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”

100 things to do in South Africa

A very interesting and informative website

travel

I thought I would travel to a different topic for a change!

I suggest you have a close look at the website called Jen Reviews. Amongst other very interesting sections, it has a travel section with the “100 Best Things to do in South Africa“!

I have been to most of the entertaining and interesting things in South Africa. However, I now see that there are some that I have missed! Before I left for my trip, thankfully, I went through multiple reviews of various products, as doing that really helped me grab all the best essential products or the trip.

The Swartberg Pass, Ukhuthula in Brits, the daisies in the Namaqua National Park and Tswaing Soutpan Meteor Crater are a few that I still must visit. 

Have a look at Jen’s website. You will find places in that list that you will need to put on your bucket list!

There’s a lot more than just travel!

Continue reading “100 things to do in South Africa”

Cracks and how to handle them

Don’t Panic when your house cracks!

 

cracks

Most homes develop some cracks. Old and new homes can develop cracks as well depending on climatic and physical factors.

However, it is worth getting to the bottom of what is causing the cracking. A crack is actually the visible symptom of a possible problem and not the problem in itself.

What causes cracks?

New homes

In new homes, settlement may cause minor cracks. Normal foundation settlement occurs when the underlying soil compacts as a result of construction on previously undisturbed soil, changes in soil conditions and moisture. Typically small, hairline-sized cracking may be the result of the minor settlement, expansion and contraction, or changes in a season or cycle.

Usually, these defects, though often unsightly, are not structurally significant.

Thermal movements between different materials

Different materials such as timber, bricks, steel, concrete etc. have different coefficients of linear expansion. In other words, the differing materials contract and expand differently. This causes stresses in structures where they are combined and may cause cracks to form. The best way to combat these defects in plasterwork is to provide a joint between the different materials.

Older homes

In older homes, changes in climatic conditions can affect the structure. Houses move with the climate. Heat and moisture will make them expand, cold and dryness will make them contract slightly. This movement is normal and in most cases will not cause cracking. Unusually hot or cold spells can result in increased expansion or contraction of the structure which may cause cracks.

The rise or fall of the water table in very dry or very wet conditions can also affect the house’s foundations. Continue reading “Cracks and how to handle them”

Voetstoots clauses are still being used in 98% of Home Sales Contracts

Voetstoots Clauses

voetstoots clauses

Read your offer to purchase carefully!

Beware of voetstoots clauses!

If you believe that the voetstoots clause is no longer applicable to home sales, you are mistaken. Estate agents and home sellers are using the voetstoots clause in 98% of the “offer to purchase” agreements. Furthermore, the voetstoots clause protects both the seller and the agent in case of legal ramifications for defects. The seller is not selling his home in his normal course of business. As a result, the Consumer Protection Act does not protect you!

In conclusion, just imagine what is wrong and can go wrong with the house you just bought if you don’t take the correct action!

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