Bust a Cap
Written by: Nate VanBeek
Written by: Nate VanBeek
One of the most common questions asked when it comes to building walls with AB Courtyard is “Do I have to use the wall caps to finish my Courtyard project?” The answer to that question is invariably “No.” There are a number of options for finishing your AB Courtyard project. The only limitation to what you can do for finishing an AB Courtyard wall is your budget and creativity.
One alternative to using AB Courtyard wall caps comes in at a lower cost, but often times a higher utility value. That alternative is the use of wood on top of your wall. This finishing option can be as simple as a straight plank of ¾” thick unfinished cedar or as complex as a varnished, slatted bench top. Adding a wooden benchtop to your AB Courtyard wall can be a great alternative to AB Courtyard caps because often homeowners have all the tools needed to add a wooden cap to their AB Courtyard wall. On top of that, adding a wider wooden bench top can increase an AB Courtyard wall’s usability.
Another alternative to using AB Courtyard Caps for finishing a wall is using AB Fence Caps. AB Fence Caps are can be wonderful on straight sections of wall because they have an attractive crowned top. They are also two inches wider allowing for a more spacious bench top. Since AB Fence Caps are eighteen inches long, you will need less block which can lower costs. AB Fence caps are also grooved underneath meaning there is no need to modify the top course of the AB Courtyard blocks or the bottoms of the AB Fence Caps. Curved section of wall will require miter cuts to be done on AB Fence Caps.
A third alternative to using AB Courtyard Caps for finishing a wall is using a natural stone like granite or marble. This is far and away the most expensive and difficult option. However, using a granite remnant from a countertop installation can be a cheaper solution that adds a touch of refinement to your AB Courtyard wall project. However, natural stone does require special cutting and finishing tools and should be left in the hands of industry professionals due to the cost of materials and tools.
With many finishing options for an AB Courtyard wall it is desirable to have a flat surface to mate your capping material with. The simplest way to achieve that end is to flip the top course of your AB Courtyard wall upside down. Alternatively, you can knock the raised ring off of the top course as well. With many finishing options it is a good idea to secure your cap to the wall using a small amount of construction adhesive. This will add some strength to your AB Courtyard wall and it will protect it from damage.
For more information on building with AB Courtyard read Courtyard Walls by Allan Block.