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Mineral salts on interior basement wall

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  • Mineral salts on interior basement wall

    We bought a new home five years ago. It is in the mountains, so every home has a basement and is built into the side of a hill.

    Two years ago I noticed a discoloration in two corners of the basement (about 2 inches wide by 1 ft long). The discoloration appeared to be some type mineral salt that was leaching from the mortar between the cement blocks.

    I talked with an acquaintance who repairs foundations and he said that moisture from the ground on the other side of the block was leaching minerals from the mortar. Even though the builder had painted the inside of the basement with a Sherwin Williams product called Pro-Mor semi gloss block filler, he apparently did a crappy job waterproofing the block on the outside before adding the fill dirt.

    He suggested I clean the areas with a steel brush - removing the mineral deposits and wash it with acetic acid or vinegar. When dry, repaint it with two coats of Dry Loc. I followed his advice.

    However, the stains and minerals are back a year later. Does anyone have any suggestions, other than digging all the soil away from the house and recoating the outside of the block with a ruberized sealant?

  • #2
    Re: Mineral salts on interior basement wall

    if you want to stop water from migrating through the wall you gotta do it outside the wall at the source of the problem.

    look at drainage issues like gutters and downspouts and grading around the house which could be part of the problem. sometimes borders are installed around flowerbeds and this creates a dam that holds water next to the house when it rains. the water needs a clear path to flow away from the foundation. If 4 feet say of your foundation is below grade, then I suggest you should have a slope (min 1"/ft) away from the wall out about 4 feet to help ensure water does not collect or pool next to the house.
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    • #3
      Re: Mineral salts on interior basement wall

      Bob D,

      Thank you for the reply. THE most appropriate remedy is out of the question. But, I talked with a competent landscape engineer this morning and I think I will reroute one downspout (that cannot be controlled, due to walkways, irrigation systems, etc) to another gutter or downspout. Then, put in an underground drain & tie it in with those on the back to get it away from the house.

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      • #4
        Re: Mineral salts on interior basement wall

        The mineral formations you are seeing is probably efflorescence. See wikipedia for causes and treatment. A french drain or similar structure might be effective in routing underground water away from the foundation, as water will take the path of less resistance.

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        • #5
          Re: Mineral salts on interior basement wall

          Originally posted by JoePolvino View Post
          The mineral formations you are seeing is probably efflorescence. See wikipedia for causes and treatment. A french drain or similar structure might be effective in routing underground water away from the foundation, as water will take the path of less resistance.
          Salt is in the concrete sand Mix.
          You can clean it up .BUT it will return!
          I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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