Believe it or not, once upon a time parapet walls – that is, walls that extend from above the edge of a roof – served as useful barriers in fire protection. Nowadays, they are more commonly employed to protect the edge of a roof from wind forces. They turn up on flat roofs and can even be employed in decorative fashion. Their uses are practical, but unfortunately, these unique building elements can have unique vulnerabilities and cause unique building challenges. Here are some of the main reasons you could find yourself looking for a specialist in parapet wall repair.
One of the most unexpected yet visually problematic issues with parapet walls concern rainwater proofing. The problem starts when a contractor fails to employ methods of minimizing rainwater pooling. Parapets should be sloped inward at the top to discourage pooling, subsequent dripping and related unsightly staining.
In addition to staining, water can damage parapets via penetration. This can come through the familiar freeze-thaw cycles or via sulfates and other erosive elements contained in rainwater. Parapet walls with brick on edge coping are particularly vulnerable to this type of damage. Experts in parapet wall repair can tell you that this type of damage can be prevented by installing a waterproof membrane under the coping.
Because they lack supporting masonry to contain movement, parapet walls can expand and contract more than normal. The result can be cracks in the surrounding material. Making sure expansion joints are incorporated from the start is one way to ensure a date with a parapet wall repair specialist isn’t in your future.
Parapet walls have plenty of practical uses, and when done properly, can visually enhance a building as well. But done improperly, parapet walls can present lots of problems. If you’re experiencing any of the above challenges, it’s time to call an expert in parapet wall repair.