Spalling, a threat for building owners
Spalling is one of the biggest threats to building owners in coastal cities, and the risks can be made worse in higher-rise buildings. Spalling may be the root of numerous issues with building upkeep.
Spalling is mostly caused by sea spray and heavy rainfall bringing in moisture. The evaporation and drying times following rainfall are significantly longer in climates like the Western Cape, where winter precipitation dominates the cold season, than in other South African cities, where summer precipitation occurs. Water takes longer to locate weaker points of entry into exterior structural walls and roofs.
To reduce and prevent spalling, waterproofing, as well as the appropriate selection and application of paint and waterproofing products, is essential. The exterior structure and coatings may be compromised due to aging, damage or the use of the wrong products, or the application of products not adhering to manufacturer's specifications, among other factors, which can cause moisture ingress. The rusting of the steel reinforcing in the walls caused by this moisture ingress eventually results in spalling.
Rust stains soon appear alongside the initial appearance of cracks. Larger cracks form, plaster begins to peel off the brickwork, and bricks begin to split, all of which can result in structures failing and posing a significant threat to residents or tenants. Managers of facilities and building maintenance must always look for signs of spalling damage.
Spalling is a concern for building owners. It can take time to reveal itself, but once there are signs of damage, it is best to address the problem right way.
In some areas, spalling damage may be limited to a small area, but it can also be a cause of significant damage to not only walls, but windows, doors and even flooring. Keep up with your maintenance regime to avoid costly repairs by identifying spalling early.