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Dealing with Saltpeter Before It Does Major Damage

Have you noticed whitish marks on the walls of your basement or ground floor? It is most likely saltpeter. Unattractive and dangerous for your health, you must clean your walls of saltpeter as soon as it appears through basement repair Salt Lake City.

Find out more about this visible efflorescence and the solutions to treat saltpeter on your walls as well as the means to prevent its appearance.

Understand what saltpeter is before treating it

Saltpeter is a deposit made of mineral salt. It forms when potassium nitrate, present in the building materials used in your home (bricks, lime, cement, water…), comes into contact with oxygen and creates excess humidity.

3 types of humidity give rise to saltpeter

Moisture in the foundations: produced by the absence or failure of insulating layers supposed to block the rise of water towards the foundations. The water, therefore, reaches the foundations and leads to the appearance of saltpeter on the walls. Our team will be able to treat water infiltration through the concrete floor to prevent saltpeter from entering your walls again.

Humidity due to water infiltration: the phenomenon occurs when the rain comes into contact with porous exterior walls and penetrates the masonry.

Moisture due to water leaks: Forms when a pipe is faulty or leaky.

This makes it possible to treat the problem at its source and to prevent the saltpeter from reappearing after the initial cleaning.

Saltpeter on concrete walls: why should it be treated?

The appearance of whitish stains on concrete walls is not just a simple aesthetic defect. It can also be a problem for the good health of your habitat, but especially yours.

Indeed, the risks associated with the presence of this deposit are numerous. Since its appearance comes from an excessive humidity level within the foundations, this defect could, among other things, hide mold or fungus. Not to mention the increase in the proliferation of dust mites that can lead to allergies and other respiratory problems.

In addition to the health risks, saltpeter can have harmful consequences on most of the materials that make up a house and can cause the paints and plasters present on your walls to crumble.

The treatment of saltpeter in 4 steps

Once you have identified the presence of saltpeter, you should not delay to act. Cleaning is not the most complex, it requires a small investment, but it must be done safely.

1. Have the right equipment

To give yourself the best chance of getting rid of saltpeter, bring:

  • With a stiff-bristled brush,
  • With a spatula or a sander,
  • hydrochloric acid,
  • water,
  • Gloves and goggles,
  • From a bucket,
  • A plastic sheet to cover the ground.

2. Clean the surface

Brushing removes the crust that has formed with the saltpeter. Using a detergent or soap can help with cleaning.

If the saltpeter is well encrusted and does not come off with the brush, you can use a spatula or a sander to scrape it off. Then with clean water, rinse the wall.

3. Wash with hydrochloric acid

The acid can be purchased at hardware stores in a hydrochloric form. For optimal use, we recommend mixing the product with water in a bucket with a ratio of 1/10: 1 liter of acid for 10 liters of water.

Mix well and, with the brush, apply the mixture all over the affected part. Then leave to act between 5 and 10 minutes so that the acid has time to eliminate the saltpeter.

4. Rinse with warm water

To finish your saltpeter treatment, you must clean the wall with hot water. With your stiff bristle brush and plenty of water. Remove any saltpeter and acid residue that may remain on the wall.

What to do if the saltpeter reappears on your concrete walls?

If a few months after having treated it. You observe the reappearance of saltpeter, it is because the humidity is recurrent. This could in particular endanger your structure. What to do then?

Check for cracks in foundations and walls

The first step in getting rid of saltpeter permanently is to check for cracks in walls and foundations. The goal is to avoid entries allowing moisture to seep into the walls.

If you notice cracks that look suspicious, seek professional service. The experts can inspect cracks in the foundations, and thus assess whether they are problematic or not.

Waterproofing your home

In addition to having any cracks repaired, it could be useful, or even necessary, to have the latter waterproofed. Indeed, if your home is old, or if weather events have got the better of your foundations. For example, moisture may sweep in much more easily.

By having the situation assessed by an expert, he will be able to offer you solutions adapted to your case. Such as the installation of a waterproofing membrane on your exterior foundations.

Dealing with saltpeter before disaster strikes

It is therefore very important not to let a problem of saltpeter linger on your walls. Since this can not only endanger your home, but also your health, and hide other inconveniences. Assessing the condition of your home, including cracks on the walls and floors. But also the rate of moisture infiltration is the best way to get rid of it permanently. Unlike surface treatments that will only push back the inconvenience.

The foundation repair Utah is familiar with this type of situation and will be able to offer. You a treatment adapted to the problems of saltpeter on your walls.

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