Efflorescence

WHAT ARE THOSE POWDERY WHITE AREAS ON MY BRICK WALLS?

 

efflorescence

Efflorescence is one sign that is often dismissed as just being an eyesore and is given surface treatment only.  This is the presence of the white powder that forms on the face or surface of concrete, plasterwork and brickwork.

It is a cause for concern!

 

Efflorescence is a build-up of minerals and salts on the surface of the concrete, brick and plasterwork due to repeated bouts of excess water in the material. The minerals and salts that naturally occur in the material are dissolved when the brickwork, plasterwork or concrete is waterlogged with water.

Concrete, pavers, brickwork and plasterwork are porous and can absorb or wick water and draw salts to it like a tree transports water from its roots to its leaves. This is capillary action. When efflorescence happens, it can indicate a moisture issue that could potentially damage the structure.

When water reaches a building material’s surface, evaporation will occur. Water absorption and wicking will continue after the water evaporates and the salt is left behind. This eventually creates a high salt concentration, leading to osmosis.

What is Osmosis

 

Simply put, osmosis in building materials is the movement of water from a region of low salt concentration to a region of high salt concentration in the material.

During osmosis, when water moves toward salts and minerals to reduce its concentration, it can cause large hydrostatic pressures within the porous building material. As a result, these pressures can damage or destroy the material.

Osmosis can cause pressure that ranges up to 200 bar, exceeding the structural strength of concrete. Therefore, osmosis may result in porous building material cracking, flaking or falling apart. Continue reading “Efflorescence”

Sealing at Windows and Door Frames

Detecting Leaks Around Your Windows

seal leaking

Seals which are broken, pulling away, missing or which are damaged as a result of ageing or long-term weather exposure will cause windows and doors to leak. Furthermore, the sealant or window putty used to seal the glazing beads on wooden windows may crack and allow moisture into the gazed areas of your windows. In addition, when the glazing putty on your steel windows cracks or a section falls out moisture will corrode the steel window frame.

These are the most obvious areas where leakages occur!

However, the most undetected area for leaks at windows is the junction between the window frame and the brickwork, plasterwork and window sill. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most common defects that I have found on both new and older homes.

There are multiple ways to detect leaks around your windows and doors:

  • On the outside of your home, check the areas where two different materials meet. This includes your door and window corners and frame.
  • Look for cracks in the door itself and in window panes.
  • Examine the existing caulking (sealing) and window weather stripping and weatherboards on doors. Make sure both are in good condition. In addition, leave no gaps or cracks.
  • If you can see daylight around a window or door frame, there will be a leak.
  • Shut a window and check for gaps in which you can insert the paint scraper. If you can easily insert the scraper under the closing part of the window, it is probably not watertight!

Continue reading “Sealing at Windows and Door Frames”

Life expectancy of geysers

How long does the geyser in your home last?

When you buy a new home have you ever thought about how long the geyser may last before you encounter problems? Probably not!

Your homeowner’s insurance may replace a burst geyser. However, be sure to check if you can claim the cost of repairs or if your home is unlivable due to water damage. Some policies allow you to claim for accommodation for the time it takes for your home to be habitable again.

Most geysers will not give you problems for ten years or more in new houses. Check with seller how old the house is if you are buying a house. Also, check if the geyser has been replaced and when.

Most homeowners realize too late that they never checked if their insurance covers geyser replacement and water damage. Be sure to check your policy and ask your insurance agent. Continue reading “Life expectancy of geysers”