What’s The White Stuff on my Basement Walls?

Saltpetre or saltpeter on old grunge wall basis

When you go down into your basement, do you notice some white stuff on the walls? It’s probably been there for a long time, and you notice it every time, but do you stop to think what it could be? Taking care of your Hamilton home can involve a lot of upkeep, but it’s worth it to make sure your home is a safe place for your family. Here’s what you need to know about the white stuff on the walls in the basement of your Hamilton home. 

Does the White Stuff Have a Name?

The name for the white, chalky substance on your basement walls is efflorescence. In French, this means “to flower out,” and it is called that because it is fluffy. 

Is Efflorescence Harmful?

While the substance of efflorescence is not dangerous or toxic, it is a sign of water problems in the basement of your home. 

How Does Efflorescence Get There?

Efflorescence forms when water evaporates and water-soluble salts are deposited on the masonry in your home. It is usually found in places where there is Portland cement in your home. 

After the moisture or water evaporates, the salts will crystalize and become the substance known as efflorescence. This substance needs water for it to form, which usually makes it a seasonal problem. 

You may notice it more in the winter since there is often more snow and sleet during that time; however, it can happen during other times of the year as well. 

Is Efflorescence Mold?

Many Hamilton homeowners can confuse this substance with mould and think it’s dangerous to their family’s health. Thankfully, though, the two are not the same at all. 

Efflorescence is usually only a visual problem and can make your home look untidy, whereas mould can be toxic to those in your home. 

How Do You Tell The Difference Between Efflorescence and Mould?

The main difference between Efflorescence and Mould is the colour. Mould is usually green or black, whereas efflorescence will be white or yellow. Second, efflorescence will often only be on one surface, but mould will spread and grow from place to place. 

A Sign of Bigger Problems

As mentioned, when you notice efflorescence on the walls of your Hamilton home, it can be a sign of having water problems with your home. Seeing these white patches on your wall is usually an early sign of having issues with the foundation of your home. 

As with almost any other issue, the earlier you catch the problem, the easier it will be to repair it. If you catch it early enough, you may be able to implement any number of waterproofing options instead of having to deal with major foundation cracks and repairs. 

Contact Conterra Foundations Today

If you suspect that your basement has some issues with water and you’re seeing these fluffy white patches, contact Conterra Foundations to have an inspection. We will be able to assess the situation and recommend any repairs or waterproofing solutions for your basement.