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Advances in Materials Science and Engineering
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 1280894, 13 pages
Review Article

Salt Damage and Rising Damp Treatment in Building Structures

1CONSTRUCT-LFC, Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto, Rua Dr. Roberto Frias, s/n, 4200-465 Porto, Portugal
2Department of Materials Engineering and Chemistry, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Czech Technical University in Prague, Thákurova 7/2077, 166 29 Prague 6, Czech Republic

Received 16 May 2016; Revised 30 September 2016; Accepted 5 October 2016

Academic Editor: Wei Zhou

Copyright © 2016 J. M. P. Q. Delgado et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Salt damage can affect the service life of numerous building structures, both historical and contemporary, in a significant way. In this review, various damage mechanisms to porous building materials induced by salt action are analyzed. The importance of pretreatment investigations is discussed as well; in combination with the knowledge of salt and moisture transport mechanisms they can give useful indications regarding treatment options. The methods of salt damage treatment are assessed then, including both passive techniques based on environmental control, reduction of water transport, or conversion to less soluble salts and active procedures resulting in the removal of salts from deterioration zones. It is concluded that cellulose can still be considered as the favorite material presently used in desalination poultices but hydrophilic mineral wool can serve as its prospective alternative in future applications. Another important cause of building pathologies is the rising damp and, in this phenomenon, it is particularly severe considering the presence of salts in water. The treatment of rising damp in historic building walls is a very complex procedure and at Laboratory of Building Physics (LFC-FEUP) a wall base hygroregulated ventilation system was developed and patented.