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How to Seal Cracks in Brickwork

Cracks in brickwork are an extremely common structural issue and the effects can become serious if the cracks are not immediately attended to. Getting the job done doesn’t have to be a stressful or difficult process: just follow the simple Twistfix guide and you’ll be repairing cracks like a pro before you know it!

How to seal cracks in brickwork

How to seal cracks in brickwork

How to seal cracks in brickwork

The main issue with cracked brickwork is that the cracks provide the perfect route for wind-driven rainfall to penetrate masonry walls. When the weather is cold, water within the openings freezes and, as water expands by around 10% in volume when it turns into ice, the cracks are widened by the resulting pressure. The tiniest hairline cracks can thus become much larger very quickly, allowing more water to penetrate each time. More water means more expansion and the freeze-thaw cycle is set in motion, prog­res­sive­ly worsening the issue and causing more damage to the bricks.

The Solution

An effective filler, properly utilised, will get rid of any fissures and crevices that may have developed. When filling cracks in mortar joints, the process involves mechanically widening the cracks in order to allow for repointing of the wall at a sufficient depth using new mortars.

Cracks in brickwork require a purpose-made injection system to make sure that they are filled to an adequate depth.

The Method

PREPARE the cracks by using a vacuum or air-line. This is essential to remove loose or friable particles as the substrate must be free from dust, dirt and other contaminants if a long-lasting, successful repair is to be achieved.

MIX the injection mortar in strict accordance with the manuf­ac­tu­rer’­s ins­truc­ti­ons. Be aware that mixing adhesives causes an exothermic chemical reaction and the generated heat can limit workability of the product, meaning it has to be applied within a short time of being prepared. Users should therefore have everything they are going to need ready before this stage.

TRANSFER the injection mortar to a caulking cartridge that is fitted with a nozzle suited to the width of the crack to be filled. Nozzles are available that can inject resin into cracks a single millimetre wide.

INJECT the crack sealant as deep as possible, ensuring that the opening is completely filled from base to surface.

MATCH the colour of the repair to the substrate while the sealer is still tacky, using tinting agents or brick dust.

Twistfix supply all of the materials and tools required for repairing cracks in brickwork and, as always, we offer the most competitive market price. Order your crack sealing products from us today; browse the collection.

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Easter Updates

I was being reminded constantly by my phone that it needed updating, I was receiving something stupid like 20+ no­tifi­cati­ons a day. I am never confident about updating my phone to the latest software.  

Previously when I have done to update my phone once the update has completed something has more or less broken, so try to leave updating till the very last minute. Can you imagine if I updated and the Twistfix app didn’t work! I have been using the Twistfix app ever since it started and can vouch for it. It’s a wonderfully easy to use app. Order from wherever and whenever. In fact I am trying to think of the weirdest place I have placed an order on the app. Sure I did it once while I was shopping, I was pushing a trolley round at the time and nearly bumped into somebody.  They wasn’t best pleased. It has made ordering my products from Twistfix that a barely need to use the website. The website itself is wonderful after its recent makeover. When something like this comes along that makes your easier you can’t help but shout about it.

How has everyone enjoyed two, four day weeks? That’s the joys of the Easter Bank Holiday and this time of year in general, bank holidays seem to come thick and fast. Nobody’s complaining. I was pleased while out shopping to see Easter Eggs being taken off the shelves, they had been there since early January which was far too early. I was sick of looking at them.  I do nothing for Easter to be honest and for that reason it may just be my favourite holiday season.

Shamefully the two bank holidays confused me a little. Im muddled up a little with what day it is. Today is Friday isn’t it ? 

Download the Twisfix Mobile App.


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News /

The Triple-Protection Technique from ThermoGuard

Spring has most definitely sprung and everyone is happy to feel a bit of warmth in the weather along with enjoying the bursting out of new life everywhere. Much of this new life is in the form of flora and those of us with gardens and/or allotments are being kept extremely busy!

Fire Resistant Paint

Intumescent Wall Paint

Fire Retardant Varnish

A common sight (and smell!) for gardeners at the moment is a peacefully-smouldering bonfire but, as is well-known, fire has a habit of getting out of control when you least expect it…

A simple, fast and inexpensive job that could end up saving you a lot of time and money (not to mention cutting your risk of personal injury) is the application of a fire retardant treatment to any timber that could be at risk of burning, whether the risk is from a garden bonfire or anywhere else.

