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A horizontal reinforced concrete beam used to strengthen a masonry wall so as to avoid its
cracking; the reinforcement often extendsaround the perimeter of the wall.
A bond beam is a horizontal structural element, usually found as an embedded part of a
masonry wall assembly. The bond beam serves to impart horizontal strength to a wall
where it may not otherwise be braced by floor or roof structure. Bond beams encase steel
reinforcing in grout or concrete, binding the structure together horizontally, and often
interlocking with additional vertical reinforcement. A bond beam is typically found near
the top of a freestanding wall. A bond beam may also be used to provide a consistent
anchorage for floor or roof structure. Bond beam assemblies are most commonly used in
construction using concrete masonry units, where special shapes allow the beam to blend
with the wall construction, but may also be built using brick or may be formed in
What is the purpose of bond beams in concrete masonry walls?
Bond beams are courses of block constructed with special units designed to receive
horizontal reinforcement and grout. These units are used to integrate the horizontal
reinforcement with vertical reinforcement bars in a reinforced masonry wall. Bond
beams often are placed at regular intervals in the wall to permit placement of more
reinforcement than would be possible using bed joint reinforcement. Bond beams
can be used in masonry bearing walls--to serve as horizontal members along the top
of the walls, tying the walls together. They can be used below a line of bar joists, so
that joist anchors can be embedded into the grout of the bond beam. Bond beams
often are used as lintels over doors and windows. They sometimes are located at the
bottom of walls that span over an opening to make a deep beam. Bond beam
reinforcement also can be used for crack control. In this application, there must be a
break between bond beams at the control joints in a wall. The area of steel required
for bond beams used for crack control should be greater than that required for joint
reinforcement. This is because the yield strength of the bars often is slightly less
than that of the joint reinforcement and because the walls will undergo greater
shrinkage due to the wetting effect of the grout during construction. Moisture from
the grout causes the concrete masonry units to expand during construction. The
CMUs (Concrete Masonry Units) will shrink as this moisture dissipates over time.