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Structural Repairs

Structural repairs is an area of property maintenance that should not go unchecked. From time to time, homes and buildings will display signs of deterioration and structural faults, but it is utterly imperative that once discovered, professionals are involved.

Acting as soon as possible to repair structural problems will save further deterioration and more costly restoration work in the future. 

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Signs that you might have a structural issue?

If you are reading this page, our guess is that you suspect you may have a structural problem of some sort.  This may be because you have come across signs of structural damage within your home or building. These signs may be in the form of:

  • Cracks in your walls
  • Cracks in your brickwork
  • Bulging or bowing walls
  • Cracks around your window sills
  • Cracks in window lintels
  • Cracked or leaning chimney
  • Potentially windows & doors not opening and closing properly

How the structural problems may have occurred

Unwanted structural movement can occur in homes and buildings for a great many reasons. These may include:

  • Ground movement or subsidence
  • Inadequately restrained or tied walls
  • Movement brought on by water ingress and timber decay into the structure
  • Failed lintels or building materials
  • Movement fatigue
  • Mechanical impact or disturbance
  • Poor design of the building

Once the structural issue has been identified

Once the cause of any structural problem is established, a solution then needs to be drawn up.  

If you have engaged the services of a professional, they will consider many aspects including the use of the areas affected, the implied loads, the materials used in your home/building and the form and feasibility of any rectification work.  

If you have not consulted with a professional, it is absolutely critical that a structural engineer is engaged and involved to supervise and draw up the specification and works in partnership with a suitably experienced contractor

The first step if you suspect a structural issue

Well before any consideration of any structural repair, first and foremost with any problem associated with a structural defect, it is vital that a professional inspection is carried out to build an accurate picture of the issue..  This will often involve a structural engineer who can work closely with a contractor to deliver the appropriate repair

 

Structural repairs - inspection - PCA

Structural repair methods

There are a number of methods available to deal with various types of structural repairs.  Below, we summarise three of the most common structural issues and the types of repairs/methods used to resolve the structural issue.

Cavity wall tie corrosion

Cavity walls have been a common feature of buildings in the UK for over one hundred years. Two leaves of brick or stonework are held together using metal straps or “wall ties”. The cavities between the two leaves of masonry provide an effective barrier to water penetration and also act as an insulation layer. In some circumstances these wall ties can corrode or fail. Failure can manifest itself as cracking in the external leaf of masonry, structural movement or in severe cases the collapse of sections of masonry

Thankfully, this structural repair has reasonably simple and well established remediation strategies.  New stainless steell ties can be installed, either fixed into the walls using resins or mechanically.  The defective or corroded ties can be isolated and removed - and in some cases- left in-situ.

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Structural Repairs - Homeowner Help & Information - PCA

Structural Repairs - Homeowner Help & Information - PCA

Subsidence & cracks

Structural cracking is the result of movement in the ground or within the structure.  Again, there are a number of remedies for this.

Ground subsidence can be caused by trees shifting water tables, drought, corrosion, decay, stress failure, poor maintenance, water, vibration and even salt attack.

Foundation problems and the movement of walls are all commonplace where ground subsidence occurs.  Methods used to cope with such problems can include pinning, strapping, piling, lateral restraint systems and cementation anchors

Crack stitching

Crack stitching is a method of reinforcement & repair for cracked stone and brickwork. The most widely accepted and effective method of repair is using profiled stainless steel bars and resin grout .  Lintel replacement and panel strengthening can also be undertaken using these techniques - and the effect of this is that invasive rebuilding is kept to an absolute minimum and the repaired building shows little evidence of any intervention to correct the structural problems.

 

 

Structural repairs  crack stitching

Structural repairs - timber resin & reinforcement - PCA

Timber resin repairs

Finally, timber resin repair and reinforcement offers an effective means of repairing existing structural timbers that are decayed by issues such as dry rot and need to be strengthened.  Repairs may involve timber splices, repairing carrier beams, repairing joist ends or strengthening beams in general.

The importance of using the RIGHT professionals

Protecting buildings and achieving a successful remedy to structural instability whilst carrying out repairs, presents numerous challenges.  It is essential therefore, that contractors with the necessary competencies and experience are selected for the long term success of any structural repair programme.

As the trade body for the structural repair industry, the PCA helps to provide peace of mind to homeowners by ensuring that our members are fully trained to provide reliable, trustworthy and cost effective structural repair treatments. Our members are regularly vetted to make sure that they possess the absolute latest technical knowledge to survey, and wherever necessary, provide structural repair solutions in a manner that retains the aesthetic appearance of the structure as much as possible.

To find a PCA member near you, simply run a search below.

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Structural repair guidance for construction & property specialists

Want to learn more about structural repair? Check out our professionals page with lots of information on structural repair.

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