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.

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.


 

We restore Melbourne’s Favorite Heritage Buildings – GPO Melbourne

Whilst being involved with a major Melbourne Heritage Building Company, G.H. Veitch Stonemasons assisted with the facade restoration carried out in 2012 on the fantastic French-provinical-styled GPO in Melbourne CBD.

Let us carve your new external facade architectural stone features in Sandstone,  Bluestone or Limestone

Heritage Cottage Restoration; Brick Driveway, Arch Repair and Fence Piers

In 2013 we undertook a large restoration project in Castle Hill, NSW. 428 Old Northern Road was one of the original properties that were located on Old Northern Road, as it meanders up to Dural.

Old Northern Road is now laden with large mansions — all sporting grand views over the Sydney skyline.

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After-shot; Heritage Cottage ‘Sandstock’ Brick Arch Repair, 428 Old Northern Road, Castle Hill

The owners had only just purchased the property that year and had immediately commenced aerating the subsoil conditions due to highly reactive clay being located thereunder. This had also caused the arch pictured above to fail.

As the Carpenters were ripping out the cornices and floor boards, we undertook the demolition, brick stitching and head lintel insertion into the round arch pictured. With rendered finish the owners were impressed in the quick turnaround and approached us to renovate the 350m2 heritage brick driveway — complete with radial.

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After-Shot of brick driveway with the radial detail placed back in its original position

In addition to the driveway, and as it was all looking so good, the owners decided to go with some fairly chunky brick piers to hold up the slatted timber fence.

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Front Shot. Images courtesy of L.J.Hooker (Thanks Mr.Hooker!)

Whilst excavating in front of the cottage, we discovered a hidden path. Pictured below in all of its restored beauty.

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A new entrance deserved a new step with nameplate. We were only happy to provide these items free of charge.

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Every ‘Good Manor” deserves a handcarved sign in 24ct Gold Leaf!

All in all, the owner was ecstatic with our efforts when the property, some 3 years , sold for a large return; approximately 40%… Not a bad heritage flip!

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…and the aerial view is just as impressive..

To complete the blog piece, some ‘before-shots’…


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Need Brick Wall Repair in Melbourne? Need Underpinning plus a Facade Renovation?

Do your house bricks look like this? Do you live in Melbourne, Geelong, Surf Coast or Mornington Peninsula?

brick-repair-underpinning-melbourne

This happens when the footing or soil under the house subsides and leaves the wall effectively hanging… Contact us for a free quotation to not only repair via underpinning methods but also to revamp the entire facade utilising our lime mortar tuck pointing methods…

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The coloured mortar behind the lime mortar has been tailored to suit the existing brick