What Is a Bond Beam?

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An example of a U-shaped bond beam block
An example of a U-shaped bond beam block

Building any structure can be a daunting task, but there are little things that can be done to ensure that a structure is sturdy and will withstand the elements. Bond beams are critical to ensure a building is safe. Learn exactly what bond beams are and why they are a necessary addition to any structure.

Defining a Bond Beam

A bond beam is a horizontal layer of concrete used to increase wall strength. Bond beams are usually reinforced with steel. Bond beam blocks, which are rectangular and have hollow space in the middle, are connected to one another through the use of grout. The blocks themselves can have a U-shaped hollow space or have two square cutouts in the middle.

An example of a U-shaped bond beam block
An example of a U-shaped bond beam block

Importance

By strengthening the walls, the building as a whole becomes much sturdier. Bond beams placed at the tops of walls and at any meeting place between wall and floor will assist in wall weight distribution as well as help the walls stand up against strong winds. In areas with significant earthquake activity, extra-strength bond beams are required.

This bond beam is going to make the entire structure much stronger.
This bond beam is going to make the entire structure much stronger.

Pre-Made vs. Custom

Construction and hardware stores often sell pre-made bond beam blocks. If they are not the correct size, they may need to be cut according to the specifications of the builder. But since bond beams are made of concrete, it is possible for one to pour their own using a mold. The benefit of making custom blocks is that they can be made into "L" shapes as needed for corners. However, if the builder is already pressed for time, then the time spent waiting for the concrete blocks to dry would set him way behind on his schedule.

Other Uses

Bond beams are not just for homes and businesses. Swimming pools also need bond beams to prevent wall cracks and maintain the integrity of the structure. Yurts and carports are better equipped to withstand the elements when their roofs are placed on a concrete bond beam. Barns also benefit from well-placed bond beams.

Swimming pools also need bond beams.
Swimming pools also need bond beams.

Conclusion

Given the amount of time, money and energy it takes to build a structure, it is important that it last a very long time. No one wants their building to fall over when a breeze blows, and it is especially important that certain structures be capable of withstanding natural disasters like earthquakes or hurricanes. For safety reasons and to ensure peace of mind, always shore your structure up with bond beams.

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