ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 50

building sciences	

Parapets
Where	Roofs Meet	Walls
by Joseph W. lstiburek, Ph.d., P.eng.,	Fellow	ASHRAE
Figure 1:	Roof	Edge	Wind	Effects.	When	wind	blows	 against	a	building,	it	produces	vortices	at	the	roof	edges. roof to the wall. Sound familiar? Coming from me it should by now.† I call them the “Baker Principles.” This is what we typically get in the “real world” today (Figure 6). What a mess. No continuity of the four principle control layers: • Water control layer: no membrane under the parapet flashing; • Air control layer: no air control in either the roof assembly or the wall assembly; • Vapor control layer: same goes for the vapor control layer; and • Thermal control layer: thermal bridging everywhere. And to make matters worse, structurally we also tend to have some issues. Ah, but not in the way you think. Think about the thermal stress a roof membrane goes through (Figures 7 and 8). The key is to transfer these stresses to the roof deck. In the old days it was easy; just fully adhere the roof membrane with a lot of goop directly to the structural deck so that each square foot of roof membrane stress was directly transferred to the square foot of structural deck directly under the membrane. No problem. Until, wait for it, some lunatic person introduced thermal insulation. Now we had to transfer the
	 February	 2011

H

istorically,	so	many	problems	have	occurred	with	parapets	that	we	

have	a	name	for	it:	“parapetitus.”	They	have	a	long	history—which	

of	course	is	not	always	clear—	that	allows	me	to	embellish	without	threat	

of	peer	review	reversal.*	Their	major	function	today,	aside	from	confusing	architects,	is	to	protect	the	edge	of	roof	assemblies	from	wind	uplift	 forces.	Not	so	in	the	old	days	where	they	were	useful	in	fire	protection.
When wind blows against a building it produces vortices at the roof edges (Figure 1) that create huge pressure differences (Figure 2) at roof perimeters that can suck roofs off buildings. Parapets dramatically reduce these pressure differences at roof edges (Figure 3). Neat eh? All this from a University of Toronto guy, go Varsity Blues (Leutheusser, H.J., 19642). The easiest thing to get right about parapet construction is to keep rainwater from getting into the top of them. The principles are easy. Slope the top of them inward so they don’t stain the building façade. Make sure that there is a waterproof membrane under the coping. Always. Metal and stone copings leak at joints. And always have drip edges—front and
50	 ASHRAE	Journal	

back—so that they don’t stain the building façade. Did I mention the staining of the building façade? Check out Figure 4 and Photo 1 to see it done right. If you want to get depressed, look at Photo 2. Are we done yet? Nope, not by a long shot. Now it gets weird, not the physics, but why so many buildings get the physics wrong. For the physics we go to another one of those legendary old guys who got it right and made it simple for the rest of us to understand—Max Baker. Check out Figure 5, adapted from his book “Roofs.” Connect the water control element/layer of the roof to the wall, the air control element/layer of the roof to the wall, the vapor control element/ layer of the roof to the wall and finally the thermal control element/layer of the
ashrae.org	



ASHRAE Journal - February 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ASHRAE Journal - February 2011

ASHRAE Journal - February 2011
Contents
Commentary
Industry News
Letters
Meetings and Shows
Feature Articles
Thermal Coupling of Cooling and Heating Systems
10 Common Problems in Energy Audits
Hall of Fame Feature: History of the Changing Concepts in Ventilation Requirements
A Guide to Wireless Technologies
Building Sciences
Solar NZEB Project
Emerging Technologies
People
Special Section
InfoCenter
Commissioning
Products
Washington Report
Classified Advertising
Advertisers Index
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - ASHRAE Journal - February 2011
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - Cover2
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 1
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 2
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - Contents
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - Commentary
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 5
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - Industry News
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 7
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - Letters
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 9
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 10
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 11
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 12
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 13
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 14
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 15
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - Meetings and Shows
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 17
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - Thermal Coupling of Cooling and Heating Systems
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 19
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 20
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 21
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 22
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 23
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 24
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 25
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 10 Common Problems in Energy Audits
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 27
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 28
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 29
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 30
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 31
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 32
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 33
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - Hall of Fame Feature: History of the Changing Concepts in Ventilation Requirements
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 35
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 36
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 37
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 38
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 39
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 40
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 41
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 42
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 43
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - A Guide to Wireless Technologies
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 45
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 46
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 47
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 48
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 49
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - Building Sciences
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 51
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 52
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 53
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 54
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 55
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 56
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 57
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 58
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 59
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 60
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 61
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - Solar NZEB Project
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 63
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 64
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 65
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 66
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 67
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 68
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 69
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - Emerging Technologies
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 71
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 72
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 73
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 74
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 75
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - People
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 77
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - InfoCenter
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 79
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 80
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 81
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 82
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 83
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 84
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 85
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - Commissioning
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 87
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 88
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 89
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 90
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - Products
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - Washington Report
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - Classified Advertising
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 94
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - 95
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - Advertisers Index
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - Cover3
ASHRAE Journal - February 2011 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_201910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_201909
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_amca_2019septmeber_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_amca_2019september
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_201908
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_201907
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_201906
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_201905
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_201904
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_2019april
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_201903
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_2019march
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_201902
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_201901
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_showguide2019
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_2018december
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_2018november
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_amca_2018fall_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_amca_2018fall
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_2018october
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraemexico_2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_201810
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraeinsights_201806
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_201805
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_201804
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_201803
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_201712
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_201711
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_201710
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_amca_2017fall_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_amca_2017fall
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_201709
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_201705
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashrae_meetinginsert_201610
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_amca_2016fall_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_amca_2016fall
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_acrexindia
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_amca_2015summer_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_amca_2015summer
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/amca/2014summer2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/amca/2014summer
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_acma_2014summer
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_201311
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_201309
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_acmasupp_2013fall
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_201305
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_201303
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/pubcatalog_2013winter
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_201211
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/achr_expo_mexico2012
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_201209
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_201208_v3
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_201208_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/pubcatalog_2012summer
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_201205
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_201203
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/pubcatalog_2012winter
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_201111_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/ashraejournal_201109_v2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/pubcatalog_2011summer
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_201105
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ashrae/meetingplanner_201103
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com