How salt damp can cause brick walls to explode from the inside
If you live in a home with walls constructed of porous masonry, you may have heard of, or even experienced rising damp. Just in case you haven’t, it’s where your brick, stone, marble, limestone or concrete walls have soaked up water out of the ground over time.
Because the porous masonry is soaked with liquid, mould begins growing in the lower levels of your home. This can cause harm to your health. Other tell-tale signs of rising damp include flaking, blistering paint on the walls or yellowish, brown tide-like stains on the walls.
But did you know rising damp eventually leads to salt damp?
Salt damp IS structural damage
As porous masonry sucks water up from the ground, it’s also sucking up the salts. The salts that are absorbed by your porous masonry is what is known as salt damp.
Underground, salt damp is completely harmless. While moisture levels remain consistent throughout the year salts do not increase in volume.
The problem is when salt damp travels up into the walls of your home. When they get half a metre to a metre above ground, salt damp can become an issue for the structural integrity of your home.
As the weather transitions from cool and wet to hot and dry, moisture evaporates. With loss of moisture, salt damp crystallises and hardens.
Crystallised salts can increase in volume up to three times to erode and decay mortar joints directly above ground level. And in the most extreme situations, crystallised salts cause porous masonry to explode from the inside out.
In the building industry, bricks that explode in this way salt crystallisation are known as kamikaze bricks.
Stopping salt damp is crucial
Porous masonry, by its very nature, operates like sponge. And salt damp makes your walls susceptible to breaking apart from the inside.
All areas of your home need to be taken care of, but the area from around half a metre to a metre above ground needs special care and attention.
If your porous masonry is showing signs of salt damp or salt damage, it needs to be inspected and damp proofed.
At Buildfix, we offer FREE inspections.
If you’re in any doubt about the structural integrity of your home, feel free to give us a call on 1300 854 115 or book a FREE inspection today.