Signs of Water Problems in a Parapet Wall

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.

Brick Maintenance and Repair Blog

Find useful information and tips for maintaining the value of your brick buildings.
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.

Copyright 2012 Builder - Company. Design by OrangeIdea