Is wet-sticking of reinforcement a permitted practice?
No, wet-sticking of reinforcement in masonry construction is not recognized by the current construction requirements of TMS 602/ACI 530.1/ASCE 6, Specification for Masonry Structures, which in turn defines the minimum acceptable practices for the construction of masonry adopted by model building codes.
The term wet-sticking refers to the process of placing grout within the cells or cavities of a masonry assembly followed by the placement of reinforcement. Article 3.2E of TMS 602/ACI 530.1/ASCE 6 specifically states:
3.2 E. Reinforcement – Place reinforcement and ties in grout spaces prior to grouting.
This provision has existed, essentially unchanged, since the 1990s.
Although the process of placing reinforcement subsequent to grout placement has been argued to have merit due to the reduced reinforcement congestion, which in turn allows the grout to flow more readily into the assembly, wet-sticking lends to several potential logistical and performance problems:
- Masonry inspection requires the verification of reinforcement spacing and location prior to grout placement, which cannot be accomplished if the grout is placed before the reinforcement;
- Placement tolerances for the reinforcement are difficult (if not impossible) to control when placing reinforcement into freshly placed grout; and
- The bond between the grout and the reinforcement can be compromised, particularly when the grout has begun to set prior to the installation of the reinforcement.