Anchors and ties

Q What is the difference between a wall anchor and wall tie? I hear the terms used interchangeably.

Is one more generic than the other?

A There is a great deal of confusion over these two terms. Many references and masonry product literature use the terms wall tie and wall anchor interchangeably.

Anchors and wall ties are defined in ACI 530-05/ASCE 5-05/TMS 402-05 (MSJC 2005) and in the International Building Code (IBC), as well as several other references. The definitions for a wall anchor in MSJC 2005 and IBC are similar. MSJC 2005 defines an anchor as a “Metal rod, wire, or strap that secures masonry to its structural support,” and says a wall tie is a “Metal connector that connects wythes of masonry walls together.”

Therefore, a metal element that attaches masonry veneer to a steel stud, wood stud, or reinforced concrete backing should be referred to as an anchor or masonry veneer anchor. A metal element that attaches a masonry veneer to a masonry interior wythe, such as in a cavity wall, is correctly referred to as a wall tie.

Norbert V. Krogstad is a consultant at Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc., Northbrook, Ill.