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  • What Type of Walls Does My House Have?

    15th December 2017

    What Type of Walls Does My House Have?

    There are different types of wall throughout with the property both inside and out. Let’s start with the external walls.


    External walls

    In the UK there are two main construction types used: solid walls and cavity walls.

    Solid walls: have no cavity and each wall is a single solid wall typically made of stone or brick. These walls are common in properties built before 1920s. Generally these walls stay dry by allowing moisture to evaporate through the brick and a lime mortar paired with good ventilation and heating.

    solid wall 2d 3d
    The left image shows how the wall is built up and the right image shows how the wall construction looks when looking at the side of the wall (you can see the side and ends of a brick)


    Cavity walls: are made up of two layers with a gap in between (the cavity). The outer layer is usually made of brick and the inner layer made of brick or concrete block. The two layers are tied together with a wall tie to prevent these moving together/apart. These are common in properties built after 1920 although can be found in properties built pre 1900. They were used initially to combat properties affected by wind driven rain but later showed added insulation benefits.


    cavity wall 2d 3d
    The left image shows how the wall is built up and the right image shows how the wall construction looks when looking at the side of the wall (you only see the side of the brick)


    Masonry is an absorbent material, and slowly draws rainwater (or humidity) into the wall. This can also come from inside the house due to poor ventilation and heating, particularly where there is lots of cooking and bathing that create moisture. The cavity serves as a way to drain water back out through weep holes. These holes allow air to flow through and remove evaporated water out.


    Internal walls

    Walls on the inside of the house can be either load bearing or non-load bearing and this determines what you can and can’t do when making alterations.

    Internal load-bearing wall: provides separation between internal spaces but also is required to transfer loads from other parts of the structure above to the foundations. Load bearing walls cannot be removed without causing damage to the structure of the property. Where it is possible to remove a load bearing wall, it must be supported until a reinforcing beam is put in place to redistribute the load on the relevant section of the wall elsewhere.

    Load bearing walls diagram
    Source: homebuildingandrepairs.com


    Partition wall: a non-load bearing wall that separates the internal spaces of a building. These can be moved/removed without any issues (other than allowing for any plumbing or electric cables inside).

    Partition wall diagram
    Source: lets-do-diy.com


    Party wall: this is a wall that either stands on the lands of 2 or more owners or is a wall that is on one persons land but separates two owners buildings. This exists between semi-detached properties and terraced houses.


    party wall diagram
    Source: partywallact.org.uk


    See how walls are affected by movement, settlement and subsidence.