Efflorescence, subfloor ventilation and rising damp | melbournebrickrepair.com

With salts permeating through this subfloor structure located in Brighton, VIC, it was apparent that there was something very wrong.

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Efflorescence, aka salt attack is a calcium chloride/ zinc chloride build up caused through moisture in the subfloor or rising damp from subfoundation soil.

When viewed from behind the wall, the salt attack was much worse; formations of hygroscopic gel and rust was evident.

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Through constant hygroscopic moisture (airborne) contained in the subfloor area, and the lack of ventilation, the damage to the bricks is inevitable.

Ideally, repairs should occur at a time prior to the state of deterioration as indicated.

Contact melbournebrickrepair.com for further information on subfloor conditions.

Edwardian Brick: Rising Damp and Silicone Injection | Damp Course Installation Melbourne

As a result of drilling and silicone injection having been previously used on the above Edwardian brick heritage property, located in the Melbourne suburb of Flemington, the failure of the process is evident in that, rising damp has still occurred despite the previous owner’s intent in trying to fix the issue.

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Salt build-up behind the injected silicone is a very common result of injection which could have been avoided.

Despite the effort in trying to stop the moisture, the buildings previous owner was only trying to do what was right. The fact is that silicone injection seldomly works. It is really only for walls over 2 foot thick. It is certainly not for a heritage double brick structure. Discolouration, as seen above, affects both mortars joint and brick alike; hastening deterioration of both.

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Visible deterioration of the mortar joint has occurred above the drill lines from chemical dampproofing.

By using a physical barrier instead, this wouldn’t have occurred. Rising damp is a very hard thing to prevent altogether. In all actuality, every masonry structure will encounter some form of moisture transferral from the clay sub-found material. In the case that physical barriers are installed, the decay of mortar and brick is slowed dramatically. By also increasing airflow under the floor, you are also providing a good natural method of easing rising damp.

Contact melbournebrickrepair.com for further details on how to prevent rising damp.


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Want to Stop Rising Damp? Does Chemical Injection work?| Rising Damp Specialist | MelbourneBrickRepair.com

Over the years, the construction methods regarding rising damp have changed. With new ways of attempting to prevent the rise of dampness from footings and surrounding sub-foundations which are generally comprised of clay, there has also been an increase in the use of chemical injection systems. These systems have gained in popularity due to the inherent belief that plastic is non-absorptive. We believe that the injection system, whilst being beneficial in certain circumstances, can not be looked at as the single and best remedy. We will now break down the reasoning behind why both silicone and polyurethane inject systems that are utilised to counter rising damp are liable to not work.

1. Application

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After injecting silicone, the previous owner coated the exterior to cover up the staining caused by the silicone… it made matters worse!

As a result of drilling at regular intervals, the chemical injection systems use the basis that the brick will ‘absorb’ and disperse the silicone or polyurethane injection applied to try to prevent rising damp. Not only does this depend on the contractor, how well they drill and how much injectable they use, the nominal absorption of various brick will vary due to composition, age and even colour. Concrete blocks, natural stone and clay brick all have differing absorption rates. You can see from the photo above, the ‘cover-up’ bandaid approach does not work with the mortar being soft and still falling out despite the attempt to mask the symptoms of rising damp.

2. Plastic attracts moisture

So you’ve thought to inject silicone or a polyurethane into the masonry fabric of your building. Did you know that once you have injected plastic into what is otherwise a very porous and freely evaporative masonry matrix, you are actually going to harbour moisture in the bricks located in the injected region?! We have found that this will deteriorate your brick faster and often doesn’t stop the moisture tracking its way through both the mortar joint and the masonry unit.

3. Slowing of the Moisture Cycle

The mere fact that you have injected plastics into what was previously a very breathable and porous masonry structure, you are increasing the moisture retention in those areas.

Test it for yourself; If you saturate two clay bricks in water, coat one in cling wrap and not the other, and then place both into the sun, which do you think will dry quicker?

Of course, the brick with plastic will not dry at all. By eliminating the porosity and the rate of evaporation, you are hastening the corrosion caused by being constantly waterlogged…

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Injectable Silicone and Polyurethane, coated in a texture coat has hastened the fretting of brick in and round the area of application.

