Whether you already own a chiminea or you're thinking about buying one, a chiminea cover will keep your investment clean, dry and looking great.
A good cover can serve two purposes.
First, the cover will protect your chiminea from inclement weather conditions like rain, snow, ice and damaging sun.
Second, a cover will keep your chiminea clean and looking like new.
Think of a cover for your chiminea like a cover for your barbecue grill.
Do you need to have one?
No.....but what happens to that beautiful new barbecue grill after it sits outside for a season or two?
That shinny grill begins to rust, the paint starts to fade and it quickly becomes an item that "we should have bought a cover for when we purchased it."
A chiminea isn't any different.
A chiminea is more than just a portable fireplace.
It's also a focal point, a decorative item or a conversation piece in your lawn.
Plus, a nice chiminea can be pretty expensive and a good cover will cost a fraction of the price compared to buying a replacement chiminea.
So why not keep it looking new?
Chimineas are constructed from 3 basic materials:
All 3 materials can benefit from a chiminea cover.
Even though a clay chiminea is typically sealed, water can still absorb into the clay over time.
This water will expand and contract as the temperatures rise and fall causing a crack to form.
Using a cover will help drastically reduce your clay chimineas exposure to rain and snow, reducing the possibility of it cracking.
Cast iron chimineas are painted but they will still rust over time.
Wind, hail, rain and ice will all wear away the protective coating causing rust to quickly form.
A cover can help delay this process and extend the life of your backyard buddy.
Many people who own one don't move one once they're in place as opposed to the lighter weight models like clay or aluminum that can be brought indoors during the winter.
What if you own a cast aluminum chiminea?
Even though cast aluminum is more resistant to inclement weather, a cover will keep it clean and looking great!
If you're interested in purchasing a cover, look for these features:
Choose a heavy duty, flexible fabric that is durable.
Many covers are constructed of a polyester outer fabric that's bonded to a tough PVC.
This forms a weather tight fabric that's easy to take on and off.
Choose a size that will completely cover your chiminea.
Chimineas and covers come in several different shapes and sizes.
Know the height and width of your chiminea and choose a cover with similar dimensions.
Measuring your chiminea is pretty easy.
Just take a tape measure and measure the widest distance across (taking into consideration a chiminea is usually wider in the middle than at the base) and measure its height at the tallest point.
Look for a cover that has elastic or strings at the bottom to secure the cover over the base of the chiminea.
This will prevent strong winds from making your cover "disappear."
If your chiminea gets wet, don't cover it while it's still wet.
Covering a wet chiminea will only seal in the moisture.
Allow any unwanted moisture to evaporate and only cover a dry chiminea.
I usually like to wait a couple of days after it's rained to make sure it's completely dry.
You can dry out a chiminea slowly by lighting a small fire inside of it, then slowly adding wood and building the fire bigger.
Take your time with this process though, because if you dry out a clay chiminea too fast, it could crack.
Also, only cover your chiminea after it has completely cooled.
Attempting to cover a hot chiminea after a recent fire is dangerous, so like moisture,
I like to let the chiminea rest for a couple days after a fire to make sure it's cool and won't melt or damage the cover.
Most chimineas will come with a rain lid that is designed to fit over the top of the stack.
It's important to keep this lid over the stack when you're not using it to prevent rain from pooling up in the belly of the chiminea.
One of the easiest ways to winterize a chiminea is to simply bring it inside.
If you have a barn, garage or ample space inside your home this is an easy solution.
Since chimineas are only designed to be burned outside, never use one indoors.
The smoke would empty into your home since it's not hooked out to an outdoor chimney, you could burn down your house, or you could get carbon monoxide poisoning.
However, if you're running low on space and need to keep it outside, using a chiminea cover is a must.
As we mentioned before, clay chimineas are usually sealed.
Just like a deck surface, that sealer will wear off over time so I always like to re-seal a clay chiminea every year.
The manufacturer will typically recommend a specific sealer to use, but an acrylic floor finish or deck sealer like Thompson's Water Seal will usually do the trick.
When sealing a clay chiminea, you only need to apply sealer to the outside of the unit. Do not apply it to the inside!
If you don't want to spend the money on a chiminea cover, you can always use a tarp to securely cover it for the winter.
Although a cover will fit and look much nicer, a tarp is cheaper.
A bungee cord strap works great for securing the tarp to your chiminea.
Just use enough straps to ensure the tarp doesn't blow away.
Sitting around a chiminea or outdoor fireplace on a cool summer night is an amazing experience.
It's almost like your own personal campsite right outside your back door.
However, with some chiminea's costing $400-$500 or even more, investing in a good chiminea cover is a great idea right from the start.
Make the decision to cover your chiminea now before time goes by and it's too late. In the long run you'll be thankful you did!