Twistfix are proud suppliers of the ThermoGuard system, which is one of the products on our April Special Offers section and is therefore available at an even more competitive price than usual.

What’s in the box?

ThermoGuard is a triple-protection system and comprises intumescent varnish base, preliminary activator and main top coat in three separate containers. Together, the formulae will coat around twenty square metres of timber, though this will vary according to the porosity of the wood.

How does it work?

In the event of fire, the intumescent base expands in size dramatically to create a strong, fire-resistant carbon char. This insulates the timber from the hottest flames, holding back smoke into the bargain. Stringent independent  has ensured that the product meets all applicable health, safety and quality standards.

What are its aesthetic qualities?

All layers of ThermoGuard dry clear, letting the natural beauty of the timber shine through. You can choose from satin or matt and both provide UV protection as well as a durable surface perfect for anything from external cladding to internal woodwork.

So, it turns out that fighting fire with fire isn't such a good idea, at least when it comes to actual flames. Instead, use the triple-protection Thermoguard fire retardant varnish system, available now from Twistfix. Order now at the reduced price!

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April Fools!

April Fools!

An event that happens every year and I’m not exactly sure why is April Fool’s Day, A time when every decides to make things up to trick and deceive people. 

On one hand it’s a great idea and can actually be quite funny, however as with anything it could go horribly wrong. I never get involved which I guess makes me a little bit grumpy nowadays I don’t have the time and resources to think something up and well simply can’t be bothered. Maybe I am too old to care. This doesn’t stop everybody else though. Newspapers, friends, TV, all try their best to make up the best April Fools, I can spot them a mile off.

With April fool’s Day this year being on a Saturday, I was certain not to have anything done to me. With most people still being in bed up until around midday, which is the cut off for April Fools jokes isn’t it? And nothing was going to happen going into work in a morning. Lads have tried it in the morning while at work before and with disastrous consequences sometimes even ruining the whole flipping job! Most people forget its even April fools day and leave themselves prone to being caught out.

Also with April comes a new month, 4 months into 2017. Some people would say it’s going quick. I wouldn’t when I have got a lot on my plate. I have a massive Basement Water­pro­ofing job to be done last week of this month followed by another one two weeks later. Will make sure I order my products needed from Twistfix soon, for me a contractor I find this one of the busiest times of the year. I think the next few months will hectic. However I will take it in my stride this is what I enjoy doing.

'Do you also have a Basement Wa­ter­pro­ofi­ng job coming up in the next week/month? Above and below ground waterproof membranes available here

Water­pro­ofing Membrane

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Apple and Damson Trees

Coming back from work on Tuesday I saw the wife was messing around in the kitchen by the doors to the garden, I went over to see what was happening to find out she had bought 4 trees, two apple and two damson trees after she went out for only one, what made her buy so many?

I was unsure if the garden needed them, let alone if we have the room to fit them in. We only have a small garden ¼ of the room taken up by a shed in the corner and in one corner we have an area that needs.  I guess it is a good time to start work in the garden for summer, we have just had our kitchen done. Maybe this is the next project? It has been two years since we had a Japanese Knotweed problem, I took care of that with the Round Up from Twistfix. Since my garden has been spectacular! (in the summer anyway)

I decided to make tea while the wife moved the trees around to find where best they fit. The garden isn’t particularly my thing and I’m happy to keep out of any decisions made on it and hopefully I won’t be roped in to maintaining the trees. Still after 20 minutes no place had been found for the trees. I had advised to not put them near the shed door as it would knock the tree over when it was swung open. I think it took over and hour for her to make the final decision I haven’t since even looked to see where they are, Most likely blown over.

It’s important to prepare your garden by decluttering and getting rid of any weeds that not only look horrible but some can cause structural damage.

Purchase 'Round Up' and get your Garden 'Summer Ready'

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Rail Strike Misery

Often I do need to rely on public transport to get to places unfor­tuna­tely it never seems to run smoothly.

This weekend I decided to have a weekend off which for me is very rare, I always seem to work over the weekends. It was the wife’s idea to go away to such a place and she also suggested using public transport after a bit of persuasion I agreed to go. Firstly we had to catch a bus from town waiting at the bus station for a bus to come which tool 30 mins! Despite adverts claiming buses were every 7 mins. Having hopped onto a bus and travelled a nice scenic route for more than an hour we had reached were we wanted to be. We decided to come home after 6:00pm and were both appalled to find there was not a bus home after 5:40pm. Train home it was. After a 20min walk to the train station a huge sign had been placed outside warning of industrial strike action on Monday 13th March, that’s today! Most if not all services would be cancelled. That’s a bad blow for regular transport users.

