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What exactly are wall ties?

What do you mean by wall ties?

Wall ties, which are often referred to as brick ties, are used in structures with cavity walls . They connect the exterior and internal leaf walls, which allows the two leaves to work in sync to each other. Although they’re out of their surroundings after the construction wall ties play an important role in building stability.

Severe structural issues can arise from insufficient or incorrect use of wall ties such as cracks in masonry, dampness and in severe cases, even the collapse of the outer leaf wall. We at My Trade Products we stock the trusted and tried Ancon brand. Ancon is a global experts in fixing, connecting, lifting and anchoring techniques for the construction industry since 1882.

The majority of wall ties today are usually made of stainless steel as it can withstand corrosion caused by moisture and cement without the need for additional layer protection. They Ancon wall ties are designed to have an unmaintained life span and are specially engineered for keeping the material’s content to an absolute minimum. Certain composite materials are used, such as Ancon’s Teplo range of ties, which are made from pultruded basalt fibres , set in a resin matrix, which are ideal in ultra-low energy construction, where preventing heat loss through ‘thermal bridge is particularly crucial.

Installing Wall Ties

In the normal brick-to-block construction, the wall ties are constructed into the inner and outer leaves. The wall ties need to be pressed down in the mortar, then covered with fresh mortar. It is important to note that wall ties must never be pushed into an existing joint. In the process of installing, an even slope should be applied to allow moisture to enter the cavity toward the leaf’s outer edge. The drip part of the tie needs to point downwards and positioned near the center of the cavity.

If building a different type of cavity wall such as thin-joint blockwork , timber or steel frames then the wall ties will typically be put in place when the inner leaf has been constructed as well as during the building of the outer leaf.

What spacing and how much space should you use for wall ties?

If both of the leaves of the cavity wall are at least 90mm thick the recommended method is to use 2.5 wall tie-ups per square meter using a maximum horizontal spacing of 900mm and a maximum vertical spacing of 450mm. Always ensure that you are in compliance with the Building Regulations however as this could be different in certain instances. Spread the wall ties evenly across the wall in a staggered order, with the exception of around openings such as doors, windows and roof verges. Also, do not return or bond edges and non-tied vertical motion joints. The vertical spacing of the wall tie should be limited to 300mm, and not more than 225mm from the edge of the opening. This can result in an untied wall on each section of blockwork that is within 225mm of openings. However, spacing may be relaxed if the joint has the deboned tie which spans the joint.

Which wall tie type should you use?

Masonry to Masonry

There are many factors to consider when choosing the ideal wall tie including the type of masonry, cavity width as well as the number of courses/heights within the structure and its geographical location.

All factors governing the correct installation of wall-tie ties in any given context are covered in a variety of Eurocodes as well as Building Regulations, which should be considered and followed. To supplement the Building Regulations and Eurocodes, Ancon in the UK Ancon have an additional published document (PD 6697:2010) that aids to select cavity wall ties based upon geographic and topographic factors. This means that, in the majority of instances it is possible for cavity wall ties to be identified without the involvement of a structural engineer.

Frame ties for Masonry and Timber

Timber frame ties are constructed to allow vertical motion caused by expansion and contraction of materials that have various thermo-expansion properties. The wall tie should be able to deal with the difference in movement which is why it is crucial to select the correct tie that is suitable for the amount of structure’s needs for movement. Ancon’s STF6 and TIM6 tie provide 24mm of frame shrinkage and are suitable for the majority of timber-framed structures up to 4 storey’s high. It is the Ancon TFMT7 is specifically designed to allow for greater movement up to 65mm, and is consequently is suitable for larger structures.

How to Identify Wall Tie Failure

It is difficult to identify exactly when an anchor on the wall has failed and the severity of the problem, but the primary indicator is regular horizontal cracks that appear in the outer wall. As the tie rusts, it will expand, causing the mortar to crack and therefore allow water to get in. Sometimes this rust build-up can end into an expansion point that could cause the wall to be distorted. wall by bulging or bowing

Another thing to watch out for is cracking in the brickwork of windows. When the rust begins to build up on the wall tie the force creates cracks in the window reveals that have edges that are structurally weak.

If the lintels on windows and doors appear like they’ve fallen or lifted, this could also be a indicator.

If you suspect you have an issue with your wall tie A professional surveyor is recommended. They have specialist devices and detectors to detect the extent of the destruction of your wall tie.