Cracks, bulging or bowing walls are clear signs that a property maybe suffering from a structural problem. A common cause of this can be down to wall tie failure.
What are cavity wall ties?
Cavity walls consist of two half brick leaves, the inner leaf and the external leaf, usually with a 50mm cavity in-between. The two halves of the wall are tied together using mild steel or wrought iron wall ties spaced at regular intervals to provide the support required to keep the property stable.
Houses built before 1935 tend to be constructed with solid brick and therefore don’t have cavity walls, however it was shortly after this time the construction trend changed from building with solid brick walls to building homes with cavity walls. The reason for this was that it is cheaper to build using the cavity wall method than solid walls. Cavity walls also provide better protection from the weather as they keep homes warmer by improving thermal efficiency.
What are the causes of wall tie failure?
The original wall ties were made from mild steel with a paint or zinc coating, these are susceptible to deterioration over time leaving the support between the inner and outer leaf weakened. Another cause of wall tie failure could be that not enough wall ties were used in the original build and the wall ties are too sparsely placed to provide long term support.
Signs of cavity wall tie failure are stepped and horizontal cracks in the masonry and mortar of a wall and as stated before, bulging and bowing walls is also a sign of damage. In extreme circumstances, cavity wall tie failure can lead to the external leaf collapsing entirely.
How to solve wall tie failure
A wall tie survey will highlight any problems and give advice on any works that may need to be done.
If you need to have your wall ties replaced then ensure your contractor uses ties made from a high-grade material that will not corrode or rust over time. This will help to guarantee the wall will be stable and secure for many years to come. If required, cosmetic repairs should also be made to ensure the appearance of the wall is not altered.
Wall tie failure is not the only cause of destabilisation and cracking in walls, movement of a building caused by physical or natural events can lead to the brickwork and mortar cracking and becoming unstable. In the past, there were a few options for remedying such defects which were often expensive and unsightly, sometimes altering the appearance of a historic or listed building. Today however, there is a range of masonry reinforcing solutions that we at ProTen Services can provide.
Our solutions include:
- Lintel reinforcement
- Crack stitching
- Lateral restraints
All our solutions are undertaken by qualified and technical engineers, we aim to be cost effective and cause as little disruption to your home life as possible.
If you are concerned that your property may have cavity wall tie failure, or any other form of structural problem, contact our expert team here. They will be happy to discuss all the options available to you in a clear and concise manner.
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