Wabo® Expansion Joints for Brickwork

In the UK clay brickwork experiences thermal expansion for up to 20 years after bricks have been moved from the kiln, so, in most cases, it makes sense to opt for a solution which will protect your structure for many years and provide an excellent return on investment.  For small joints, mastic is often used as a seemingly cheap and easy solution but this type of solution is not suitable for most commercial properties or high end domestic projects.

The range shown here is specific to our range of expansion joints specifically for use in brickwork.  If you don’t see what you require here then check out the rest of our architectural range here with additional filters to help find the perfect expansion joint for your project.

Alternatively you can request a quick call back or contact us via our form for assistance with your commercial expansion joint project.  With over 40 years experience in the industry, we have come across most problems.

Watson Bowman Acme is recognised as the world wide leader in the innovation and development of expansion control systems for the construction industry. Using their leadership position in the bridge and parking structure markets, WBA has utilised their design knowledge and world class manufacturing capabilities to provide a quality line of engineered expansion control systems for both interior and exterior applications for your project. Seismic requirements, heavy loading, watertight applications and fire endurance ratings up to 4 hours are all benefits and features displayed in their systems.

Download our free guide and handy checklist to help you choose the right expansion joint system.


Guidelines for Designing for Movement in Brickwork

  • In general, experience suggests that movement joints in clay brickwork should be spaced at approximately 10 – 12 metres. PD 6697 states that in no case should joints exceed 15 metres and the spacing of the first joint from an internal or external angle should not exceed half of the general spacing. In long narrow runs of walling or panels, which have certain unrestrained edges, a spacing of half the general recommendations should again be incorporated. Movement joints should be continuous for the full height of brickwork.

  • For unrestrained masonry such as parapets and free standing walls vertical joint spacing should be reduced to 5 – 6m centres. For copings and cappings which may be prone to greater movement further provision of joints should be considered.

  • With respect to horizontal expansion joints for vertical movement the outer leaf should be supported at intervals of not more than every third storey or every 9 metres whichever is less. However, for buildings not exceeding four storeys or 12 metres in height, whichever is less, the outer leaf may be uninterrupted for its full height.

  • Cracking due to movement can often be induced from the corner of openings, i.e. windows and doors, but the prediction of such cracking is extremely difficult with many parameters to consider, including the interaction of various materials such as concrete and brickwork, and the structural behaviour of the building. The use of bed joint reinforcement can provide some control over such cracking.

  • Where the superstructure comprises a reinforced concrete frame, allowance must be made for the full potential differential movement between the frame and the clay masonry. This may necessitate provision of horizontal expansion joints typically at every two storeys. If formed using a pistol brick (see page 11 Fig. 19) the joint must be of sufficient width to allow for full differential movement.

  • Brick cladding to timber framed buildings should be designed to prevent cracking as a result of stresses generated by vertical differential movement between the brickwork and the timber frame. Ref. PD6697 cl.

  • When movement joints are positioned behind rain water pipes (rwp’s) the fixings for the rwp’s must allow for sufficient movement of the brickwork.

  • The location of vertical movement joints should take into consideration:-
    – short returns and changes in direction on plan
    – changes in height on elevation
    – different materials within the external leaf
    – southerly elevations which are more susceptible to temperature changes

  • Wherever movement joints are positioned it is important that the Structural Engineers are aware of their location to ensure that assumptions in brickwork design including the form of panel edge restraint, are fully considered.

  • Joints should be weather sealed on the external face and be filled with an easily compressible material. Materials, which cannot be readily compressed by hand, will not normally allow free masonry movement. PD6697 cl. states that “the width of a joint in millimetres should be about 30% more than the distance between joints in metres”.

Source: BDA Guide – Designing For Movement in Brickwork (Brick Development Association 2016)