Integrated wall retrofits: Solutions for existing masonry construction for commercial buildings

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Sixty percent of U.S. commercial buildings were constructed before 1980. Retrofitting them for energy efficiency is essential to achieve the Department of Energy (DOE) Building Technologies Office’s (BTO) goal of halving building energy use by 2030. Most existing buildings have masonry construction with uninsulated wall assemblies, which offer good potential for wall improvement strategies.

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Different applications, different anchors

corrugated sheet-metal anchors—commonly referred to as ‘brick ties’—are routinely installed improperly due to the gap between project specifications and building code requirements. Supplementary specifications for brick ties are necessary to provide a code-compliant and durable masonry veneer. All images courtesy Building Diagnostics, Inc.

For certain projects, it may be difficult to use standard corrugated steel brick ties while adhering to all the Masonry Standards Joint Committee’s MSJC Code requirements. This web feature serves as a supplement to a January 2016 issue that explored more traditional applications for anchors.

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Masonry wall systems and insulation


Today’s high-performance building market is driven by increasingly stringent energy codes and a growing demand for greater building efficiency, sustainability, and affordability—meaning specifying and building masonry cavity walls and adhered masonry walls with materials that work together as a functioning system is more critical than ever.

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Caring for glazed architectural terra cotta


One of the most prevalent materials found on historic buildings, glazed architectural terra cotta was popularized in the late 19th century as a versatile, lightweight, economical, and adaptable alternative to stone. Through the 1930s, the sculptural properties of terra cotta gave rise to diverse architectural styles, including the Chicago School, High Rise, and Beaux Arts.

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