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Do my basement walls contain a poisonous substance?

Do my basement walls contain a poisonous substance?

Old 07-13-14, 06:53 PM
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Question Do my basement walls contain a poisonous substance?

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I recently moved into this 1910 home in the Pacific Northwest (just north of Seattle). The basement walls have a chalky material that is flaking off of the block walls. I've tried to leave it undisturbed, but my wife thinks it's getting worse. Any ideas what's going on?

Many thanks!

Old 07-13-14, 06:59 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

Google "efflorescence". It is harmless.
Old 07-13-14, 07:33 PM
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Your wife is probably right..... it does get worse with age and as more moisture seeps thru.
Old 07-14-14, 03:30 AM
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The cosmetic fix is to scrape and repaint but it will return unless the source of moisture is addressed. Sometimes that can be as easy as routing the downspouts so water is directed away from the foundation. Regrading might be needed, worse case scenario would involve excavating along the foundation sealing the wall and installing drain tile.

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