luminaries on parapet wall

Mounting luminarias on parapet walls

Many of you will want to mount luminaries on your parapet walls, either on top of your home or on surrounding walls around your property.  There are many ways to accomplish this task.

FLIC Luminaries are the perfect luminary choice for those wanting to install luminarias on top their homes, businesses or parapet walls because they are the only solid one-piece luminary on the market!

The first thing to know is you will want to be very careful with whatever technique you select to be sure you do not damage your parapet walls.  This is extremely important especially if your parapet wall tops are stucco or you already have cracking in your stucco walls.  Stucco is not a water barrier.  Water will seep through stucco.  It is important to know how your parapet wall tops are constructed underneath your stucco.  If you are fortunate to have metal flashing on top of your wall or something very waterproof, you have more safety margin, as long as you do not damage that surface.

In every case, make sure you know what you are doing or contact others who do know.  It is usually helpful to speak with other homeowners who mount luminarias on their parapets.  Another good source are construction contractors who work on parapets and stucco.  

We list several known methods shared with us from other customers.  In most cases, we advise taking the least risk in damaging your building by using Method #1, or Method #2 or #3 with an arm going down the inside of wall or making your own wall clip.  Method #4 is also low risk for building damage.

Method #1:  Weigh down luminaries and put cushioned shoes on them
We sell an Adobe Wall Mount, or acquire weatherstripping at any hardware store.  Our wall mount is a 17' foamy strip of plastic, and has adhesive on one side.  Take the strip and cut two pieces and stick under each luminary.  This is like putting shoes on your luminary.  This will help keep your luminaries in place after you weigh them down.  Wind, over time, will vibrate your luminaries and they will walk right off your building without shoes on.

Method #2:  Screw luminaries onto a 1"x4" board, then secure the board
An easy way to install the luminaries is to do most of the work on the ground.  Setup your luminaries, make sure the drain holes are open on each luminary and install your light strings.  Spread out the luminaries at the distance you want (usually 34” apart).  Screw them into a 1”x4” lumber board from the top using small wood screws. You need two screws per luminary so they don’t rotate once installed.  You will probably need a helper putting them into position on your stucco.  It's time to secure the boards on top of your parapet.  One of the easiest methods is to drill a hole on top of you parapet wall and insert a drop-in anchor or molly into the hole.  Then mount the board and secure with lag bolts and washers.  There is some risk with this approach.  If your parapet crown is stucco then water will seep through the concrete and may eventually crack your stucco or create rot below the concrete.  One important thing to do, is to always keep your holes on top covered.  When your luminaries are not installed you should keep a water-tight insulated washer and bolt in place to shield water from penetrating around the hole.  It may benefit you to consult with a contractor who services stucco in your area before attempting to do this method.  Continuing on... you will need at least two secure points for each board, preferably a secure point at the ends.  On long runs you may need to secure in the center, too. If you have a flat roof and can hide your luminaries when removing, you may decide to store these on top of your building, wrapping them in plastic and holding secure with a few bricks or something of weight.  This makes it very easy to put your luminaries up every year!  

Method #3:  Screw luminaries onto metal strapping, then secure the strapping
Very similar to Method #2, except instead of using lumber you use metal strapping.  This can be bought at hardware stores, usually in a roll and maybe ¾” to an inch or so wide.  Usually this strapping already has holes in it.  You will want to flip the luminaries upside down in your yard, make sure your drain holes are open and install your light strings.  Spread out your luminaries to proper spacing.  Then place the metal strapping on top of the luminaries and with small wood screws and washers, screw two holes through the strapping into each luminary.  Probably best to have flat head screws.  You will probably need a helper to install these, maybe two helpers if the luminaries are wobbly on the strapping.  Some people even paint this strapping to match their stucco if it is in a place that is visible.  Once again, like with the Method #2 technique, you will want to anchor the luminary runs on your building by carefully drilling in a molly on at least the ends of each run.

*A safer method to secure Methods #2 and #3 is attach a homemade arm on the end and hang down the arm on the backside of the wall and weigh them down (if possible).  You can also make metal straps that bend down both sides of the wall tightly (making a wall clip) and place these over your board or strap.  Either one of these ways to secure are our preferred recommendation for those using either of these methods.  

Method #4:  Attach a heavy metal "L" strap on each luminary
Find a source for metal (thick) strapping.  Measure and cut the straps into individual pieces and bend them into "L" shapes.  Mount these to the bottom of your luminaries and hang the long part of the strap down the back side (hidden side) of your wall.  You may want to use 1 or 2 of these per luminary.  If it's heavy metal you may not need to add extra weight to each luminary to keep them in place.  Use your judgment.  Adding cushioned shoes may be of further help as described in Method #1.  You may even secure these further with the hanging part of the strap on the back side by adding more weight.  This method add security of preventing luminaries from falling off the front of your building.

Method #5:  Glue each luminary on top of your parapet wall
Many people have experience temporarily gluing luminaries into place.  We do not have this experience so it is best for you to experiment or speak with others who use this method.  We've heard of customers using Liquid Nails (construction adhesive) or hot glue.  If it's the right glue you can break them free at the end of the season and remove the glue from the parapet wall top and luminary without too much trouble.  Once again, we do not know how to advise further on this technique and it is best to experiment in a small area before using this method to make sure you do not damage your wall.


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