Wall Tie Problems
you need help and advice with regard to structural surveys, building surveys, engineers reports, defects reports, including things such as wall cracks, repointing, mortar, dampness, lateral dampness, wet rot, dry rot, woodworm, condensation, foundation problems, etc, please free phone 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat with a building surveyor.
Wall ties why there can be problems
Wall ties have been used in England since after the war and in Scotland since before the war and we do not know about Wales!
Originally properties were built with sold walls. By this we mean a wall that is formed in brickwork or stonework in a Flemish bond pattern or English garden wall bond pattern. One of the problems with this type of wall was dampness getting through. A system was therefore developed, which was used Scotland first of all (we assume because it is wetter in this area) of having a brick, an air gap and then another brick. The two walls are tied together using a wall tie. This is how wall tie construction first started.
English Bond brickwork
Flemish Bond brickwork
What does a failed wall tie wall look like?
Wall tie failure in cavity walls
The textbooks advise that wall ties will rust and corrode. This will lead to an expansion of the metal wall ties, which will cause horizontal cracking, which over many years we have seen once or twice. What we have seen an equal number of times (because this is not a big problem in relation to the number of houses there are with cavity wall ties) is vertical cracking and this seems to be where the wall ties have actually rusted through and broken up and one wall has moved away from an adjacent wall where the wall ties are still in place. For example, the area that has failed could be an area that gets the wind and rain and is sheltered from sunlight. This results in a vertical crack, which is the complete opposite of a horizontal crack that the textbooks say to look out for. It could be argued that there should be horizontal cracking as well, but this is not what we have seen in our experience.
Discovering if your wall ties have rusted away (often known as failed)
There are specialist companies out there that will look at the wall ties by drilling holes in the walls and using an endoscope or borescope, which allows the viewing of small spaces. However, it has to be said that:
They will generally only do a random sample. This makes sense as sometimes the investigation work would be more costly than actually carrying out the work if it is carried out looking at every single wall time and;
That often these companies have a vested interest in specifying work to be carried out, as they are wall tie replacement companies and are sales people.
Independent advice on wall tie failure
We offer independent advice on wall tie failure and will look at a sample of the wall ties and will look in the positions where we feel they are most likely to have failed, i.e. areas where there is wind driven rain, or areas that do not get natural sunlight, and we will advise without any benefits of then having future wall tie replacement work. If you think about it, it makes sense.
If you truly do want an independent expert opinion from a surveyor with regard to wall tie problems, wall tie failure, surveys, building surveys, structural reports / engineers reports / specific defects report, structural surveys, home buyers reports or any other property matters please contact 0800 298 5424 for a surveyor to give you a call back.
If you have a commercial leasehold or freehold then you may wish to look at our Dilaps Website at www.DilapsHelp.com and for Disputes go to our Disputes Help site www.DisputesHelp.com .
We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).
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Walls- Articles and Information
How, in our experience, Insurance Companies deal with Cracks in Properties
Cracks in my Wall
Cavity Wall Problems
Please see our section on:
Information on Engineers Reports
Specific Defects Reports