[ecis2016.org] We look at some measures that home owners can take, to ensure the safety of the exterior walls and thereby, protect their homes, during the monsoon season
The exterior walls of a home, protect the interiors and its occupants from the elements of nature, such as rains and can affect the overall health of our homes. Only a damage-free exterior would prevent leakage, peeling of paint, dampness, fungus, etc., from making its way inside your home. Hence, home owners need to take measures, to ensure the safety of exterior walls.
Roof construction to prevent leakage
During the construction of a house, two things matter the most, when it comes to preventing rainwater from affecting the exterior walls. “One is the roof overhang, a feature in our old buildings that disperses rainwater away from the wall. The second is adequate slope, to ensure drainage and to prevent the seepage of water,” says Dr Benny Kuriakose, an architect, known for cost-effective and sustainable architecture.
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Lime plaster as an alternative to cement
Usually, cement is used for construction of exterior walls. Now, due to the natural phenomenon of expansion and contraction, cracks develop in the walls that can cause leakage and dampness. “It is better to use lime plaster, as it hardens more slowly than cement. It is less brittle and less prone to developing cracks, thereby, performing much better when used on external walls. Lime plaster protects walls from rains, as it allows the walls to dry out. If lime plaster is not practical to use (depending on the geographical area), then, there are construction chemicals that can be mixed with cement, to prevent cracks. The quality of workmanship matters but not enough attention is paid to this in the building industry. Today, quantity matters more than quality. Depending on the quality of workmanship, a building can develop dampness or leakage much earlier than it is expected,” Kuriakose cautions.
Water-proofing solutions for external walls
Exterior walls are exposed to rainwater, high humidity and moisture, which can travel through the layers and affect the interior walls, adds Mahesh Anand, president, decorative division, Nippon Paint (India). “So, the wall becomes a breeding ground for mould and mildew, causing irreparable damage and water leakage. To prevent this, water-proof the building during initial construction, or choose a wall paint that has superior water resistance,” advises Anand.
“Water-proofing chemicals are available for many applications such as concrete, plaster, paint, etc. One can use some of these treatments, based on the climatic conditions. Sealing cracks is important. Use silicon sealant to seal any small grouts, grooves or edges. Silicon is water-resistant and adds another level of protection against water,” points out Hardesh Chawla, founder, Essentia Environments.
For large terraces and balconies, it is better to apply three to four layers of water-proofing, from the construction to the finishing stage. “Ensure that slopes are properly laid and lead directly to the drain pipes, which are of proper thickness. Open areas should be designed in a way that no water accumulates on the surface,” states Chawla.
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The type of paint that one selects, will also determine the durability of the building’s exteriors. One should avoid using high-gloss paints for the exteriors. Anand advises home owners to consider the following aspects while choosing paints for external walls:
- “Matte and eggshell are the best choices, as they have high durability and are easier to clean. These finishes further enhance the natural colour of the paint.
- There are paints with specially formulated self-priming technology that reduce costs and save time.
- Paints with heat-ban technology reduce surface temperatures and cool the interiors significantly.
- Opt for exterior paints that impart a rich sheen finish and have anti-algal properties, to keep exterior walls fresh for a long period of time.”
Exterior paints have a longer lifespan if the painting is done during the summer, as the temperature will be enough for the paint to dry properly and the time needed to adhere to the wall will be minimum. “Painting the exterior wall during winter, will result in ‘flaking’ over time, owing to the humidity. Also, it is recommended not to paint in windy or adverse weather conditions, as the paint may attract dirt, apart from failing to adhere correctly. This can result in chipping or premature weathering,” explains Anand.
Maintenance tips for cladded walls
Exterior walls need not be dull; one can brighten it by adding natural materials like wood, rocks, cement, metal, glass and bricks. In case of tile cladding, use water-proof adhesive, to seal the grooves and edges. “Stone, cladding or any other treatment, adds to the aesthetic appeal. Many hard stones offer excellent durability in harsh weather conditions and are a great option for exterior walls, as stones can last much longer than paint,” says Chawla.
Maintenance of the exterior wall is an important aspect of safeguarding the structure for a long time. Cracks in walls should be filled immediately with water-proof putty, before a coat of primer and paint is applied. Before the monsoon, always check the tiles and pipes. Damaged tiles and drainage pipes may cause harm, if the water goes directly into the walls. Any leakage must be treated immediately. Seal all cracks on the structure’s façade, from time to time.
How to prevent seepage from balconies and windows
One cannot ignore balconies and windows as they are also exposed to the outside weather. The wooden or iron railings of the balcony and windows need to be protected from damage and so, it is important to opt for paints with advanced protection. “Properly applied paint can prevent wooden railings from rotting and prevent metal railings from rusting. Using paint and primers that are specifically designed for such exterior surfaces, will ensure long-lasting protection, despite the weather outside,” concludes Anand.
How do you protect outdoor walls from rain?
The best way to protect outdoor walls from rain, is to ensure that proper water-proofing is used during construction. After the wall is constructed, ensure that all cracks are attended to and paint the wall with a water-proof paint.
How do I stop my walls from sweating?
The best way to stop walls from sweating, is to ensure proper ventilation in the room. You can also use an exhaust fan in the room or place a dehumidifier near the affected wall.
How do you get rid of monsoon mold on walls?
To get rid of mold, make a mild solution of bleach mixed with water. Use a brush to apply the solution on the affected area and let it dry. Clean the area with water after eight hours.
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