Handyman Cape Town | The Home Doctors has built many new boundary walls and repaired numerous existing boundary walls.
Many building owners under estimate the complexity of design and structural requirements that goes into a seemingly simple boundary wall.
At Handyman Cape Town | The Home Doctors we focus on the 5 key essential elements of a “simple” boundary wall and fence to ensure structural and personal safety.
If your boundary wall lacks any of the above key elements, this could result in your boundary wall developing huge cracks and even worse total instability of the wall.
If your existing boundary wall leaning over or is showing vertical, perpendicular or horizontal cracks, your wall needs urgent attention. In badly deteriorated boundary walls, it is very often far more cost effective to pull the wall down and rebuild it rather than try and fix it.
Unfortunately, many home owners try and cut costs when it comes to their boundary wall, by hiring the services of the “bakkie” brigade who unfortunately in many instances do not have the correct skills or knowledge to erect a stable and legal boundary wall.
At Handy Man Cape Town | The Home Doctors we attend to the following details when starting a boundary or retaining wall :
1. Wall Design
It is the building owners responsibility to ensure that they have obtained the necessary council permissions and approvals for any boundary wall design. This will include permission for details such as distance from perimeter set back, street corners as well as engineering design for wall height and strength. Special attention needs to be given to the width of the wall and the distance of the piers, which also governs the maximum height of the wall from the ground up
When designing and planning the foundations for the boundary wall, we take the soil conditions and the slope of the land into consideration. In some instances this may require that Steel reinforcement if the wall is vital.
When it comes to boundary walls in Cape Town, we at Handyman Cape Town | The Home Doctors prefer to err on the side of caution and would rather lay a slightly wider and deeper foundation as this will ensure that the wall is more stable in our wet and windy Cape weather conditions.
3. Retaining walls
In many instances in the Cape, the boundary wall serves as a retaining wall, thanks to the undulating landscapes of our mountains.These types of retaining boundary walls are placed under a lot of water and soil pressure. In these situations we always extend our foundations wider on the upper side of the wall – for maximum stability.
4, Sufficient expansion joints and piers
We pay attention to the number of expansion joints and supporting piers, as if there is a lack of these, this will result in future cracks in your boundary wall. All of the cavities in the piers that we build in free standing walls are filled with concrete. We don’t take short-cuts!
If you live in the Cape, chances are that you boundary wall is on a slope. We take care to build sufficient weep or drainage holes, to prevent any storm water build up and water clogging problems.
If the boundary wall is also a retaining wall, we work to recognised NHBRC criteria and insert the weep holes no less that 300mm above the lower ground level and at points not exceeding 1,5 metres. Our weep holes are formed with a durable 50mm plastic pipe that is always covered on the non-exposed end with a geofabric.
Dimpled drainage waterproofing system:
Delta MS8 is a preformed modular HD polyethylene sheet designed as an underground drainage layer. Its primary use is for protection of underground walls
Damp on Boundary Walls:
Generally speaking, most boundary walls are free standing, meaning that they are not attached to another building structure like a house or another building. This means that they are not braced or supported by other structures.
It is for this reason that when a free standing boundary wall is built it is built WITHOUT a damp course, plastic membrane – as this improves the bond of the freestanding boundary wall and its foundation.
A plastic damp course membrane would break the seal or bond between the freestanding wall and its foundation, which will result in an unstable wall. This results in rising damp which is very often sen on bricked and painted freestanding boundary walls.
At Handyman Cape Town | The Home Doctors, one way that we prevent this future unsightly problem from occurring, is by using harder (less porous) bricks for the bottom of the freestanding wall (up to the first 150mm height) and when plastering – we do not plaster the wall right down to meet the level of the soil. (This method of plastering prevents the plaster acting as a wick and drawing the water up the wall – which will result in the unsightly damp)