Lateral Restraints for Stable Walls and Structures

Effective Lateral Restraints for Stable Walls and Structures


Understanding Lateral Restraints

A lateral restraint is a support provided to a wall experiencing lateral movement, which can be caused by shear strength of wind loading or other external factors. When walls suffer from lateral movement, it can lead to “bowing” or “pulling away” from the main structure. In modern buildings, lateral restraints are often designed into the construction, but older houses may not have this integral restraint. A floor joist embedded in the wall can provide some restraint through friction between the joists and the wall fabric.

Types of Lateral Restraints

Lateral Restraint Ties

Lateral restraints provide a solution to bulging brickwork by restraining the whole of the brick outer structure of a wall to the internal floor joists. Angle straps screwed onto the flooring joists normally perform this function.

Lateral restraint ties are highly effective at supporting bulging walls by tying internal flooring back to external walls and provide a highly effective alternative that can be fitted from outside the property with minimal disturbance caused. Lateral restraint ties restrain bulging and bowing walls to the structural timbers that run parallel or at right-angles to them. The ties are used to connect a masonry wall to the floor via two or more timber joists where the existing connection is missing or inadequate.

Masonry Walls and Pinning

Masonry pinning in structural repair involves pinning through a corner to the opposing wall, joining the two sections back together with stainless steel helical bars. This is required when tying large thick walls that may be bowed, when creating masonry beams to span localised subsidence or sometimes to repair window lintels. The process involves pre-drilling a pilot hole (avoiding hidden wires and pipes) and then inserting anchor grout along with a helical bar using a masonry pinning nozzle.

Preventing Lateral Movement

Lateral Restraint is essential to prevent bulging and leaning walls in older buildings. Structural weakness occurs where there are parallel joists to external walls or where staircases lead to a break in the continuity of the floor, interrupting Lateral Restraint. Masonry walls should have some form of Lateral Restraint, traditionally provided by building floor joists into walls or constructing masonry partition walls bonded at right angles. As mentioned above, not every building has the same restraint type.

Lateral Restraint Repair and Maintenance

Lateral Restraint Repair Strategies

Remedial repair strategies include connecting or reconnecting floor and ceiling joists, together with roof members to masonry walls to provide Lateral Restraint.
  • Flooring timbers can be used to create an internal diaphragm, and tie or bower beams may be provided at roof or intermediary levels to provide additional support with the absolute minimum of disturbance.
  • Lateral restraint can be achieved by connecting intermediate floor joists to the wall. It will be necessary to lift floorboards to determine the position of the joists run parallel.
  • Stainless steel ties with expandable “socks” can be used to reconnect cross walls to the external wall.

DIY vs. Professional Installation of Lateral Restraints

Some more advanced DIYers may choose to install lateral restraints and wall pinning themselves. However, it’s not just a ‘lifting a few floorboards to determine the position of the joists’, leaving property with a minimum of disturbance caused… it can turn into quite a large project and many feel far more comfortable hiring a professional to ensure that they are on the right track and to ensure that job is done correctly. After all, this is the structural integrity of a building!

Benefits of Hiring A Professional

Effective and correctly installed wall restraints can return structural stability to moving walls, they’re crucial for stable walls and structures. As well as providing peace of mind to property owners. Lack of Lateral Restraint can lead to problems with bulging and cracking. Don’t wait until the wall is beyond structural integrity – contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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Sam Fitzgerald – CSRT Damp Surveyor

Author – CSRT Damp Surveyor
Sam is a highly qualified and seasoned damp surveyor with over ten years of specialised experience. With a strong academic foundation in building surveying and numerous professional certifications, Sam has established himself as an authority in the field of damp diagnosis and remediation.

At Damp Surveyors Ltd, Sam applies his extensive knowledge to help homeowners across the UK address and solve their damp issues effectively. His approach combines cutting-edge techniques with a commitment to honest, client-focused service, ensuring that every survey and recommendation is tailored to the specific needs of the property.

As a thought leader, Sam’s insights into damp prevention and treatment have been featured in industry publications, underscoring his role as a trusted expert dedicated to maintaining the integrity and comfort of your home.

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