Do I Need a Chimney Cap?

The Chimney cap plays an important role in your home’s chimney system. If you don’t already have one, or if yours has seen better days, here are a few reasons you should get a chimney cap installed today!

  1. Chimney caps keep birds, bats, squirrels, and raccoons from entering your chimney. In addition to the nuisance of having animals in your chimney, nests can become fire hazards during winter. Not to mention the smells! We often get calls from frustrated homeowners with mysterious smells coming from the firebox, only to discover animals have taken over and nested or died in their chimney.
  2. A chimney cap will keep rain water from coming down your home’s chimney. Rain water can damage chimneys with stainless steel liners, chimney dampers and chimney mortar joints.  As water seeps into cracks and freezes, it expands, slowly widening the crack. Over time, this process can require expensive repairs. Chimney caps shield your chimney from water, preventing damage. Beyond the damage from the water itself, moisture from rain water can produce mold and mildew.
  3. Some people refer to chimney caps as spark arrestors, which basically means that the chimney cap helps prevent lit embers or sparks that travel up the chimney from landing on roof, possibly catching it on fire. Chimney caps keep burning embers and sparks from flying out of your chimney and potentially starting a wildfire.
  4. A common misconception that comes along with the topic is the worry that caps will cause problems with the chimney draft. At times adding a chimney cap incorrectly can create draft problems. But if you hire a professional chimney sweep to do the job, a chimney cap can often fix a draft problem. There are specially designed chimney caps that reduce draft problems or correct existing ones. If the wind is blowing in a certain direction, it can introduce a downdraft. If you don’t have a chimney cap and you’re using a wood-burning fireplace at the time, a wind-induced downdraft has the potential of blowing smoke back into your home. The flat-shaped top of a chimney cap is designed to help prevent wind-induced downdrafts.

Call Portland Fireplace and Chimney today, and get a quote for your custom chimney cap! 503-758-4710

Eagle Creek Remodel

We removed this customer’s existing masonry fireplace chimney down to the firebox floor. Then we came in and rebuilt and reinforced the existing floor with concrete block as needed to ensure a sound foundation to accommodate the NZ6000. Once demo was complete, we supplied and installed a new Napoleon NZ 6000 fireplace. The details of course included  new Eldorado stone  for the the fireplace surround, with new grey keystone detail around the fireplace doors.

Here you see, before.


…and after

Mysterious noises

A family called in and were hearing a rattling sound in chimney anytime it was windy. This naturally had them nervous  to have a fire, as the cause of the sound was a mystery. After coming out to check on things for them we found that the spot welds on the stainless steel chimney liner cap had broken, and their cap was loose.  Our technitian drilled some pilot holes, and installed a set of 1/4″ stainless fasteners, making sure everything was secure at no charge to the homeowner.


Have a mystery noise? Call Portland Fireplace and Chimney for all your fireplace and chimney related needs. 503-758-4710


Vancouver Wood Stove Insert

We supplied and installed this  new Regency CI 1250 wood stove insert with built-in blower. This home owner chose cast iron trim, and the application called for an off set flue adapter, and 6″ x 25′ stainless steel chimney liner kit. After the proper electrical and mechanical inspection were complete, this is the finished product.




Call Portland Fireplace and Chimney to discuss your wood burning (OR GAS!) insert options! 503-758-4710

Chimney fire risks ignite as winter arrives


According to the National Fire Protection Association, December, January and February account for nearly half of all heating-related fires.  The ingredients for a chimney fire can go deceptively unnoticed without proper cleaning. When a fire burns in a chimney, the smoke rises and meets the cooler interior, known as the flue. The smoke then condenses (like water on glass) and becomes a black or brown gummy substance know as creosote, which can build up and catch fire. The continued heat generated inside a chimney can also crack or damage the mortar, allowing fire to escape and ignite surfaces outside the chimney.

As winter quickly approaches, we hope that homeowners will have already been proactive and had their chimneys and heating devices inspected in the spring or summer. But its never too late to call, 503-758-4710, have one of our CSIA certified chimney technicians clean and inspection  your chimney now!




