the Benefits of Chimney Coping?
The top of the chimney is exposed to elements such as rain, snow and winds which can erode it and allow water to enter your chimney.
Here are the advantages of a chimney coping:
- Protects the chimney crown – The chimney crown is susceptible to damage from excessive moisture. When it rains, snows or there are high winds, the crown begins to deteriorate and over time, it allows moisture into the masonry. A coping prevents this from happening.
- Protects the chimney from water damage – Chimney water damage is inevitable, especially if you don’t have a coping. Water gets into the masonry leading to cracks. One of the major signs of this damage is spalling bricks. It usually leads to water damage problems such as mold growth in your home.A coping has a slanted top that drains water away from the chimney masonry. This prevents water damage issues.
- Saves you money in the long run – If you don’t fix water damage issues early, you will incur hundreds or even thousands of dollars on extensive repairs. A coping ensures you don’t spend a lot of money on repairs.
Do chimney copings help?
The primary purpose of coping is to shed water. The projecting courses of masonry above the roof line act as gutters to collect water running down the face of the chimney.
The water is then diverted by the drip edge away from the face of the chimney and onto the roof, where it can safely run off.
Coping also protects the masonry below it from severe weather conditions such as wind-driven rain, snow, and hail.
In areas where freeze-thaw cycles are a concern, coping helps prevent moisture from seeping into cracks in the masonry and causing deterioration.
In addition, coping can add a decorative touch to the top of a chimney and help it blend in with the rest of the building.
You now understand the importance of having a chimney masonry coping. It not only prevents water damage but also adds aesthetic appeal to your home. If you don’t have it, it’s time to contact a professional chimney sweep to help you install it!