Efflorescence Brisbane Floods
Brisbane Building and Pest Inspections, House Exterior

Brick Efflorescence in Brisbane Properties – Is It a Problem?

Efflorescence or Salt Damp Deposits in Brisbane Properties

You’ve been searching for the perfect Brisbane property, and you think you might have found it. But there’s a problem – there are signs of brick efflorescence. How worried should you be?  

What is efflorescence, and what does it look like? 

Efflorescence can appear on bricks and concrete in a home as a flowery white or grey crystallized formation or a powdery deposit. It will often appear on floors, masonry, pavers, or any porous surface in a home. In addition, it can appear as blistered or bubbling paintwork or wallpaper on the interior walls, or even water-looking marks along the wall if the efflorescence is not drying completely. It is generally caused by moisture being drawn up into a facing and then drying out on the surface, causing the salt content to turn into crystals and powder when the moisture evaporates. Efflorescence can appear as a thick, spiky covering or a powdery substance depending on the salt content in the water and the degree to which the moisture evaporates. 

Is efflorescence a problem?

Efflorescence can be a severe threat to the integrity of a building. It can cause mould in the interior of the walls and threaten the integrity of bricks and mortar with the constant moisture breaking down the bricks. In addition, health issues can result from constant moisture in the air, mould spores, and reduced insulation efficiency etc.  

However, it is also often a sign that there may be an underlying issue that can cause damage or need a costly repair and be a visual warning sign of expensive problems.  

What causes brick efflorescence and concrete efflorescence in buildings?

The most common causes of brick and concrete efflorescence are rising dampness up through the residence walls, the failure of the tanking barriers behind walls, or the incorrect installation or failure of the vapour barriers under concrete floors. In new builds, some standards must be inspected as the build progresses. However, there can be other causes in older houses that are not as obvious.  

  • Plant boxes constructed against a wall can bypass the tanking barriers and vapour barriers by being higher or damaging them by constantly having moisture through the planter soil against the bricks and grout.  
  • The rendering of exterior brickwork without correct procedure or adequate vapour barriers can allow moisture introduction to a previously protected surface.  
  • Renovations with DIY additions that do not adhere to building codes for moisture.  
  • Replacing flooring and not installing the proper protections. 

Will your building inspector raise it as an issue?

Andrew of Action Property Inspections has over 30 years of experience. He will immediately be able to identify efflorescence in the interior or exterior of a residence and identify the most likely reason. From removing a planter box against the house to recognising the signs of significant faults and failures of tanking barriers and vapour barriers, Action Property Inspections takes photos and provides a comprehensive report, including inspections for efflorescence.  

Contact us at Action Property Inspections to ensure that potential health issues and costly repairs of efflorescence are not lurking under the surface of your potential new home.

 

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About Andrew Mackintosh

Andrew Mackintosh has been answering home inspection questions in the greater Brisbane area since 1995. He has personally carried out over 20,000 building inspections and is a licensed builder and licensed building inspector, Member of Queensland Master Builders Association & Institute of Building Consultants. Being the business owner and the inspector, Andrew is passionate about providing clients with excellent customer service, value for money, honest, unbiased, thorough inspection and reporting in a professional and timely manner to allow clients to make informed decisions when purchasing property.

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