Installation of a beam has the combined effect of distributing loads and strengthening masonry weakened by structural movement, thus providing a versatile means of restoring structural stability to masonry where it has cracked or failed and lost its load bearing capacity.
These are generally double bar installations incorporated into mortar bed joints to traverse cracks and dissipate stresses within masonry over a larger surface area whilst still allowing small movements of the structure due to natural thermal variations.
Beams can be used in isolation or accompanied by a range of Thor Helical methodologies to restore stability to a structure resulting from inadequate or failed drainage, inappropriate or failed foundations, ground movement, weathering, poor building practice and increased loading stress due to building alterations.
As quite a high status building this structure was built to a high specification as indicated by the checker patterned brickwork and 'penny pointing' of the lime mortar. Over the succeeding years it has suffered from a combination of minimal foundations and general deterioration over the years leading to movement, cracking and general weakening of masonry around and between the large Georgian window openings.
There have been many attempts to repair masonry in a bodged fashion using totally unsuitable cement mortar to reface bricks and fill cracks which have reopened due to continuing cyclical movement. It is also evident by patches of lime mortar over the brickwork that at least the front facade had been rendered at some time possibly to cover movement cracks? The elevation shown here is south facing hence subject to a high level of thermal movement created by the sun, and this combined with cement repairs has accelerated deterioration.
For the weakest areas between ground and first floor windows we prescribed a combination of Thor Helical Masonry Beams, Grout Ties and the sympathetic use of lime mortar for repointing helical bar chases 'loose' bricks and cement mortar in keeping with the original fabric of the building.
On older buildings originally constructed without lintels over openings relied purely on the strength of timber framed windows to support masonry over the openings. The series of photographs below illustrate an example of a late victorian farm cottage where masonry above openings had started to sag by its bowed and cracked appearance; possibly due to decay of the original wooden frame windows?
A decision was to made to replace the windows with more thermally efficient uPVC double glazed units prior to reinforcing and strengthening the masonry above resulting in the complete failure of soldier arches above requiring temporary strutting support. To provide essential support to the masonry we were called in to install Thor Helical Remedial Masonry Beams above openings combind with Grout Ties driven up through soldier arches to tie in with the lower cord of Masonry Beam, all held in position with WHO60 cementitious grout.
As an approved specifier and installer of the Thor Helical products we can offer an insurance backed 10 year warranty on Masonry Beam works for a small additional fee through Construction Guarantee Services Limited.