15 Apr Structural Repair and Strengthening
Buildings aren’t invulnerable, and a wide variety of factors can lead to structural damage. Whether your home has suffered from subsidence, has experienced traumatic damage or (if it’s an older building) is simply feeling its age, it may need to be repaired or strengthened.
So what might be needed to achieve this?
Whether your home’s walls are made of brick, stone or concrete, the materials are likely to degrade over time, even if there’s been no specific damage.
With a brick building, for instance, the bricks may have crumbled or the mortar holding them together may have degraded. This means the bricks will need to be replaced, or refaced if the damage is only superficial, or that the brickwork has to be repointed.
In the case of a stone building, the stones may need to be repaired or refaced. Concrete may also need to be repaired, or perhaps it’s enough to recoat it.
Wall Tie Replacement
Walls are held up by more than just masonry and mortar. Crucial components of cavity walls are the wall ties that are hidden from view but hold the walls together.
Wall ties are traditionally made of metal, though now they can be made of synthetic materials. They generally last well but can eventually become corroded. They can also sometimes break, which will often be shown by horizontal cracking or bowing. In either case, they need to be replaced in order to stabilise the wall.
In addition to replacing wall ties, walls can be damaged, resulting in delamination of the masonry. To prevent further deterioration, extra ties need to be put into the wall.
If masonry has been damaged by subsidence or other ground movement, it’s going to need more than just repair. You may need to have the building’s foundations underpinned, but there could be other options, as long as the structural survey considers them appropriate.
One option is to combine joint reinforcement to form ties and deep masonry beams to distribute the structural load more evenly. The process is completed with lateral and vertical restraints.
If your home is a listed building or in a conservation area, you won’t have as free a hand as normal to make repairs. For instance, you’ll need to ensure you match the type and colour of the original bricks or stones, and you may even need to use a type of mortar not common today.
In this case, it’s vital that your contractor understands these requirements and is equipped to meet them, as well as all your other needs. If you have concerns that your home may need structural repair or strengthening, you’re very welcome to get in touch with us.