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Clay Chimney

Updated on May 7, 2013

History of Chimney Pots

Chimney pots offer a unique, easy, and economical method to add value to your home. The pot also known as a chimney top or cap is a decorative piece mounted to the flue of an existing chimney. The first pots were seen in medieval England during the 12th century. Before this time serfs had a permanent bonfire in their primitive kitchens. Fireplaces made their way to the British Isles via the Normans who conquered the land years before in 1066. The actual first recording of the word "chimney" in the English language was in 1330. The manufacturing of quality bricks made chimneys a possibility in peasants' timber homes. Clay chimney pots were added to the roofs to increase the draft. In the 16th century an explosion of styles became available in a time now referred to as the Golden Age of Brick Building. Giant clay chimneys from this time time still stand tall in London.

Mini Edwardian Clay Chimney Video

Mini Edwardian Clay Chimney Pot

The mini Edwardian Clay Chimney pot is rather popular for a handful of reasons. The size, price, and functionality make it stand out. The name Edwardian is derived from the brief rule of King Edward the VII of England. This was a decadent period following the ornate Victorian era and predecessor of the more sparse wartime look of World War I. This chimney product has finely cast clay lines that replicate the style and fashions of continental Europe. The pot has two big brothers, the Edwardian, and its even larger version. As one would assume, all three look the same but vary in stature and price. For your standard Colonial home two mini Edwardians are more than enough to add elegance to your chimney.

Clay Chimney Weight

Checking the Weight of a Chimney Pot
Checking the Weight of a Chimney Pot

Weight of Pots

Typically a skilled mason will install these units. Their weight of 60+ pounds (lbs.) and the nature of being on a high roof, make this a difficult task for the novice. Once on the roof, the actual mounting process is fairly simple. The chimney pot is secured in a bed of mortar around the exposed portion of the flue. The pot rests snugly around the flue and on the chimney base. Because of these mechanics, it is very important to select a pot with an opening that will fit your current chimney flue. If you have a metal stack from a wood burning stove, you can disguise it with a pot that will fit around the stack.

Clay Chimney Size

Clay Chimney Pot on Side
Clay Chimney Pot on Side | Source

Size of Your flue

What size clay chimney pot is right for you? The most important factor is the size of your flue. The two pictures below show the top and bottom of a mini Edwardian. The bottom must fit around the flue that currently protrudes from your home. This portion will rest in mortar on the roof. Now and then some people are told that if you have a coal or wood burning stove, a clay chimney pot adaptation will not be possible. This hearsay is untrue. The large Edwardian would easily fit around your chimney to disguise it. Make sure not to carry the clay chimney pots yourself up the roof on a ladder. Call a professional mason that will rent some scaffolding to safely take it aloft.

Top of a Clay Chimney

Top Flue Opening
Top Flue Opening

Bottom of a Clay Chimney

Bottom of Clay Chimney
Bottom of Clay Chimney

Garden Chimney

Other uses for chimney pots
Other uses for chimney pots

In the Garden

If you feel creative, include clay chimney pots to enhance garden design. Fill them with dirt and plant some sedum or other low growing ground covers. You instantly have very unique garden fixtures. Some of the taller pots will really add that majestic look to your landscape. Even some daffodils would look amazing sprouting from the top of an Edwardian.

Over 60 Styles

Clay chimney pots are available in over 60 different styles. The Edwardian is just the start. Many people like to mix and match the pots when they have a home with multiple chimneys. The choices are numerous, maybe overwhelming. To make the selection process fun, take a picture of your home making sure the chimney is in sight. On your computer cut and paste a few different styles onto your snapshot to see what looks right to you. A Colonial home will look great with the mini Edwardian top, whereas a city dwelling might appeal to the Archduke style. The only limitation is your imagination.

Clay Chimney Pots Selection

Rain Guards

Rain guards add an extra method of protection against animals. If you have a problem with birds getting into your chimney, this top-fitting piece can be inserted with some wire mesh to keep your stack clean and free. Another benefit to the pot is added draft airflow. The pot increases pressure because it adds extra height. Maintenance is minimal. Chimney pots are known to last for centuries. Unless an earthquake occurs, it is a set it and forget it piece. Browse the different styles online to see what style you prefer. They are available in terracotta and copper. The copper units tend to be more expensive and require more lead time to build.

Multiple Clay Chimney Pots

Clay Chimney on New Construction
Clay Chimney on New Construction

Revitalization on a Budget

Flight to the suburbs from the cities in the 1950s produced a vacuum of 1890s structures that continuously decayed during remainder of the 20th century. Slowly, as many folks realize the value of these properties' intricate designs, new life is being reinvigorated. Most builders operate on a shoestring budget, having the desirability, yet not the affordability nor the luxury of overhauling and gutting entire buildings. A chimney pot can increase the curb appeal of any home very feasibly. Take for example a row home in West Philadelphia. This region is slowly being rejuvenated due to its location near Drexel University. Add a simple coat of white paint, some wrought iron gates, and a chimney pot. Now you are looking at Notting Hill in London. The clay chimney is essentially the cherry sweet spot on top of any home renovation.

Full Cross View of a Chimney

Diagram of Clay Chimney
Diagram of Clay Chimney

Venturi Effect

Venturi Effect

Discovered by Giovanni Battista Venturi, a native of Bibbiano Italy, this effect is a scientific phenomena that occurs when fluid or air flow through a constricted pipe. As the air moves into the constricted space, it increases. When a chimney cap is added to the top of your flue, the extra height increases draft flow. Chimney pots create a negative draft pressure. This alteration increases draft up to an extra 15%, producing the added benefit of sucking dangerous carbon monoxide out of the home.

How to Clean a Chimney

Keeping a Chimney Clean

After many years soot or mold may begin to grow on your chimney. If you live in the woods or in a humid climate, the mold may grow at a faster rate. Keeping the chimney clean is a simple three step process. Use an industrial strength cleaner like pavercleen. This is an ultra concentrated degreaser that makes it easy to remove all dirt, grease, and grime. Apply the paverlceen on the brick and clay chimney and allow time to saturate for 15 minutes. Let it sit and wait a bit. The cleaner will loosen all the dirt molecules. After the 15 minute waiting period, just power away with a pressure washer or hose. Be careful if you are up on a high roof by having someone hold the ladder while you use the hose. Generally you will only have to clean every five (5) to 10 years.


Clay chimney pots are a great way to increase your property value and enhance your home's curb appeal. One of the many varieties await to embellish your home. If you find yourself becoming a chimney pot enthusiast, there are other available styles made from copper and reclaimed European antique pots. No matter what you choose to install, remember to measure your flue to ensure a firm fit. Good luck with your crowning glory: a clay chimney pot (or two).


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      4 years ago

      Great article post.Really thank you! Fantastic. kekbekeffaee

    • firepits profile image

      Kevin Jeffris 

      5 years ago from 19333

      cool pictures!


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