Maintaining the family home to ensure the highest level of quality and safety for today and for years to come requires keen awareness of, and attention to, problems that are inherent in the materials from which the house is built. Brick homes in particular are vulnerable to the dangers posed by efflorescence, an accumulation of minerals and salts on the surface of the brickwork, usually resulting from water.
Home owners and building inspectors alike should familiarise themselves with the steps to take to stop efflorescence. Stopping efflorescence is important in not only avoiding the build-up of unsightly residue on the surface of your home, but also helping to prevent the prospect of serious structural and health problems.
What is efflorescence?
Efflorescence is a powdery deposit of salts that forms on masonry surfaces, including brick, mortar, and concrete. It is usually white but can also appear yellow, green or brown. The presence of efflorescence is a warning sign that water is entering the wall through faulty copings, flashings or due to pipe leakage. The extent of efflorescence found in brickwork is directly related to the amount of water within the bricks and their drying time. It therefore follows that the more water in a brick house and the longer it remains there, the greater the opportunity for salts in the water to dissolve in the brick and appear at the surface as the bricks dry out.
What causes efflorescence?
Salts inherent in water can enter brickwork from a variety of sources. Some of the most common causes of efflorescence include:
- High soluble salt contents frequently found in mortar and concrete.
- Ground waters that are naturally salt-bearing and drawn into base brickwork.
- Faulty damp proof courses bridged by mortar, which naturally allow salts to migrate up the wall.
- Render that has been applied over a damp proof course, which can also allow salt to migrate up the face of the brickwork.
- Water allowed to enter uncovered cavity walls during construction.
What problems can efflorescence cause to my home?
Failure to stop efflorescence may result in the salts attacking the surface and causing significant deterioration to the brickwork. In addition to brick deterioration, the presence of efflorescence caused by excess moisture can cause a wide array of problems, including:
- Water damage and staining to wood
- Fungi, that rots wood
- Reduced effectiveness of insulation
- Health problems that often result from mould, including affecting the respiratory infections, allergic reactions, rashes, headaches and migraines
If you’re experiencing problems with efflorescence, ASAP Building and Pest Inspections can stop efflorescence, reverse the damage and get your home back to the highest standard of quality and safety.
How can I stop efflorescence from causing damage to my home?
The first step any responsible home-owner should take is to undertake a building inspection before purchasing a new home. A building inspection is the best step to avoid having to deal with the problems and risks efflorescence can pose. ASAP Building and Pest Inspections are qualified inspectors with experience in identifying the presence of efflorescence, minimising the prospect of efflorescence developing and removing any existing efflorescence.
Complete removal of efflorescence can be very time-consuming and labour-intensive. Regular inspections from a qualified building inspector will ensure that you stop efflorescence from ever becoming a problem, or at the very least enable you to rectify the problem in its early stages.
The most convenient and efficient way to stop efflorescence from ever occurring or worsening is to have regular building inspections. Call ASAP Building and Pest Inspections today to find out about how our renowned building inspection services can help you to ensure the longevity of your home.