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Terra Cotta Wall Coping

Terra cotta wall coping can add a special touch to almost any wall. Found on the exterior of most buildings and walls in the western world we are used to seeing it, however, many people are unaware of its function and versatility. Thought to be the most economical and durable type of coping, terra cotta wall coping will work to protect the wall its featured on, while adding a touch of style, giving an elegantly finished look.

What is terra cotta?

Terra cotta is an Italian word that means ‘Baked earth,' and it is a form of earthenware that can be used to create sculptures, bricks, tiles, flower pots, and even waste water pipes. Traditionally a brown/orange color, terra cotta is very versatile, and its usage dates back to approximately 5,000 years ago.

Terra cotta has been used in the world of architecture for many years, but the style used thousands of years ago was not always as plain and simple as it is today. For example, the imperial roof decoration that is found on some ancient Chinese buildings is quite elaborate and includes figurines depicting dragons, a phoenix, and a wide range of beasts.

While the terra cotta wall coping that is today may not be quite as elaborate as it once was, it still stands out as a building material that adds style and elegance to almost any wall.

A clay-like form of earthenware that is glazed or unglazed, terra cotta is shaped and heated to 1,000 – 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, so that it becomes hard and stable, making it ideal for use on walls of almost any shape or size.

A range of shapes and sizes

Terra cotta wall coping is available in many different sizes and shapes, some of these include:

Camelback

Closed end

Custom size double slant

Double slant

Left corner

Right corner

Single slant

Starter

Streamline

Please note that the availability of the above shapes and sizes may differ between manufacturers and sellers.

Each of these styles can add a little extra to the wall, making it stand out, or keeping it in line with wall coping that is already present on nearby walls.

A wide range of colors

Terra cotta wall coping can be purchased in a range of colors to suit different styles. However, due to the variable nature of the glazing process, there may be a slight difference in the color of the final product. Sample wall coping may, therefore, be slightly different to the finished product. While the differences may not be great, buyers may need to be flexible in their choice of color, and understand that some differences may occur.

Please note that glazes do not act as an additional layer of protection or durability, but they can add a pleasant finish.

How to install terra cotta wall coping

Wall coping is typically manufactured and delivered as a block spanning 2 foot in length, and 4 foot in width. To split the block in the kerf, use a mason's hammer and chisel to separate them. The kerf is the area that has been marked with a saw, or another tool, showing you where the coping should be separated. Tap the kerf once or twice, then tap the coping in the middle, at the bottom, and at the very top of each side. The block will separate during the tapping process.

Place the coping in a thick layer of mortar that has been laid on the top of the wall, and fill all exposed joints. If you are placing the coping on a sloping wall, lay the sockets in a downwards slope so that water does not run into the joints.

When wall coping has been correctly installed it should not allow moisture to run onto the wall. In this respect, terra cotta wall coping acts as a form of sealant, preventing the wall from becoming damaged by moisture, while adding a decorative touch.

Although terra cotta wall coping has been used in architecture and building for many years, there has been a recent resurgence in its popularity, due to terra cotta’s versatility, traditional finish, and flexibility regarding style and color.

Used for centuries in architecture and sculpture, terra cotta still plays an integral part in the building industry. This type of wall coping is versatile, and available to buy in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. Adding a finishing touch that can help to protect a wall from moisture damage, terra cotta wall coping is a simple but effective way add a touch of style and elegance to any wall.