In the last year I’ve been finding an increase in the number of brick wall failures. Most of the walls are in need of repointing due to the age of the dwelling and some are in need of more significant structural repairs. One common repair is re-establishing brick ties between brick wythes.
Over time, forces from the building, water, foundation movement or possibly adding a heavy exterior finish like stucco to the outside wythe may help to pull the brick wythes apart from each other.
Many dwellings built prior to 1950 are built using a structural brick foundation and exterior walls. Many brick walls consist of a quick and sloppy interior wythe that is covered by plaster on the interior and a higher quality brick wythe on the exterior. The wythes of brick wall may have simple metal ties such as nails or brick ties placed during construction to connect the wythes together. When the wythes are connected the wall acts together creating a stronger wall. Unfortunately, many brick walls do not have any ties and likely to separate or delaminate if conditions are right.
A simple repair can be made if any signs of delamination is observed using helix ties. Ties can be post installed by installing helical ties. The helical ties are basically a stainless steel rod with a helix shaped thread to provide tension force between the brick wythes. One manufacturer of these helix ties is Simpson Strong Tie. Their Heli-Tie can be easily installed by first pre-drilling a pilot hole, then placing the heli-tie using a special drive tool and finally patching. The helix ties are typically installed from 16″ to 32″ depending on the situation and size of brick. A tighter spacing around openings is also recommended due to the higher concentration of stresses.
If you have questions about if your brick wall is in need of repair please contact us. We will be happy to help you understand your situation. You can also contact Pinnacle Structural Services to discuss your options and estimated cost of repairs.