Salt-attack occurs when a surface made from stones or concrete is regularly exposed to water that contains salt. While the water may evaporate, the salt crystallises and is left behind inside the pores of the concrete. As time passes, more salt is left behind each time the concrete is exposed to the salt water.

As more salt crystallises, the pores in the concrete are forced to expand. Eventually this can leave to serious damage. This damage is what’s referred to as salt-attack.

Salt-attack can occur on a range of different surfaces, including all masonry units, stone pavers and segmental pavers. While these materials are often used for their aesthetic appeal and durability, they unfortunately are not immune to getting salt-attack.

Homes in coastal areas and the surrounding pavers around a salt water pool are most at risk of getting salt-attack. However, as there is sodium chloride, potassium chloride and calcium chloride found in a range of outdoor products – including fertilisers, ‘safe de-icing chemicals’ and natural pesticides – no matter where you live your concrete could be in danger of developing salt-attack.

Degrees of damage caused by salt-attack

The level of damage caused by the salt-attack will depend on a number of factors including the type of masonry, the type of salt, and the period of time in which the surface has been exposed.

Some of the signs of salt-attack include:

  • Cracking, crumbling, and chipping.

  • The surface may appear as if it has been exfoliated.

  • Cavities may appear.

How to prevent salt-attack

When you are building anything in a coastal area or somewhere your property may be exposed to salt on occasion, ensure that your builder takes the necessary precautions and uses the best material possible for the conditions of your surrounding climate.

Using a material that’s of the highest quality to ensure a very thick and dense cement paste is reached will greatly reduce your chances of getting salt-attack. If you are getting a pool installed and will be using salt water, make sure that the surrounding pavers and tiles used are as salt-resistant as possible. Bellstone can help guide you in the right direction when it comes to selecting pool pavers.

Concrete and stone sealers also have other benefits. For example, using an Aqua Mix sealer will not only help to prevent water- and oil-based stains over the lifetime of your concrete and are an effective method of protecting your porous surfaces from salt-attack, but will also make cleaning much easier for you.

However, it’s essential that these sealers are applied to a porous surface as soon after installation as possible. The longer that you leave it, the more likely it is that salt will have already become trapped underneath the surface of the stone. By trapping it in there with the sealer, you risk the stone being eaten away from within and becoming structurally unsound.

For information on salt-attack and how best to protect your porous surfaces, talk to the experts at Bellstone today. We have information on everything there is to know about keeping your concrete and stones safe from salt-attack, and can provide you with the information you need to protect your property.