This detail illustrates a rebuild strategy for replacing existing architectural terra cotta cornice, balustrade parapet, and accessory units. The existing terra cotta is replaced with new extruded terra cotta units. It is installed, not filled, with weep holes at the underside of each overhanging unit, which are in turn each secured with new stainless-steel anchorage. In restoring and rebuilding these types of historic wall systems, moisture mitigation is critical to long-term preservation and performance. Moisture management measures in this detail include horizontal skyward-facing joint treatment of sealant or lead T-caps, an integrated flashing system installed in the cornice, and stainless-steel through-wall flashing under the coping.

The flashing system in the cornice includes a self-adhering flashing secured by a termination bar with continuous sealant, a stainless-steel drip edge, and weeps in the vertical joints. The through-wall flashing includes integral stainless-steel drip edges and weeps in the vertical joints. Accessible existing structural steel is also protected by cleaning and coating with a corrosion-inhibiting coating. This rebuild detail illustrates general best practices. Specific project conditions, configuration, and details will vary and should be determined by the design professional.


This drawing references Cornice and Parapet- Original Plate 25.

Original Plate 25

This is a rendering of an original detail shown in Plate 25 of Terra Cotta Standard Construction, published by the National Terra Cotta Society, in 1914. This detail is a general example of appropriate architectural terra cotta design and detailing at the time of publication. Specifically, it illustrates an example of an architectural terra cotta cornice, balustrade parapet, and accessory units. The units are anchored to a transitional wall system, consisting of a multi-wythe masonry backup wall with structural steel support. The architectural terra cotta is hand pressed and attached with steel anchorage. Though the details contained in Terra Cotta Standard Construction were intended to illustrate general best practices of terra cotta construction, specific project construction and conditions vary.

Original plate 25 pressed terra cotta cornice and parapet

More to Explore

Original Plate

Check out our rendering of Plate 25, originally published in Terra Cotta Standard Construction.

Close-up of original plate 25 cornice and parapet

Dynamic 3D Detail

Explore this 3D detail and download the Sketchup model in the 3D Warehouse.

Pressed Detail

You can also take a look at our pressed cornice and parapet rebuild.

Close-up of Pressed Terra Cotta Cornice and Parapet Rebuild