Chicago parapet wall

Many Chicago buildings are designed with a low protective wall or railing along the edge of the roof or balcony. This is called a parapet wall.

Parapet walls are a common source of moisture problems for many Chicago area condominium owners. Inspections of the roof and parapet wall twice a year can stave off major repairs. Here are some signs that moisture may be

1. Brickwork that is damp below the coping of the parapet.

2. Heavy efflorescence.

3. Splitting brickwork and/or sulphate attack of the mortar joints. A sulphate attack stains the mortar white.  

4. Dampness internally at or near the junction of the wall and ceiling.  

5. Blistering of the skirting of the waterproof membrane. 

6. Inadequate fixing of felt at leading edge of top of parapet and/or lack of protective capping. This results in the stripping
    of built-up felt from parapet to profiled steel external cladding and sometimes with stripping of built-up felt and
    insulation from adjacent flat roof as well.

7. Vertical or diagonal cracking (of masonry units and/or mortar joints) with or without dampness internally at or near the junction of the wall and ceiling.

8. Dampness internally at or near the abutment of a flat and  pitched roof.  This most likely caused by the vortex action of
    wind.  This can be particularly severe when the sloping abutment is facing in the direction of the prevailing wind.

Questions about your parapet wall  can be answered via email or phone.

Parapet walls are a familiar sight in Chicago. Parapet walls are portions of an exterior wall that extend above the roof. They serve both an aesthetic and practical purpose, acting as a firewall between buildings.

Parapet walls can cause problems for Chicago building owners. Because they are exposed to the harsh weather elements on three sides, parapet walls are more susceptible to cracking, spalling and efflorescence. Left unrepaired, a deteriorating parapet wall can cause water to leak down inside and outside the building walls, causing further damage.

While the weather’s still warm, check your parapet wall for signs of damage and overall structural integrity. Here’s what to look for:

  • Horizontal cracking at the roof line
  • Random vertical cracking, spalling or deterioration of the mortar due to excessive water penetration.
  • Test coping and flashing should for water-tightness.

If you find damage or have concerns, give us a call for a free consultation and estimate. Shamrock Tuckpointing can repair or rebuild your parapet walls.



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About the Owner


John Gallagher

John Gallagher learned the craft of tuckpointing while in his late teens. His father, a first generation Irish immigrant and construction worker, encouraged his son’s entrepreneurial spirit. John earned a business degree from Loras College, and soon afterward he founded Shamrock Tuckpointing.

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