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Old 09-30-2008, 12:30 PM   #1
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Is this a mineral leaching through the walls?


I've got cinder block walls in the basement and in the garage. Two sides of the garage have earth behind them. I removed some plywood that was attached to the bottom of one wall and discovered a crystalline structured white growth. I'm wondering if its a mineral leeching through the wall due to moisture traveling though it. Does anyone know exactly what it is, and if over time will it affect the structural integrity of the walls?

Once I demo the basement I am sure I will find it there as well. I'm thinking of self-installing a system like BrightWall ~ http://www.basementsystems.com/basem...brightwall.php in the basement. Water still travels through the walls but is then evacuted out. So my real question here is does this mineral leeching(?) weaken the walls?




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Old 09-30-2008, 02:03 PM   #2
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Is this a mineral leaching through the walls?


I confirmed that it is a mineral deposit as I suspected. But I couldn't find any information relating to the structural integrity of the wall. If its minerals from the surronding earth, then I suppose its not a problem. But if the minerals come from the wall itself, then I imagine that indicates that the chemistry of the wall has changed and would be weakened?

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Old 10-01-2008, 12:12 PM   #3
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Is this a mineral leaching through the walls?


It is efflorescence. It is caused by moisture passing through the block wall. During it's travel the moisture disolves certain minerals in the masonry and carries them to the surface. These are usually salts which are very water soluable, like calcium. When the water dries, it leaves those disolved materials on the surface as efflorescence. To stop it, you really need to get to the outside of the wall and correct the deficient waterproofing. The condition is unsightly, but not usually damaging to the masonry of the structure. The moisture that gets through is likely causing greater issues inside than the efflorescence is. Especially if it is wicking to areas where it can contact the wooden parts of the structure.

Last edited by Maintenance 6; 10-01-2008 at 12:33 PM.
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Old 10-01-2008, 12:31 PM   #4
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Is this a mineral leaching through the walls?


Normally, efflorescence is more of a costmetic prolem and can be removed by brushing or washing with a very mild acid or bleach. It can reoccur if there is a source of moisture in the concrete - either from the exterior, condensation or capillary action. This is the same thing that can make paint bubble or lose bond.

This does not look like a severe problem based on the photos.

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Old 10-01-2008, 04:38 PM   #5
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Is this a mineral leaching through the walls?


Thank you for the explanation. That takes one concern off my back.

I would like to excavate around the house and garage to install a moisture barrier and replace the failed foundation drain. But thus far the cost and logistics of it appear prohibitive. But I was thinking we might have to if this masonry was failing due to the efflorescence.

At this point I think we will be correcting the moisture problem by installing an internal weeping system. I'm not sure yet, and have much to learn about all this. First step is to gut the basement so I can see whats really happening down there.
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Old 10-02-2008, 04:29 PM   #6
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Is this a mineral leaching through the walls?


Hi,
In the photos that you've shown It doesn't seem too bad and it would not be weakening the walls I reckon.
I have a small page on efflorescence here.
http://www.builderbill-diy-help.com/efflorescence.html
Mostly it is just a cosmetic problem, we just don't like the looks of it.

However it does show that water or rather dampness is traveling through the walls, and that may be a concern.
The Brightwall system is new to me but it looks interesting. There are other products that do similar jobs. I'd be doing a fair bit of research before going ahead with any particular one.

Cheers
Bill.
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Old 10-02-2008, 04:48 PM   #7
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Is this a mineral leaching through the walls?


Ty Bill. Its nice how the presence of efflorescence works as a tell for moisture. I will be checking into other companies weep systems as well as other options. And by the time we get into the basement repair we will have had the time to see how well our jerry-rigged system works in our tool shop during the wet season. We used the same concept as they do but couldn't buy the materials directly from them. So Dad found the best substitutes he could and we did the best we could with it. It will be put the test before we begin the final basement work.

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