Damp is a common problem that affects commercial and domestic properties. It can be highly destructive, causing structural damage and creating an environment conducive to mould growth. The most effective method of preventing dampness is to ensure that your property has correctly installed and maintained wall ties.
This blog post will explain what wall ties are, why they are used, and their advantages.
What Are Wall Ties?
Wall ties are fasteners used to join masonry walls together. In buildings with cavity walls, wall ties are used to join the two leaves of a cavity wall together, allowing the two parts to act as a single unit.
Even though they are hidden in plain sight after construction, wall ties play a vital role in ensuring the stability of a building. They should be installed at regular intervals, and their spacing is determined by the wall’s width, the height of the building, and the type of construction.
Wall ties are also an important structural component in buildings and are crucial to preventing damp problems in buildings.
The Purpose of Wall Ties
Wall ties are primarily used for the stabilisation of masonry walls. This is especially important in taller buildings where the weight of the upper floors can cause the lower floors to become stressed. The wall ties help distribute weight evenly across the entire wall, preventing uneven settlement and cracking.
Along with stabilising walls, wall ties are essential for preventing dampness from spreading throughout a property. Damp is often caused by water seeping through cracks in brickwork or mortar joints.
By tightly joining brickwork, wall ties form a barrier that prevents water from leaking through wall gaps, keeping properties dry and free of damp-related issues like mould growth.
The Different Types of Wall Ties
There is a vast array of wall tie types, each serving a specific purpose in structural building. They are commonly used to join masonry walls but can also reinforce structural frames such as lintels and lintels. The wall ties range from starter, lateral restraint channel, movement, remedial, sliding anchor, masonry to masonry, and masonry to timber.
In addition, a range of British Standards governs the design and use of wall ties, intending to provide a minimum standard that all manufacturers and builders must adhere to. Here is a list of some of the walls mentioned above ties and a little about them:
Starting wall ties are used to join new walls to pre-existing structures. They can be used to create an additional leaf when needed, for example, during renovating or converting an old building. Additionally, they can be used to extend an existing structure.
Lateral Restraint Channel:
Using lateral restraint channels, masonry walls can be fastened back to other structural components. This could be steel construction, either new or old, or pre-existing walls. After they have been installed, the ties prevent sideways movement between the two structures.
Movement ties allow movement in one direction but prevent movement in another. They are installed inside a debonding sleeve, which is placed over the portion of the tie that will be buried in the wall.
Plain end ties are used in movement joints along long runs of brickwork. They span over the vertical joints, preventing vertical movement while permitting horizontal expansion and contraction.
In addition to providing a remedial solution to structural cracks, these remedial wall ties can also be utilised in existing cavity walls where wall ties have been omitted or have corroded.
Sliding anchors are common when expansion joints are desired in brick veneer walls or when retrofit expansion joints are needed following fire damage.
Systems of this type attach cavity walls to overhead structures while accommodating vertical movement using one-way or two-way sliding ties.
Masonry to Masonry:
Two segments of a cavity wall can function as one unit thanks to the masonry-to-masonry wall tie. Cavity ties typically have a device that stops moisture from entering the joint. There are four standard classification types:
- Type 1-Heavy Duty: A robust wall tie appropriate for most building sizes and kinds. These ties are inflexible, so they shouldn’t be specified in locations where there will be significant differential motions or where low-strength masonry units are being used. In the majority of UK sites, they are appropriate for structures of any height.
- Type 2-General Purpose: A universal wall tie is used in home and small business settings and buildings for general use. They are appropriate for flat sites with basic wind speeds of up to 31 m/s and elevations no higher than 150 m above sea level, as well as buildings that can reach a maximum height of 15 m.
- Type 3-General Purpose: These Type 3 wall ties are similar to the Type 2 wall ties mentioned above, except that the basic wind speed must not be greater than 27 m/s.
- Type 4-Light Duty: It is recommended to use a light-duty wall tie if the inner and outer leaves of a box-shaped construction are the same thickness. They are suitable for flat areas with fundamental wind speeds of up to 27 m/s, elevations up to 150 m above sea level, and structures no taller than 10 m.
Masonry to Timber:
This wall tie is intended to connect an inner timber frame to an outer brick skin. Beyond serving a structural purpose, these connections are characterised by their ability to withstand significant vertical movement between bricks and timber. Three main types exist:
- Type 5: Suitable for buildings up to 15 m high on flat sites with a wind speed of 25 m/s and a height of 150 m or less above sea level. Timber frame ties are available in domestic buildings and industrial and commercial developments.
- Type 6: A timber frame wall tie is suitable for up to four stories of high domestic and small commercial projects. They can also be used on flat sites with wind speeds of up to 25 mph and heights of up to 150 metres.
- Type 7: Type 6 ties are similar. However, these are intended to be used in taller buildings up to seven stories high. Each site must be evaluated to determine whether or not it is appropriate.
How to Identify a Problem With Wall Ties
Your walls may have a design flaw, which, if left untreated, could pose a major risk to your property and your family’s well-being. That problem, of course, is wall tie corrosion.
Unfortunately, wall tie corrosion is one of the most difficult building defects to identify without professional help. This type of damage often goes unnoticed until there is visible deterioration. The signs of wall tie corrosion include poky surfaces, sunken mortar joints, and mortar lines on brickwork, all of which could be signs of an issue.
With structural inspections, you can get peace of mind in knowing that we’ll be able to identify any mould and wall tie problems early, thereby providing recommendations to remedy the issue. A few signs indicate that a property may have problems with its wall ties. These include:
- Cracks in brickwork or mortar joints.
- Bowing or leaning walls.
- Wallpaper peels away from the walls.
- Damp patches on walls.
If you suspect any issues with your wall ties, don’t hesitate to contact a professional. It’s never worth leaving it any later. After all, your health and safety are something you should put first.
How to Fix a Problem With Wall Ties
If you think your property may have problems with its wall ties, the best action is to get in touch with a professional. They will be able to assess the situation and advise you on the best way to fix it. This may involve anything from simply repointing mortar joints to completely rebuilding sections of the wall.
A professional can also advise you on preventing future wall tie problems. This may involve recommendations such as ensuring that your property is adequately ventilated or using waterproof render on external walls.
The Benefits of Having Properly Installed and Maintained Wall Ties
There are several benefits to having properly installed and maintained wall ties. These include:
- Increased stability of the wall.
- Reduced risk of brickwork cracking or movement.
- Prevention of dampness and mould growth.
- Enhanced appearance of the property.
Always ensure that your property’s wall ties are installed correctly and regularly. If you notice any warning signs of wall tie failure, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a professional.
If you’re concerned about damp or mould growth on your property, it’s essential to check that your wall ties are correctly installed and maintained. Wall ties create a barrier against water seepage, which helps to prevent dampness from spreading through a building.
In addition to avoiding moisture, wall ties help stabilise masonry walls—essential in taller buildings where weight can cause stress on lower floors. There are two main types of wall ties – expansion wall ties and restraint wall ties – so make sure you choose the right one for your needs.