Salt damp, a combination of rising damp and salt attack, is a major concern for many homeowners. It occurs when water or moisture from the ground is sucked up through the walls of your house. If the water is salty, the salts are sucked up as well, crystallising over time. The result is crumbled, cracked, or chipped walls, damaged paint and plaster, and other structural damages to your decorative finishes, flooring etc. Therefore, salt damp shouldn't be left untreated, and here are some quick solutions.
This is one of the easiest and most common ways to deal with salt damp in your home. It involves the use of chemicals to create a damp-proof barrier. A series of small holes are drilled into the base of your walls, and a chemical damp course treatment or cream is inserted. Gradually, the chemical treatment spreads, creating a waterproof barrier that is resistant to the salts.
After the chemical injection, you will need to wait for the curing period before making any repairs to the walls, plaster, painting, etc. This curing period allows for any of the trapped moisture or salts to evaporate and is dependent on how thick the walls are. Your damage contractor will tell you how long the curing will take.
If the salt damp has severely damaged your walls such that chemical injections wouldn't be practical, undersetting would be the ideal solution. Although more intrusive, labour-intensive, time-consuming, and expensive, it allows for the replacement of the significantly damaged wall materials with sound materials. This method involves removing all the affected masonry and fabric and installing another damp-proof material or barrier. It is also perfect in situations where the drilling process in chemical injection treatment would compromise the structural integrity of your walls.
Besides the techniques used to treat salt damp, there are other good housekeeping procedures that can help reduce the severity of the problem or prevent it from reoccurring. First, general maintenance, especially of your roof drainage system, will come in handy. Therefore, repair leaks and clean your gutters, downpipes, and rainwater heads regularly. If you have timber floors, check the underfloor spaces regularly for termite activity, fungal rot, etc., which are often associated with high levels of humidity.
Ensure that ground levels and any surrounding paths adjacent to the base of your walls are sloped to allow for water to drain away instead of pooling at the base of the walls. Also, maintain underfloor ventilation in your house. It allows for the moisture in the soil to evaporate beneath your flooring and through the vents without stressing the walls.
Contact a contractor to learn more about salt damp treatments.