Conclusion

Silicone and Polyurethane chemical injection systems are somewhat useful in thickened masonry walls with optimal thickness of around 300-400mm.  This is due to the physical difficulty of retrofitting a physical barrier in order to prevent rising damp. To install a physical barrier at this depth is very slow going and is generally quite expensive due to it being labour intensive. But this does not mean that you shouldn’t spend the extra money to do something properly! It is against the basic principles of economics to pay a little for a lot… be aware of the quick fix that is cheap!

Chemical injection systems utilised on single skin brick cladding should not be used! Even on double brick structures which are generally only just over 200mm in thickness with a cavity or empty void in between… The mind boggles on how some contractors would think that this would work!

Physical barriers such as lead and slate were used in traditional damp coursing. These methods were very successful at preventing rising damp. Both materials were largely long-serving due to their individual material impermeability characteristics. They prevented the physical movement of moisture up the wall whilst maintaining their physical state.

Modern equivalents are generally reinforced polyurethane and other flashing material. These are just as effective and require less financial outlay than utilising lead and slate. The main benefit beside stopping the vertical movement of moisture is allowing the masonry to evaporate. This enables the brick, block and stone to remain as dry as possible which is the goal in trying to prevent dampness and the odours associated with saturated masonry.

Despite the thousands of dollars spent, the previous owner didn’t stop rising damp nor did they prevent the other aspect of moisture sub-footing conditions, subsidence. Underpinning is also a follow-on issue with rising damp.

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By spending more, and being wise in your choice of contractor, you will receive more… Throwing good money after bad is never beneficial. Fix rising damp once and for all with melbournebrickrepair.com. The Physical Damp Course Specialist.


 

Brick Chimney Failing? Fix it with MelbourneBrickRepair.com | Brick Restoration Melbourne

Is your Chimney Stack looking a bit worse for wear? Fix it with Melbourne Brick Repair…

The state of your chimney is important. Not only does it make your heating more efficient, it can also be dangerous. Chimney maintenance is a very important task and one that shouldn’t be put off!

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Image showing chimney stack peeling away from house and bend as a result of loosing mortar

After removal, the chimney stack is rebuilt and aligned so the any future movement can be addressed with the chimney plumb in vertical again. This will make re-pointing more cost effective the next time you service the mortar

chimney-repair-brick-melbourne-ballaratContact melbournebrickrepair.com for free quotations. For express service,  send through a photo of your chimney to our Mason & Maker Document Upload Portal. All you need is your Google account to sign in and you can upload a photo of your chimney stack so that we can provide pricing quicker.

Brick Restoration Melbourne | Replace missing or crumbling brick | MelbourneBrickRepair.com

Looking to repair and replace your soft and crumbling brick? Let melbournebrickrepair.com help with matching hard-to-find heritage and vintage brick from yesteryear.

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Soft brick is a common problem caused by continuous moisture cycle and exposure to the elements.

With our extensive service history, we can match and replace missing or soft brick like  few others can.

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Missing and soft bricks have been replaced with colour matched bricks brought in from another project.

Contact melbournebrickrepair.com for further details and pricing.

 

From Old to New Again, Try our VIC Bluestone Restoration Service | MelbourneBrickRepair.com

When our client first contacted us, the facade of the circa 1860 cottage located in Western Victoria had never seen a traditional restoration. In over 150 years, weathering and general deterioration of the mortar jointing, also known as pointing, was highly evident.

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Before Restoration, the c.1860 Bluestone Cottage in Western VIC was run down with most of the Mortar Jointing missing

Although the stone was in very good condition and with clear indication that it was very well built,  mortar repair and repointing was integral in rejuvenating the old bluestone structure.

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The client was extremely happy with their new entrance. The repointing method used was traditional ribbon pointing and it lasts for a very long time.

Here is a before and after of another aspect of the same building. A massive improvement.

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Period Home Restorations should last for a very long time despite being exposed to harsh, even acidic conditions in today’s climate.

Contact Mason & Maker through melbournebrickrepair.com or vicrestorations.com for further detail on how we can help with your period home renovation project.