SW Portland Roman Rebuild

This chimney was cracked, loose and broken from the top down to the roof line. This chimney was loose enough to remove bricks by hand, without trouble. The crown was cracked and loose, the masonry counter flashing was rusted and bent. Bent counter flashing does not properly deter water away from the transition point of the roof line, and there was an excess amount of moss built up on this chimney from the top down to the roof line.

We took this chimney down to the roof line and rebuilt using new red roman brick. We also supplied and installed new roof and masonry counter flashing with ice and water shield. Just look at these before and after photos.



and now, after.




NW Portland Rebuild

This chimney had no cap, and the crown was cracked and loose. There was loose brick on and a consistent amount of excessive decay in the mortar joints from the top down to the roof line The flashing had been installed incorrectly. We took this chimney down to the roof line and rebuilt using new red Roman brick. We installed new black roof and masonry counter flashing with ice and water shield. Call Portland Fireplace and Chimney for all your chimney repair and maintenance needs, big or small! 503-758-4710.


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Letter from a recent customer.

Portland Fireplace and Chimney

23 October 2016

Dear Louis and staff,

Thank you for the beautifully-crafted chimney that Brandon built for our old house! From the beginning of our association with your company, you folks have been very patient in explaining about the world of chimneys and vents, and now you have proven yourselves to be skilled in craftsmanship and ingenious in surmounting obstacles.

When Louis came to the house to prepare an estimate for installing a gas-insert in the old fireplace, he climbed up on the steep roof to examine the chimney. He documented his report with clear photos of the (bad) condition of the chimney, including shots of condensation marks inside, where the water-heater vent had discharged at a level below the top of the chimney and eaten away at the mortar. The chimney was structurally unsound, held together by mortar so badly deteriorated that the tear-down crew was able to clean bricks by rubbing them together.

The chimney had been built in a complex and decorative antique style. We agreed to have Portland Fireplace and Chimney reconstruct the chimney from the roof up, in exactly the same style, using new brick. They also installed a proper vent for the hot-water heater, in such a way that the vents from the gas-insert will meet code.

Brandon, the mason who oversaw the project and built the chimney, is an exceptionally-talented craftsman. I’ve done many crafts myself and can appreciate the level of skill that results in a finished piece that’s so perfectly put together that the skill disappears and the piece looks effortless. The new chimney looks like it just appeared, fully-formed, or has always been there. The house was built in 1860 and moved to its present location around 1900. That’s a long interval for re-plumbing and wiring and ducting of the house’s systems, and there were some “surprises”–such as the sewer pipe in the chimney–all of which Brandon conquered. His brickwork around the new hot-water heater pipe in the basement is also perfect—no places where it looks like he struggled with the odd shapes caused by a cylinder meeting a wall at an angle—it is all a perfect fit. And, this is located in an area of the basement that very few people will ever see. Likewise for his rebuilding of the brick in the fireplace, which is perfect work that will be hidden by the gas-insert. It means a lot when someone has that degree of pride in his or her work!

The project also provided entertainment for the neighbors, who got to watch as a two-and-a half-story scaffold was built on the driveway, with a “road” across to the roof where a platform was built around the chimney. As the work was nearing completion, a number of neighbors came by to offer congratulations on the “beautiful chimney.”

Thank you all!


Teresa Ann Ellis and Michael Nadler

NE Portland Fireplace Remodel Update

Just an update on this NE Portland fireplace remodel. We’ve rebuilt the hearth in the original footprint using new mutual used solid brick flush with the floor, built a new fireplace veneer, and built out a brick mantle in a corbel tapered design. Call Portland Fireplace and Chimney for all your fireplace needs! (503) 758-4710

Chimney repair, fireplace repair

NE Portland Fireplace Remodel

We’re mid project on this NE Portland fireplace remodel. We removed this old gas insert, the fireplace surround, mantle, and hearth extension.

Fireplace repair, chimney repair

We’re rebuilding the hearth in the original footprint using new mutual used solid brick flush with the floor, build a new fireplace veneer, and build out a brick mantle in a corbel tapered design. More to come!


Call Portland Fireplace and Chimney for all your fireplace needs!