A well-built brick wall is a byword for solidity and durability, so finding a small or large crack in one of the brick walls of your home is always a disturbing discovery. However, not every cracked brick wall is caused by the dreaded subsidence, and less serious cracks can be caused by changing temperatures, excessive moisture or basic wear and tear. These cracks are generally much simpler to deal with and can often be repaired via a relatively simple method known as crack stitching.
What is crack stitching, and how can it be used to repair my cracked wall?
Crack stitching is a relatively self-explanatory wall repair method and involves 'stitching' the various layers of bricks in a cracked wall back together to restore the strength of the wall as a whole. To do this, crack stitching services insert a long, strong rod of stainless steel into the crack. This steel is bent and deformed in advanced so it snugly fits into the contours of the offending crack, and then it is sealed in place with cement, grout or adhesive resins.
Once inserted and set in place, this steel rod becomes a permanent addition to your wall and dramatically increases its tensile and load-bearing strength to prevent further cracking and damage from occurring. Crack stitching is particularly adept at preventing further damage because the stainless steel rod is slightly flexible and can therefore absorb the structural stresses (often caused by changing temperatures) that may well have caused the crack in the first place.
Can my cracked wall be repaired with crack stitching?
Crack stitching is a very versatile repair technique and can be used on cracks caused by a wide variety of circumstances. Because crack stitching restores all or most of the wall's former strength, it can also be used on essential load-bearing walls, and the waterproof seals used to hold the rod in place mean that crack stitching can be used on exterior walls without the fear of water leakage.
However, there are some types of cracks that crack stitching may not be suitable for. The most common reason crack stitching may not be recommended is because the crack is still widening, a phenomenon known as an active crack. These cracks can be difficult to spot, and calling in structural engineers to determine whether your crack is active is recommended. Active cracks can signify more serious structural problems such as subsidence and may require your home to be underpinned or have its foundations repaired before the crack can be tackled effectively.
Another type of 'moving' crack is known as the cyclic crack. These cracks open and close by themselves over time and are usually caused by structural timbers expanding and contracting with changing temperatures. Because of the flexible nature of the stainless steel rods used, crack stitching may still be used on some cyclic cracks, but more involved structural repair may be required if this movement causes the crack to spread.
For more information about how to repair cracked brickwork, contact a repair and restoration company in your area.