Load-bearing brick walls and load-bearing concrete walls - What are they

The standards define load-bearing masonry as an assembly of resistant elements, artificial or natural, equipped with holes in a direction perpendicular to the laying surface (with vertical drilling), arranged regularly and connected with mortar. The masonry is generally completed by horizontal elements of reinforced concrete (kerbs), which provide the connection between the elements in elevation and the support of the floors.

Load-bearing stone walls belong to the past, today mainly brick or concrete load-bearing walls are used.

The main types are:

- masonry made of bricks or blocks of normal or hollow brick;

- masonry made of normal concrete blocks, expanded clay or cellular concrete.

Both of these types of masonry can have different levels of drilling in the blocks. We can have full or semi-full ones.

Some particular types of concrete blocks can only be used in the presence of a few floors and limited stress. Among these we find the cellular concrete block.

One of the best load-bearing walls in seismic areas is reinforced masonry, which is made with bricks and solid (or semi-solid) blocks in which a metal reinforcement is inserted which increases its resistance.

When we talk about load-bearing masonry it is very important to respect specific precautions, including making sure that the elements that compose it are adequately joined together and that they are laid down (remember that laying down in construction means spreading a layer of mortar in order to place a bricks or similar) by means of mortar joints, or alternatively with the use of gluing (as in the case of rectified and calibrated products).

Based on their external appearance we can have different types of masonry:

- plastered or coated, they are usually made with common bricks and blocks, brick or concrete, over which a plaster or covering finish is applied;

- exposed facing (for further information go here), which are made with bricks and blocks on which no type of finish is applied. They can be built with brick elements, smooth, sandblasted, wrinkled, wet, scratched bricks..., or with blocks of normal concrete or expanded clay, equipped with grooves, splits and so on. 


Based on the type of planimetric shape that the building will take, three main types of load-bearing masonry are distinguished:

- longitudinal load-bearing walls, regular plan with longitudinal load-bearing walls arranged to support the horizontal structures, and transversal bracing walls (in construction a bracing element is a structural element useful for counteracting lateral (horizontal) pushing forces);

- transverse load-bearing walls, regular plan with transverse load-bearing walls arranged to support the horizontal structures, and longitudinal bracing walls;

- load-bearing walls arranged in both directions, square plan with load-bearing walls arranged in both directions and floors with crossed reinforcement.

muri longitudinali portanti, muri trasversali portanti e muri portanti nelle due direzioni

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