How to resolve salt formation problems during the monsoon?
Salt formation on walls is a common problem, which almost every home in India has to come across due to humid climatic conditions in the country. However, this problem increases many-folds – when the nation comes across the monsoon season. Before we dive into the solution of how to tackle salt formation on walls, let’s walk you through what salt formation is – “saltpetre” and why it increases in the monsoon.
What is Saltpetre or salt formation on walls?
Salt formation on walls or saltpetre refers to the deposition of salts on the surface of walls or other building materials. It is a common problem in areas with high humidity or water intrusion. When moisture seeps into the walls, it carries dissolved salts with it. As the water evaporates, the salts are left behind, leading to the formation of visible deposits on the surface.
The salts typically found in salt formation include calcium carbonate, calcium sulfate, and sodium chloride. These salts are naturally present in the soil or building materials and can dissolve in water. When the water reaches the wall surface and evaporates, the salts crystallize and form a white or greyish powdery residue.
Salt formation on walls not only affects the aesthetic appearance of the surfaces but can also cause damage over time. The salt deposits can absorb moisture from the air, leading to increased dampness and potential degradation of the wall materials. In severe cases, the expansion and contraction of salts due to moisture absorption and drying can cause cracks and spalling of the surface.
Now that we know what saltpetre/salt formation on walls is – let’s walk you through how and why it occurs.
How and why does Saltpetre or Salt Formation on walls occur?
The formation of salt on walls, also known as efflorescence, occurs when water-soluble salts are present within building materials or in the surrounding environment. Here’s a step-by-step explanation of how salt formation on walls can occur:
Moisture Infiltration: Water from various sources, such as rain, groundwater, or leaking pipes, infiltrates the porous materials of the walls. The water may carry dissolved salts within it.
Evaporation: As the infiltrated water evaporates from the surface of the walls, it leaves behind salt deposits. The water moves towards the surface through capillary action, carrying the salts with it.
Salt Crystallization: When the water reaches the surface, it evaporates, leaving the salts behind. As the water evaporates, the concentration of dissolved salts increases. Eventually, the salts reach a saturation point and start to crystallize on the wall’s surface.
Salt Deposits: The crystallized salts form visible deposits on the wall’s surface, appearing as a white or greyish powdery substance or crystalline growths. These deposits are commonly composed of salts such as sodium chloride (common table salt), calcium sulfate, potassium nitrate, or others depending on the specific salts present.
Several factors contribute to the occurrence and severity of salt formation:
- Moisture Source: The presence of excessive moisture, either from water infiltration or high humidity, is necessary for salts to dissolve and move through the walls.
- Porous Materials: The use of porous building materials, such as masonry, concrete, or plaster, allows water to be absorbed and transported through capillary action, carrying salts along with it.
- Salt Content: The original composition of the building materials themselves can contain soluble salts. Additionally, salts may also be present in the surrounding soil, groundwater, or as a result of previous construction practices.
- Climate and Environment: The rate of evaporation and the concentration of salts can be influenced by factors such as temperature, humidity, and airflow. These factors can vary depending on the location and local climate.
Efflorescence is generally considered a cosmetic issue and does not pose a structural threat to buildings. However, it can be an indicator of ongoing moisture-related problems that should be addressed to prevent further damage. Proper waterproofing measures, adequate drainage systems, and the use of salt-resistant building materials can help minimize the occurrence of salt formation on walls.
However, before we dive into the process to counter salt formation on walls, let’s take a look at how monsoon influences salt formation on walls.
Impact of Monsoon on Saltpetre Effect
The monsoon season in India has a great impact on salt formation on walls. The process is commonly referred to as “efflorescence.” Here’s how it works:
Moisture: During the monsoon season, there is usually a significant increase in humidity and rainfall. This excess moisture can penetrate porous building materials such as bricks, stones, or concrete.
Dissolved salts: Within these building materials, there are often soluble salts present, such as calcium sulfate, magnesium sulfate, or sodium chloride. These salts can be derived from various sources, including the surrounding soil, groundwater, or construction materials. However during the monsoon due to excessive moisture, the process of solution for these salts rapidly increases.
Water movement: As rainwater or groundwater seepage into the walls increases during monsoon, the movement of these dissolved salts also increases. The water migrates through the porous material via capillary action, moving towards the surface.
Evaporation: When the moisture reaches the surface of the wall, it begins to evaporate due to environmental conditions such as heat, wind, or direct sunlight. As the water evaporates, it leaves behind the salts on the surface. These are more visible during the monsoon because of the increase in salt volume, caused by season.
Salt crystallization: Once the water evaporates completely, the salts are left behind in the form of crystals or a powdery residue. This accumulation of salts on the wall’s surface is known as efflorescence/saltpetre.
The monsoon season exacerbates this process because of the increased moisture content and prolonged exposure to wet conditions. The constant wetting and drying cycles can lead to a higher concentration of salts on the wall surface, resulting in more noticeable efflorescence.
To mitigate salt formation on walls during the monsoon season, it’s important to consider proper construction practices, including the use of moisture barriers, appropriate surface treatments, and adequate drainage systems. Regular maintenance and cleaning of the walls can also help prevent the buildup of salts and minimize the visual impact of efflorescence.
Let’s walk you through how to stop salt formation on walls across all seasons, especially during the monsoon.
Measures to overcome Saltpetre with Sturdflex Waterproofing Solution
To protect your home’s aesthetic beauty and wall damage from saltpetre throughout the year, especially during monsoon, at Sturdflex we bring you Sturdflex NoSalt. Let’s walk you through how NoSalt functions and why it is the best product to protect your walls from the salt formation.
About Sturdflex NoSalt
NoSalt is a perfect ANTI SALTPETRE WATERPROOFING solution for blocking rising dampness. When applied to concrete and mortar, it integrally blocks pores and makes the structure unable to form damp. When bricks containing high levels of salts are used in the construction of a structure, the bricks get saltpetre damage. NoSalt is ideal for treating bricks with high salt content such that they too are unable to form damp. It also saves the structures from acid rain and the efflorescence of salts in masonry structures.
Benefits of NoSalt include:
- Blocks capillaries in a cementitious system making it unable to form damp
- Treats bricks with high salt content and prevents the formation of saltpetre
- Saves money on cement by minimizing cement wastage
- Increases the life of the structure by reducing shrinkage cracks in mortar and concrete
- Single component, ready-to-use product for ease of application
Now that we have a clear idea about NoSalt and how it protects walls from Saltpetre/salt formation throughout the year, especially during monsoon, let’s walk you through how to use it.
The application process of Sturdflex NoSalt
To use Sturdflex NoSalt, prepare the surface by cleaning it with a brush or scrubber to remove all dirt and lose particles. Then moisten the wall with a brush to ensure it is completely clean of all impurities. Once the surface is dry apply the first coat of NoSalt to the wall diagonally using a brush. Once the first coat has dried off, apply a second coat on the wall horizontally. These two steps ensure your wall is ready to fight salt problems all throughout the year, especially during monsoons.
By using Sturdflex NoSalt and following its application process you can now fight salt formation problems.
To know more about Sturdflex NoSalt or issues related to the Salt formation on walls / Saltpetre, get in touch with us.