Section 1503.3 Coping: Parapet walls shall be properly coped with noncombustible, weatherproof materials of a width no less than the thickness of the parapet wall.

Code Interpretation:

This code implies that a separate waterproofing material is to be applied over the top of a parapet wall. The designer cannot leave the masonry, concrete or wood substrate exposed to the elements. This is a critical design and code element that is often overlooked. The top of the parapet wall is highly vulnerable to moisture infiltration.

Waterproofing can consist of any approved waterproofing material that is suitable to the existing substrate. Applications of sealants, flashings, masonry coverings or termination metals are acceptable. The most common type of parapet coping is a metal coping that is fabricated out of galvanized metal. Metal copings applied at the perimeter of the structure must be in compliance with ANSI/SPRI ES-1, which requires the use of tested and certified materials and contains securement requirements based on the wind zone region of the structure.