What is it?
Crack stitching refers to a method of permanently remedying and repairing cracked masonry walls.
It involves cutting out sections of mortar in order to insert steel reinforcing rods which are then cemented in place.
It is an effective, non-invasive procedure, so there is no need to move out of your home while it is taking place.
Once all the essential surveying, checks and preparation have taken place it is a quick procedure, often completed easily within one day. It is relatively inexpensive.
Crack stitching is used to remedy vertical or horizontal cracks in masonry walls.
In the example of vertical or diagonal cracks, the rods are inserted horizontally, to extend a minimum of 50cm either side of the crack.
A rod is inserted every 4-6 vertical courses of brickwork, as many times as required, depending on the extent of the crack.
The rod itself is of a special design, 6mm in diameter, with a helical groove cut in, to maximise the surface area that comes into contact with the mortar.
The bars are fixed in place with a course of thixotropic epoxy mortar behind and in front of the bar.
This is then finished with a layer of ordinary mortar, to match the existing mortar in the wall, creating an invisible mend.
The bars are made from flexible, high tensile 304 grade stainless steel so that it does not rust and stain the mortar or weaken over time.
The bars can accommodate small natural movement of the wall as it adjusts for temperature, etc., over time.
Why is it Important?
The most obvious and immediate problems that can arise from a cracked wall is that moisture and pests can infiltrate the cavity, causing all sorts of problems.
In the medium or long term, if a cracked wall is left unattended, the problem is going to get worse.
Water will penetrate the crack and expand and contract with daily and seasonal temperature changes.
Even without the drastic effect of freezing and thawing water, these micro-expansions and contractions of the crack will cause crumbling of the masonry and the crack will widen.
Eventually, bits of masonry will fall off, and the situation will rapidly deteriorate to present safety risks and serious structural faults.
How Do I know Whether Crack Stitching is the Best Solution for my Cracked Wall?
There are several possible reasons why your wall could have developed cracks.
It is important to diagnose the problem accurately, to make sure that we are treating both the cause and the symptom, otherwise we will end up revisiting the site to remedy further problems caused by the original fault.
Faults that would have to remedied prior to crack stitching include failure of steel ties, perhaps due to corrosion, ground movement or failed lintels.
The good news is that it may not be necessary to carry out any remedial work apart from crack stitching.
If the cracks have ben caused by nothing more sinister than natural settlement over time, for example. But it is important to have a qualified eye look over the structure to make sure.
DIY or Leave it to the Experts?
It is possible to purchase DIY crack stitching kits.
However, again, it is important to make sure that you are not just treating the symptom but addressing the cause of the cracks.
This is where professional consultation is necessary.
It is also crucial to follow all the technical steps in the procedure to the letter.
The cavities formed for insertion of the bars must be excavated uniformly, to the correct depth.
They must be cleaned out with compressed air to ensure no dust remains, before being thoroughly flushed with water to further clean the cavity and to prepare the substrate for the epoxy mortar, for example.
In short, it is possible to complete the procedure yourself, but it might be more likely to result in a satisfactory, permanent solution if executed by a professional builder.
LC Joinery, Roofing & Building Work
LC Joinery, Roofing and Building Work employ only time-served, fully qualified builders.
We will conduct a professional survey and ensure that all work is completed to the highest standards.
You can relax, knowing that fully qualified professionals have taken care of everything on your behalf.
LC Joinery, Roofing and Building Work offer a full, meaningful guarantee on all our work.
We have been established in our permanent address in Thornton, Fife, since 2008, so unlike some other building companies, our customers know where to find us if we are ever needed once the job is complete.
We are passionate about delivering honest, professional service. We are accredited and trusted members of the Guild of Master Craftsmen, the Federation of Master Builders, and we are a Which? Trusted Trader.
Contact our friendly team at LC Joinery, Roofing and Building Work for a chat and to discuss your options.