Concrete Efflorescence &Amp; Water Damage

November 18, 2018 0

in Home Improvement @ 2:42 am

By Pat Munro

Water is everywhere. of the planet is covered in water, our bodies are made of 80% water, and we all need water in order to survive. With the gifts that water gives, there are some downfalls too. Im referring to the structural damage, water can cause to our houses and buildings. What does water do? 1- runs downhill; 2- seeks its own level; 3- it eventually winds up in our basements. If there is a crack in a structures foundation, water will find its way in. You may not be aware of the water damage until its too late, but a good warning sign is efflorescence.

Efflorescence will present itself as a white powdery substance surrounding the edges of concrete, brick and other cement based surfaces. It is a result of the soils acid, reacting with the lime based cement. Water always finds a path; this path allows the soluble salts to migrate to the surface of the structure where moisture can evaporate. Once evaporated the salt residues crystallize creating the white powdery efflorescence. Over time, this white substance hardens on the surface and can be difficult to remove. If this powdery substance is present you know you have water damage. If left untreated, it will cause the eventual deterioration of the structure and cost a small fortune.

Do not fret, efflorescence is not hazardous. But it is unfortunately the warning sign of structural water damage. The actual white powder can be removed with media blasting such as soda blasting or with chemical products meant solely for this purpose. Once again, the white powder is a symptom of water damage, so washing away the residue may make the area look better for a short period of time, but the actual problem is continuing to deteriorate the structure. With sandblasting, the abrasiveness of the sand erodes the bricks surface along with the efflorescence, but will also cause more damage if you are not careful. Sandblasting increases the porous condition of the masonry and allows more water to be absorbed into the walls. Soda Blasting is more gentle. If you are thinking of getting your building professionally sandblasted, ensure the contractor seals the masonry with a waterproofing material afterwards.

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Alternately, a chemical compound known as hypo-phobic sealer can help prevent efflorescence on bricks, tiles, concrete and paving. The sealer repels water and can penetrate deep into the masonry to keep water at bay and dissolve salts away from the surface. Unfortunately in areas where freezing occurs, this sealant can lead to damage from the seasonal cycles. Also, certain types of concrete are better at resisting efflorescence than others.

To ensure a proper repair and long life to your foundation or concrete floor or patio, discussing the problem with a professional concrete contractor or landscaper can save you thousands, its always cheaper to repair than rebuild.

This is not a job for a handyman, this requires a professional concrete contractor to arrest the ongoing damage and provide a long term fix to the crack in the masonry which is allowing the water in.

Efflorescence is a controllable problem that should not continue in well constructed modern masonry. A penny of prevention is worth a pound of cure, repairing cracks in the foundation will prevent efflorescence problems down the road. Breaking the chain of conditions leading to efflorescence can be done with the assistance of concrete professionals, the correct materials and of course quality construction. If efflorescence is visible on or around your commercial, industrial building or residential structure, call a professional immediately.

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