Taking on structural repair without the expertise of a professional can lead to unforeseen and costly problems. If you are noticing any of the following structural elements in your home, get them repaired as soon as possible.
Luckily, there are several innovative ways to do structural repair. These techniques work in harmony with existing buildings and save huge sums that would otherwise be spent on invasive rebuilding.
Concrete is an incredibly durable material, but even this resilient material has a finite life. Over time, a home’s foundation and structure may become damaged by harsh weather conditions or exposure to de-icing salts, cleaners, and other chemical materials. This deterioration can occur in the form of steel corrosion, cracking concrete, and spalling. In order to prevent further damage and structural failure, homeowners should consider having a structural evaluation performed by an expert.
Structural strengthening, or restoring and adding capacity, is an integral part of today’s concrete repair industry. It is used for a variety of reasons, including increasing the load capacity of beams, columns, walls, and slabs, seismic retrofitting, supporting additional live or dead loads not included in original design, relieving stresses generated by design or construction errors, and restoring the original load capacity of damaged structural elements.
When a concrete structure is in need of strengthening, it must be done in such a way as to not compromise the integrity and safety of the rest of the building. For this reason, it is crucial that a thorough structural assessment be conducted before a strengthening solution is implemented. Once the structural assessment has been completed, a detailed strengthening plan can be developed.
Depending on the needs of the structure, a number of different methods can be employed to strengthen it. Typical methods include steel plate bonding, epoxy injection, and externally bonded carbon FRP (fiber reinforced polymer) composite systems. The benefits of these innovative systems are that they are non-corrosive, lightweight, and have a high tensile strength.
Another innovative way to do structural repairs is through the use of micro-piles. These systems are designed to be placed in drilled holes in the concrete and are driven into the soil below using hydraulic pressure. This method of structural repair has many advantages, including being cost-effective, easy to implement, and environmentally friendly. This type of structural repair can be carried out on any kind of building, including residential homes and commercial buildings. In addition, it can be used to repair cracks, voids, and damage caused by heavy equipment or fire.
Crack stitching is a fast and effective structural repair system for masonry damage. This innovative method of repairing cracks in walls involves using tension straps to strengthen the wall. These tension straps are made from high-tensile stainless-steel helical bars. They are inserted into slots cut into the bed joint and extend 500mm either side of the cracked area. These bars are then bonded into the brick wall using a polymer modified, thixotropic, cementitious grout.
These helical bars are designed to have both great axial strength and rotational flexibility, meaning they can withstand building movement and help to stabilize the masonry walls. They can also be bent around corners and are able to be cut into shorter lengths. This allows them to be used for remedial crack stitching, as well as in new build work to stabilise masonry.
Unlike other methods of repairing cracks in buildings, crack stitching does not involve removing the bricks and is non-disruptive. It is a much more reliable system than repointing, which can be very costly and disruptive. It is also a more permanent solution. While repointing may temporarily fix the cracks, it is not likely to prevent them from reappearing in the future.
This is because the problem that caused the cracks to appear in the first place has not been resolved. Stitching the cracks will ensure that they do not reappear in the future, and can even help to prevent further damage to the property.
The benefits of this innovative structural repair process include the fact that it is incredibly quick, efficient and can be carried out by just one person. It is ideal for both commercial and domestic properties, and can be used in conjunction with other structural repair methods to provide the best result possible.
It is important to note that crack stitching should only be undertaken by a qualified structural engineer. It is necessary to determine the cause of the damage and the extent of the movement to know if this type of repair will be sufficient. If not, it is recommended that other remedial measures be taken, such as accommodating movement by inserting a movement joint into the building.
Carbon fiber is an incredibly strong, stiff material that can be used in a variety of ways. It is so stiff, in fact, that it can be used to reinforce concrete structures. It can also be used to do structural repair, as well as crack stitching, and it is much quicker and easier to use than steel beams or wall anchors.
The main advantage that carbon fiber offers over other materials is its high strength-to-weight ratio. It is also very light, which means that it can be installed quickly and easily. The material is also very flexible and can be shaped to fit the structure that it needs to strengthen. Carbon fiber can be used to repair almost any kind of structure, including buildings and foundations.
Unlike other forms of reinforcement, carbon fiber is extremely thin and can be placed flush with the surface of the concrete. The carbon fiber will not be visible once the concrete has been painted, making it a great alternative to bulky steel I-beams. During the installation process, professionals place strips of carbon fiber on the wall and apply epoxy adhesive. The whole process takes less than a day, and there is no need to dig or use heavy equipment. In addition, the contractors will not need to access duct work or plumbing, as they would with steel beams.
Aside from being quick and easy to install, carbon fiber is highly effective at stabilizing walls. It is able to withstand a lot of stress and can even be used in areas where the walls are under tension, such as where they meet walls or at joints in ceilings. It can also be used to repair three-dimensional structures, like pillars and rough-hewn stone.
The only real drawback to using carbon fiber for structural repair is that it is only effective on walls that have deflected or moved inward by two inches or less. While this is a significant amount of movement, it is not usually enough to cause serious damage to the home or the foundation. If the walls have been moving a lot more than that, it will be necessary to use other methods to resolve the problem.
Seismic Shock Absorbers
Buildings can be made more resilient against earthquakes by making the frame stronger and using energy-dissipating devices that allow different parts of the structure to move independently. This can be done by adding diagonal sway bracing, or by allowing some of the structure to deform and absorb the energy of an earthquake. Ductile materials, like concrete or steel, can be designed to deform under load, dissipating the energy. Metallic dampers, which are positioned inside buildings and work like sacrificial “fuses” in cars (the crumpling effect of their metal absorbs energy), also dissipate the force of vibrations.
Another solution is base isolation, where the building is built away from the ground resting on bearings or pads, which act to dissipate the force of an earthquake. This can be done with new construction or by retrofitting older structures, though some building components may need to be modified.
Dampers, which are positioned between columns and beams on each level of the building, can also reduce vibrations caused by an earthquake. The dampers are filled with silicone oil, and when an earthquake happens, the vibrational energy is transferred to the piston heads that press against the oil, which then dissipates the force of the vibrations.
A more innovative approach to seismic mitigation is the use of shape-memory alloys, fabricated metals that change their shape when heated and return to their original form when cold. They are shaped to match the shape of a specific structure and, when they flex, they reduce the intensity of vibrational forces on the structure.
The latest developments in seismic technology have engineers experimenting with ways to completely shield buildings from vibrations. One method involves forming concentric rings of plastic or metal around buildings to divert the seismic waves, creating an earth-friendly version of an invisible cloak. Another solution involves installing pendulum power dampening, where a large ball suspended from structural steel cables hangs in the center of the building to work like a pendulum and dissipate the force of an earth quake. However, scientists are still trying to find the ideal materials and configurations for these seismic invisibility cloaks.