The walls of a home provide support and stability, helping to create a sound structure that is both strong and durable. During construction, masonry projects need to be designed with long-term stability in mind. Certain building materials are more durable than others. Adding strong structural components like concrete blocks, bricks, and natural stone to walls makes them stronger and more stable.
The list below outlines some of the most common wall types that are found in today’s residential structures.
1. Load-Bearing Walls
Load-bearing walls are designed to support the weight of the roof, transferring that weight down to the foundation. Because these walls need to be so strong, they often incorporate materials such as concrete, cement blocks, or stone. Depending on the design of the structure, they can be interior walls or exterior walls. Masonry walls are often the preferred choice rather than traditional framed walls since they are usually more cost-effective to build. When determining the proper thickness, structural engineers and contractors take into account the total amount of weight that the wall is required to bear. For instance, load-bearing walls in two-story homes are usually thicker than those in single-story homes since they have to bear more weight.
2. Reinforced Walls
Reinforced walls are a good solution for regions where severe weather is common. Reinforcing the walls makes them stronger so that they are more resistant to cracking when under pressure from the outside. In most cases, the reinforcement is precisely placed both vertically and horizontally in order to maximize the strength of the wall. Any additional support that the wall is required to provide is also taken into account when determining how much reinforcement to add.
3. Composite Walls
As you might guess, composite walls combine a minimum of two different materials. For instance, one of these walls may combine natural stone with hollow bricks. Not only are these walls affordable to build but they also can be quite attractive, giving the structure a one-of-a-kind look. When constructing these walls, workers bond the materials together. They also connect different sections of the walls together with strong steel ties. For maximum reinforcement, horizontally-placed joints are usually also used.
4. Hollow Walls
Hollow walls are often used in residential construction as a way of keeping moisture from getting into the inside of the home. In order to accomplish this, workers leave a space between the outside wall and the inside wall. This space naturally helps insulate the home, making indoor climate control a lot easier. On the outside of the structure, the walls are often equipped with special holes known as “weep holes”. These holes are designed to allow water to drain out of the space, keeping water from building up inside. To provide further protection against water damage, the structure is often damp-proofed or coated with a special coating that is designed to repel water.
5. Post-Tension Walls
In areas where extreme weather or natural disasters like tornadoes and earthquakes are common, post-tension walls are frequently used. These walls are designed with internal post-tension rods. Once the walls have cured, they are tensioned. The top of the wall is then anchored to a special support structure that is made out of steel to improve its strength and stability.
Anyone planning to use masonry walls in their home should reach out to a qualified masonry contractor. The building techniques and materials used during the construction process play a key role in the strength and longevity of the finished home, which is why it is so important to choose a trusted, experienced contractor to handle any masonry work.