Pyrite, Pyrrhotite & Mica

Pyrite, Pyrrhotite and Mica Testing 

Testall offers geology testing including the investigation, sampling and analysis of suspected Pyrite, Pyrrhotite and Mica affected masonry block structures. The presence of these minerals can have a devasting effect on the structural integrity and durability of a property.

Why are they problematic? 

When reactive pyrite combines with water and oxygen it produces sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid then reacts with calcium carbonate and expands, causing cracking and degradation. Mica contributes to structural defects when elevated free Mica content in masonry blocks absorbs and retains a high moisture concentration. Pyrite, Pyrrhotite and Mica concentrations have garnered widespread attention and national media coverage in recent years due to its emergence in Irish developments constructed during the early 2000s. 

Signs of defective blocks

High levels of pyrite and Mica can be visible on the internal and external walls and floors of a property. Examples include:

  • Multi-directional (spiderweb) cracks in the floors or walls
  • Cracking in the internal partitions or load bearing walls
  • Bulging or heave of walls/floors
  • Household doors sticking or not closing properly
  • Vertical cracks typically 200mm from the corners of buildings travelling from the ground towards the roof
  • Horizontal and vertical cracks on external walls and in particular on property gables.
  • The most weathered elevations of properties tend to demonstrate advanced indications of cracking due to the presence of deleterious materials present in the masonry blocks.

What to do if you suspect Pyrite or Mica is present in your property

Unfortunately, removing pyrite affected products from affected buildings can be a destructive and costly process. Materials from a property must be tested in order to qualify for the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme or the Pyrite Remediation Scheme in the Republic of Ireland. The testing we provide for masonry blocks and for reactive pyrite in sub-floor hardcore material can be found under geology testing.

While remediation may seem like a drastic action, the result means that the structural integrity of the building is intact and certification for the building can be provided. If you suspect your property has pyrite or mica, contact us today to arrange sampling and to walk you through the testing process.

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