Is your floor swollen or warped? Do the concrete slabs in your basement have abnormal cracks? You likely have a pyrite problem and the presence of this iron sulphide-based mineral is always concerning for homeowners.
Here are the causes and consequences of pyrite in your foundations.
Effects of pyrite
Quebec homeowners have been worried about the risks of pyrite on their houses since the early 2000s.
This mineral can have unfortunate consequences for building foundations when found in the backfill under the foundations. A chemical reaction occurs when in contact with water or air, increasing the volume of the fill and creating a strong pressure on the concrete slab, which can lift up to the point of cracking. The sulphuric acid produced by this reaction can also partially disintegrate the concrete and cause deformations.
Even if you don’t see any visible damages, call a professional for a foundation inspection to prevent potential pyrite problems. Better safe than sorry.
Solving pyrite problems in your foundations
If there is pyrite in your foundations, the recommended solution is to redo the backfill. Although it is a fairly large investment and there is substantial work involved, it is the only way to completely eliminate this mineral from your foundations. Simply repairing the cracks created by the contaminated fill will only slow down the problem and the pyrite effects will still be present.
Using “DB” certified backfill is recommended if, like many homeowners, you are replacing the backfill under your slab. This will not swell and your foundations will no longer be affected by contaminated soil.
Pyrite problems can be solved and even avoided. Make sure to regularly inspect your home and check for foundation cracks. Call a specialist if you have the smallest doubt that there is pyrite in your backfill. If you are building a new house, make sure to choose a high quality backfill to avoid any future complications.
Do not hesitate to contact us for any additional information or for a concrete foundation inspection.