I had bought a newspaper from the shop on the station and I stumbled across a news story that stated that more than one home every minute will need to be refurbished in the UK between now and 2050, they will need to insulate 25 million home as a way of cutting carbon emissions, homes needing to be renovated at a rate of 1.4 homes a minute. That’s a lot! Led me to think ‘is it possible?’

Leaving the train, none of our tickets we had bought for the journey had been checked should I add. I thought to myself. Let’s not do this again.

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News /

How to Install Wall Ties in 3 Easy Steps

Remedial wall ties are much easier to install than most people give them credit for; the process can actually be broken down into three very simple steps.

How to Install Wall Ties in 3 Easy Steps

The wall ties we supply have been designed by Thor Helical to provide the most professional results every time, whether used in brick, block, stone or concrete walls.

The Design

A feat of technology and engineering, Thor Helical remedial wall ties from Twistfix benefit from twin-thread longitudinal blades with a reactive interface angle, allowing and extremely accurate self-tapping penetrative path to be driven into the masonry element. Each wall tie has a cir­cums­cribed diameter of 9mm and is extremely resistant to corrosion.

The helix consistency and driving confi­gura­ti­on aspects of Thor Helical wall ties are patented. Traditional ties involve clamping the wire at one end while the other is turned, developing a helix with a varying pitch across its length, Thor helical ties use advanced twisting die technology to control this pitch precisely, forming tightly-mating threads that guarantee superior interlock performance.

At the driving end, the patented arrangement (Pat GB2439633) guarantees safe, controlled installation at close quarters and low cost tooling that allows the operator to keep both hands on the drill throughout, making it easier during insertion.

The Quality

Helical wall ties have been used for more than 25 years and have been subject to intensive independent testing programs. As recommended in B.R.E. Digest 329 (Table 5) as being “suitable for use in all remedial situations”, irrespective of the buildings substrate or its fire performance criteria, the ties represent an engineered upgrade on earlier designs and are CE marked to be reliable in all types of masonry.

The Benefits

The interlock anchorage of the wall tie does not exert expansive stress or rely on adhesion, continuing to provide its support throughout fire and temperature extremes without being affected. In cross-sectional profile, the tie reveals a wide portion which is there to maximise grip and a narrow portion responsible for ac­com­moda­ting differential movement in any and all directions. Migration of water across cavity is prevented by the deep, continuous helical troughs.

When under load, these helical troughs impart an accumulative cone of stress at tangential angles to the helix; this means that the load is evenly spread across the length of the tie.

The 3 Steps

The 3 Steps

DRILL a small pilot hole using a light percussive hammer drill. Make sure to stop the rotation of the drill before drilling the remote wall layer to prevent whipping.

Using a lightweight roto-hammer drill and SDS support tool, DRIVE the tie into the masonry.

Once the took recesses the tie beneath the wall face, FINISH the job by disguising the entry bore with suitable filler.

Check out our VIDEO for more information on wall ties.

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Storm ‘what’s her name’

Last week we encountered what is surely the wettest day of 2017

 Storm ‘what’s her name’ came and went, It was the wrong time to be doing an outside job. On Thursday I had to install 300 Wall Ties in a property. I decided to order 2 of the 150 kits from Twistfix. They arrived in good time. Arriving on site in the van I was already soaked from the rain. As I was loading the van the wind thrust the rain into my face, this resulted in soaking me from head to toe. I knew from then this wasn’t going to be a great day. My cousin works with me and had come to help for the day. Pity him. On hearing the news that people had been injured, hurt and somebody even killed by the storm I thought about my own safety.

When I stopped for lunch I opened my sandwich as was horrified to find water had seeped through the foil. These were my only sandwiches!. Finished the job and retreated to the van, by now I was pretty fed up but happy I had completed what needed doing. On the drive home most of the awful weather had vanished there was just a bitter breeze, no rain. That’s typical. This week hasn’t been too bad so far, nothing on last week anyhow. I do note that it is the 1st March both the mornings and nights are longer which is good news if you like lighter mornings and evenings (some prefer the opposite). Clocks go forward at the end of the month, it seems like only yesterday I was talking about them going back.

Keep your raincoats out for now, I’m sure there’s plenty more days of wet weather to come, This is the UK!

