In the most basic terms, a parapet roof is one with a wall-like structure located around the edge of the roof. This wall or railing usually stands about 3 feet high, and is generally considered a safety feature that prevents falls from the edge of the roof. However, parapet roofs offer unique features with respect to the construction and style. In fact, these kind of roofs are sometimes installed to give the appearance of a flat roof. Parapets around roofs are especially common in cities like London where older building acts banned the projection of wooden eaves as a potential fire risk.
There are several reasons you may want a parapet wall around the edge of y our roof. As mentioned, parapet roofs offer advanced fire protection as the parapet prevents flames from travelling up the exterior of the building and igniting roofing materials. Moreover, parapets reduce wind flow over the roof so that wind-uplift resistance is evenly distributed. The most common method by which wind can damage roofs is by lifting the edge of the roof and peeling back the roofing structure. Parapets reduce the risk of wind damage making them an excellent option for homes in hurricane or tornado zones.
Another obvious benefit of a parapet is that it prevents falls while also preventing objects and debris from being blown off the roof. Still, there are aesthetic reasons you may prefer a parapet roof. For example, parapets help to hid roofing material or equipment on a roof that may be unsightly or unattractive. Moreover, parapet roofs impact the appearance of a building by increasing its perceived height. Generally speaking, parapets have a similar finish to exterior walls so they blend seamlessly into the outer structure of a building. In addition, parapets can help prevent rainwater damage on the exterior of buildings. The top of the parapet can be angled inward so water will not stain the façade of the building. Sometimes parapets also feature drip edges, further preventing staining of exterior surfaces of a structure.
Parapets are popular among architects who prefer the contemporary design of a flat roof. Unfortunately, flat roofs are more prone to collecting water that can leak over the edge of the roof. A parapet allows a designer to build a home or structure with a seemingly flat roof while still building on a slope. The parapet hides the slope so that the architecture appears perfectly flat. Indeed, parapets can be constructed in a wide range of situations and climates using various materials and construction methods. This makes parapet roofs a versatile roofing design that can be effective for minimizing damage in a wide range of climates while also improving the aesthetics of the structure.