11/24/2007

Salitre 101

I thought that you might want to see pictures of the salitre repair project in one of our bedrooms. We've learned a lot about salitre over the last couple of months.

Salitre is a kind of cancer on the cement skin of the house. It's caused by water leaching out the salt in the cement mix. It could be happening because of a water pipe leak, a drain problem, or ground water coming up from under the house.

So usually the first thing to do is to figure out what has made the problem in the first place.

Sometimes though it just appears on a wall and hasn't caused the cement to become weak. In those cases you can scrape off any loose concrete, clean with muriatic acid, and then seal it.

In worse cases, once the underlying problem is repaired you may want to remove the bad concrete, clean the bricks underneath with muriatic acid and seal them before you put new concrete over the bricks. That's what we had to have done in the bedroom pictures you see here.

Here's a picture of the salitre before.



They spent a couple of days chipping off the old concrete and washing and sealing the wall. (This is from the other room they did - I forgot to take a picture in this bedroom)



Then they put on several layers of concrete and the final layer is nice and smooth and feathered in with the existing wall surface.



Now all we need to do is paint.

2 comments:

Mike said...

Salitre is a problem.
And fixing it, is far from being evident.
In a couple of years if not before ...salitre will re-appear.
We will talk about it...

There is also a product sold at Comex it is called:
"Finsalitre"
But nothing will solve the problem permanently...

The reason your walls have two colors is because the bottom part has to be repainted every year or so.

One of the reasons for salitre 5(salpeter in english or salpêtre in french) is the sand that was used in mixing cement.

Welcome to Mazatlan.

Mike aka HM

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information. My dad's house has this problem and at least I now know that it is a problem that can be fixed even if it needs to be re-done every so ofter. At least it doesn't seem to be a health hazard, right?