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News /

Controlling Cracks: How To Repair Masonry Walls

Cracks in masonry walls are a common structural defect and, upon being noticed, should be immediately remedied to avoid the problem worsening. So, how do they develop  and how do i get rid of them?

How to Repair Cracked Walls

How do cracks develop?

The masonry materials of your property can only tolerate a slight amount of movement and there are many factors that can cause this movement. Variations in moisture content of the ground and the masonry itself, fluctuations in temperature and chemical reaction are common causes though vibration from living near to busy roads or railways can cause the issue.

The cracks are most likely to develop in corners or at window or door openings because it is at these points that the masonry is most stressed and least restrained. Some of the movements that cause the cracks are permanent but some are cyclic and can be reversed.

How do I find out the cause?

This is notoriously difficult for the untrained and can only really be achieved by observing and monitoring the cracks over a period of time to determine if they are active (increasing in size), passive (not increasing in size) or cyclic (opening and closing seasonally). Of course, you don’t want to spend all this time observing as the problem will be getting worse all the time! It’s best to call in the experts who can do a proper survey.

How do I repair the cracks?

Passive and cyclic cracks of less than 5mm in width can be easily repaired with simple brick stitching, a technique that will improve the masonry flexural and tensile strength, allowing it to tolerate these small movements. Active cracks that have exceeded 5mm in length need looking at by a structural engineer. Used alone, a masonry crack stitch system of repair is not reliable enough to solve active crack problems and will require further spe­cifi­cati­ons.

Brick stitching involves bonding shaped, twisted stainless steel rods into walls at regular intervals, much like the stitching done with a needle and thread in fabric. Once installed, the rods cause the cracked wall to behave as an integral, reinforced and non-fractured unit. Stitching rods have a helical con­fi­gura­ti­on which physically interlocks with bonding agent; this gives them a strongly resilient torsional quality, causing them to act like a spring and allow wall movements without cracking and other brittle failure.

How do I Install brick stitches?

It’s a simple and straightfor­ward process. After cutting a horizontal channel into the masonry, preferably at the bed joint to allow for easier disguising of the repair later on, the slots are flushed with clean water to remove loose material and reduce the porosity if the brickwork, then filled with WHO 60 cementitious grout. Don’t forget to leave room for repointing and matching.

The high-performance, shrink-compensated bonding agent is then ready to have the stitching bars encapsulated within, leaving 500mm on either side of the crack dispersing loads evenly throughout the structure of the wall. Make good to disguise the slot and the job’s done.

Can I use resin to bond helical bars?

This would generally be discouraged as resin does not bear shear forces very well when perpendicu­lar to the rod so unless the load potential on the helical bars was totally axial (parallel to the helical rods) then it’s not a good idea. Any potential for cross-plane movement requires high quality cementitious grout.

Our video can help you even further with cracked masonry issues. Don't forget that a major cause of stress in masonry is water, which expands by 9% when it freezes and makes cracks worse so sealing them as soon as possible is essential.

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Looking After the Little Ones

I have had a very busy weekend, un­for­tuna­tely that’s not due to work. I have been looking after my younger nephew and niece all weekend. Well kind of. 

They came to stay on Friday unknowingly to me it did seem though that my wife knew about this, as soon as they came into the house on Friday they went straight over to raid the cupboards for biscuits and sweets before I could even say “hello”. I knew my weekend had been pretty much ruined. I would be stuck with them all weekend. They both wanted to play with my tool box that I had left on the living room floor; I quickly had to scurry to pick it up before either could touch it. It was really a bad time for them to come, I was supposed to be fixing up Plasterboard Insulation dotted around the kitchen was various packs of Insofast Fixing purchased from Twistfix at my friends.

I immediately got to gathering them into a box so they couldn’t mix them up or lose them, they couldn’t have picked a worse time. It left me no option but to call my friends and tell them I wouldn’t be there as there was no way the kids would be coming with me even if they think they can ‘help’. So Saturday I spent all day on a kids play park, only managing to get them to come away when it started raining. We’d been there for hours! And by Saturday night I was exhausted. On Sunday I woke up and was determined to get this job finished despite any commitments I had. Trying to sneak away I was collared I owned up and said I wanted to go and finish this job. I was persuaded to take the nephew and niece with me. So I did that.

In the van they went and on the way to the job I dropped them back off at their mothers, they thought they was coming with me. In the end I got the job finished.  

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