Case Study: Salt Damp Repair – Clarence Park

Case Study:  Salt Damp Repair Clarence Park

Location: Clarence Park

Type of Home: 1920’s Bungalow – Sandstone front, red brick to sides

Project Manager: Neil Williams

Issue: Severe damage to sandstone and bricks at base of the wall due to long-term exposure to salt damp.

Solution: Tech-Dry rebuilt some areas of wall before injecting a new damp proof barrier at the base of the walls.    The client then waited 6 months to allow time for trapped moisture and salts to evaporate to the surface.   Tech-Dry then repaired the front stonework and side brick walls of the home.

Details from Neil:

Marie asked us to inspect due to concerns about the condition of her walls.   The first thing I noticed was the damage that had occured to the sandstones on the front verandah and walls.  These  stones had been eaten away by the salts and some of these were almost completely gone.   On the side walls the mortar between the bricks had become crumbly and had eroded to the point that i could put my in between the bricks.  And this was happening up to 11 courses of bricks from the ground.   This is quite severe for salt damp.

The first thing I determined was that injection was not going to be possible until we had rebuilt some of the walls.    We proposed to the client therefore that we needed to rebuild sections of her wall, then inject a new Tech-Dry chemical damp proof barrier at the base of the wall.  The new barrier would stop any new moisture (and salts) from rising into the wall.  Once the barrier had been created we would need to wait 6 months.  This time allows for the walls above this barrier to “dry” before we can get our stonemasons back onsite to start the repairs.

Once the 6 months was complete our stonemasons returned onsite to work their magic.  They began the slow process of removing the salt affected pointing and replacing it with new lime mortar.  They also removed any of the affected sandstones and bricks and carefully choose their replacements.  This means the new stones will blend in with the existing stones in the wall.   Where necessary they also cut blocks of sandstone by hand to place into the wall so that they fit.   As a part of our overall repair service they also completely replaced the verandah floor as the previous slab had moved and cracked.

From the Client:

“I would like to pass on my appreciation of the magnificent job done by your staff, who I found to work together very well.  I am more than pleased with the work they did and I will certainly be more than happy to recommend Tech-Dry and your employees to anyone who is looking for damp proof work to be done.  Thanking you, Marie”.

Ready to get a quote for your home then click here to contact us to organise a suitable time. 

Lateral Damp… Salt damp is not the only damp issue.

What is Lateral Damp?

Our homes are traditionally built to protect us from the elements and be watertight.   However damp issues are one of the most common maintenance complaints around a home.   Commonly we are able to advise our customers that their issue is not Salt damp but in fact Lateral damp.

Lateral damp or penetrating damp is the result of the passage of water through a wall in a horizontal direction.    In South Australia most properties are built with brick or stone.   This masonry is very porous in nature.   If these walls become exposed to excess water the masonry will absorb the water into the wall.  This process is similar to that of putting a sponge in a bowl of water.

Many times the water also carries soluble salts.  The water and salts eventually move through the wall and evaporate onto the surface side on the opposite side.    A moisture stain appears and salts are deposited on the surface.   Signs to look for include staining, blistering paint, drummy plaster, salty deposits and efflorescence.

Unlike rising damp, lateral damp can occur at any height on a wall and will occur even where a suitable damp proof course is in place.

There are many issues which can result in your home suffering from lateral damp damage. Before fixing the issue you will need to identify the source of the moisture.  Please note that the remedies below are suggestions only. We always recommend that you consult with a damp specialist for correct diagnosis first.

Some common examples we encounter include:

Garden Bed has been built directly against the house wall.   No issue outside but the customer notices that the paint is bubbling in the room on the inside.
This is common.  Many homes have garden beds placed against an outside wall.   This causes an issue as it covers (bridges) the existing damp proof course but it also allows the passage of moisture from the soil directly to the wall surface.  Constant watering of the plants in this garden bed only makes the issue worse.
REMEDY:   If possible remove the garden bed so that soil is not directly against your wall. 

Plaster has begun to bubble in hallway or bedroom.   Occurs quickly over a short space of time.   A wet area is on the other side of the wall.  
In this situation the problem is often due a leak from the wet area.  It can be as serious as a pipe leak, or tap washers dripping.  In other cases it can be due to minor cracks in the tiles and grout allowing water to pass through into the wall.

REMEDY: Get a plumber in to pressure test your pipes, check for leaking bridging pieces or perhaps additional waterproofing or sealant requirements for your bathroom.

Salt Attack, Efflorescence and moisture stain on retaining, backfilled or cellar walls.
This often occurs when the waterproofing membrane is either missing or has broken down behind the wall.  Without the membrane ground water and salts are able to pass easily into the porous masonry wall.
REMEDY: Ensure there is no moisture sources leaking into the backfill (subfloor draining issues, leaking downpipes etc.). The best solution in this instance is to remove the backfill and place a waterproof membrane between the backfill and the wall. However, in most cases this is not possible and the wall surface will need to be dealt with as a regular maintenance issue e.g. cleaning off salts, poulticing to remove salts and inside sacrificial plastering.

Sprinkler systems; excessive moisture penetration on one section of wall from constant water.
This causes an issue as large amounts of water constantly hit the same area of the building over long periods of time.    Especially during summer when we all water more often.

REMEDY: Whilst your system is running check the perimeter of each of the sprays and adjust if any are consistently spraying directly onto your walls.

Leaking downpipes, a leaking air-conditioning system, a leaking hot water system; again excessive moisture penetration on one section of wall from constant water.

REMEDY: Home maintenance to check the perimeter of your home and then consult with roofing, guttering or hot water service specialists. Fix the issue asap.   


Once the problem has been accurately diagnosed and rectified please allow a minimum of an additional 3 months before carrying out any repairs to the aesthetic damage.  For further information or assistance please contact us.