1. Load Bearing
For this type of wall, stones, concrete, or cement blocks are usually the preferred options. Load bearing walls carry the weight that is transferred from the rooftop to the foundation. They are also ideal for both exterior and interior use. Many people prefer these walls to those which feature framed structures because they are often more economical. The necessary thickness of the wall depends on the amount of rooftop load. For example, buildings with two or more floors will typically have thicker load-bearing walls.
For those living in areas that are prone to harsh weather, reinforced walls are an ideal option. They are not vulnerable to cracking, which can be caused by external pressure. Reinforcement is usually placed within the walls in vertical and horizontal positions at specific intervals to ensure added strength. The amount of reinforcement may also depend on the amount of support the wall must give.
These walls usually use two or more materials. For example, they can contain hollow bricks along with standard bricks or stones. These walls are economical and lend a unique appearance to the building. The materials are bonded together, and sections are interconnected using steel ties. Horizontal joints may also be used to ensure optimal reinforcement.
In residential masonry, hollow walls may be used to prevent moisture from reaching the interior of the house. This works by creating a space between the interior and exterior wall. The space prevents heat from penetrating to the interior, making these options ideal for homeowners who want to control inside temperature. The exterior face may have features called "weep holes" to drain water that may cause a buildup of moisture within the space. A water-repellant coating or damp proofing may be applied to the structure to prevent possible water damage.
Post-tension walls are designed to withstand extreme weather events, such as earthquakes and tornadoes. These options usually have post-tension rods that run through the core of the walls. They can be tensioned and anchored to a steel support structure at the top after they have cured to ensure maximum strength.
It is advisable for homeowners to work with a professional residential masonry contractor to ensure a successful project. Like many construction projects, the strength and durability of the finished product depend on the type of materials used and the purpose of the structure.
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