PIER CAPS

When terminating the top of an attached pier below the top of the main wall, it is necessary to provide a weathering to the top. This is usually achieved by way of special bricks called ‘plinths’ (see Fig 234). The inclined surface of the plinth bricks, which are available as headers and stretchers, provides a slope to shed rainwater. At the same time, it maintains the bond of the pier as it gradually reduces in width until the face of the main wall is reached and the pier terminated. Terminating a pier in this way is known as ‘tumbling in’.

PIER CAPS

Fig. 234 Pier terminated below the top of an old wall using plinth bricks to form a ‘tumbling in’.

Attached piers can be terminated at the same height as the boundary wall, meaning that the finishing or coping to the top of the pier is integrated with the coping on top of the wall (see Fig 235). This approach is the least common and tends to be found on comparatively low boundary walls.

PIER CAPS

Fig. 235 Attached pier terminated at the same height as the wall.

It is far more common for the finished height of an attached pier to exceed that of the wall, emphasizing the pier as a decorative feature (see Fig 236). As this method is the most favoured, subsequent advice given here on pier caps and copings to boundary walls will relate to that method.

PIER CAPS

Fig. 236 Attached pier terminated higher than the wall.

Attached piers that terminate above the height of the main wall can be capped in exactly the same way as isolated piers. On attached piers, the method of capping should, ideally, match the coping used for the main wall in terms of design and choice of materials. The constructional methods detailed above for boundary walls can equally be utilized on top of piers. However, the most common approach will include a weathering to all four sides, formed either with a brick oversailing course (see Fig 237) or a tile creasing (either single – or double-course) but both incorporating a mortar fillet. Where any mortar fillet returns round a corner or angle, the fillet must be finished with a neat, sharp mitre at the apex of the corner. A small cut or closer is also required to be incorporated into a brick oversailing course to maintain the bond. Such a closer will appear in the same relative position on opposite sides of the pier, with its size determined by the dimensions of the pier and also the extent of the overhang.

PIER CAPS
For strength and aesthetics, any brick-on-edge pier capping must be bonded ‘on plan’ (see Fig 237). The presence of a weathering and mortar fillet provides an opportunity for the cut face of the half-bricks to be invisibly accommodated in the bed joint beneath the coping so that no fair-faced cutting is required.