Parapet walls are raised barriers at the edge of a roof and are often extensions of the structure’s main wall and act as a barricade. Historically speaking, parapet walls date back thousands of years. Many ancient castles and military forts had defensive parapets constructed on the roof to provide cover for troops defending the structure from attackers. Parapets serve a number of purposes including aesthetics, privacy, safety, and protection from weather elements including high winds/airborne debris.
Many older cities and towns in the northeastern United States contain commercial or retail buildings that are constructed of brick masonry with parapet walls surrounding flat roofs. Older brick masonry parapets have a tendency to break down over time due to age and construction of the time period which many times lacked detailing for flashing and drainage. Prolonged moisture infiltration can take a toll on the masonry facade as well as the structure supporting it.
Visual parapet wall inspections are a critical first step to determine the potential for severe deterioration and if there are life safety concerns as a result. From there, we take it apart, diagnose the issues at hand and determine the best solution for repairs.
This particular project in Hyde Park, MA includes widespread brick repointing, steel repair, flashing installation, and rebuild of brick masonry. Repairs are in progress so stay tuned!