Different types of chimney pots

UK Home Improvement

Different Types of Chimney Pots

Chimney pots are a functional part of your home’s chimney, but they can also add something else: character and aesthetic appeal. Your roofline might, at first glance, appear to be quite mundane and ordinary, but with a variety of styles and designs available to you, there is no reason why you can’t enhance the overall look of your property while still having something in place for practical purposes.

In this article, we’re going to look at the different types of chimney pots that are available or that you might find you already have atop your property. We’ll also discuss the sizes of chimney pots, what they actually do for your chimney and the difference between a chimney pot and a cowl.

What are the different types of chimney pots?

The truth is that over the years, there have been so many different chimney pot designs that it’s hard to keep track. Whether informed by stylistic trends over decades or simply by geography, you can study chimney pots and find a whole host of shapes and designs. Here are just five of the most common UK chimney pot styles:

Roll-top chimney pots

These cylindrical chimney pots are a classic feature of many chimneys, finished with a rolled top. If you have a Victorian or Edwardian property, you’re likely to have this simple, unflashy chimney pot style.

Crown chimney pots

So called because of the way the top part of the pot resembles a crown, this is an elegant style that usually features a tapered body. Widening out at the top, there are then multiple triangles around the rim of the pot. It’s this type of chimney that is famously used in current Coronation Street imagery.

Cannon head chimney pots

More often found on rural homes and cottages, the cannon head is, as you might expect, a little wider and resembles the shaft of a cannon.

Square chimney pots

Offering homes a slightly more modern look, the square chimney pot has actually been around for quite some time. Some prefer the square shape due to the clean lines it provides.

Octagonal chimney pots

Featuring eight sides, the geometric octagonal chimney pot is a unique and decorative flourish for a chimney, adding visual interest to your roof. This style was also popular during the Victorian and Edwardian periods.

Are chimney pots a standard size?

Chimney pots are available in standard sizes, but you’ll also notice that they come in a variety of dimensions to help suit various property styles, chimney stacks and flue requirements. You can even have chimney posts custom-made to your property if you really want a specific style and tailored dimensions to create a certain look for your roofline.

The height of a chimney pot can range between around 12 inches to 36 inches, so a lot depends on the space you have, how much draft efficiency you need and how tall your actual chimney stack is. You should also bear in mind the general architectural style of your property and how it looks in relation to neighbouring properties when selecting a new one.

What do chimney pots do?

A chimney pot is more than just a decorative addition. While they have been reduced to just that in certain areas, your chimney pot can provide a variety of benefits, including:

Improvements in draft

The taller your chimney pot, the stronger the draft will be. This is the force with which smoke from a fire is pulled up the chimney, and the more efficient your chimney pot, the better performance you’ll get from a fireplace.

Reduced downdrafts

Whether there’s a light breeze or a news-worthy gale blowing outside, a good chimney pot will help to prevent downdrafts. This is because they can shield against the wind while still directing smoke up and outwards.

Prevents moisture ingress

If your chimney simply opened up into a gaping hole on your roof, any rain or snow could easily make its way into your chimney, causing damage inside and further down into your property. A chimney pot provides a way to expel smoke while only leaving a small opening, lowering the amount of water getting inside drastically.

What’s the difference between a chimney pot and a cowl?

Sometimes the terms chimney pot and chimney cowl are used interchangeably to mean the same thing, when in fact they are two different aspects of the chimney.

The chimney pot is the functional extension of the chimney, drawing an improved draft and protecting your main chimney stack from the vagaries of the weather. 

A cowl, on the other hand, is a covering that goes over the top of the chimney pot opening. This does not extend the height by very much and is more of an addition to stop debris, birds and other unwanted animals from getting into your chimney. 

You need to consider carefully whether you should add a cowl and what type to add based on whether you have a working fireplace or not.

To ensure you can use your fireplace safely, it’s always best to get the advice of a chimney expert, as they can recommend the best pots and cowls, along with any recommended maintenance and repairs.


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