06Nov 06Nov

    Efflorescence Tech Guide

    Posted By m b


    Prevention is better than cure!

    There are some great myths that circulate in the building industry, but one that continually pops up is that the sand is the root cause of efflorescence. In this blog post we will explore what efflorescence is in detail, debunk the myth and detail the best way to avoid its unsightly white marks ruining your job.

    Does the sand cause efflorescence?

    No! The rumour that “the sand is not washed properly” most likely stems from the common phrase; “the salts are leaching out”. It’s likely an assumption is drawn that the problem therefore comes from sea salt in the sand, yet we all know that sea salt does not turn to stone! The term ‘salt’ in fact relates to all kinds of compounds in chemistry, not just the type of salt we put on our fish and chips!


    So what is efflorescence?

    The word ‘leaching’ is arguably a more technically correct term, but efflorescence has become the popular term for those unsightly white marks that we are only too familiar with. The salts to blame are in fact an inherent part of cement, are easily dissolved and ‘leached out’ of the cement binder by water. The most common types of soluble salts involved are calcium, potassium and sodium and they become carbonates as the moisture/water dries, leaving the deposits behind to react with carbon dioxide in the air. Importantly, many cement based products, such as tile adhesive, also contain polymers that can remain emulsified for a long time, and can also migrate with water and add to the problem.


    Can you stop efflorescence?

     Every batch of cement fired in a kiln (think an industrial sized oven for making cement) will undergo a unique chemical reaction, and some batches of cement will cause the problem more than others (this explains why sometimes you can be lucky or unlucky). The key to preventing efflorescence is to control water. A small amount can form in the curing stages, but it’s usually negligible. It is the ingress of rain water afterwards that brings on the big problems, but with diligence, the right products and good design, it can be avoided.


    Is efflorescence your responsibility?

     Since January 2015, the NSW Home Building Act has defined two categories for defects: Major defects and minor defects. A builder is liable for major defects for 6 years, and minor defects for 2 years. As long as there isn’t an associated structural waterproofing failure, efflorescence is arguably a minor defect.


    So what are my design options to avoid efflorescence?

     External tiling is where we most commonly see efflorescence problems. Every job is different, and there are many ways to “skin a cat” depending on many factors, not least the many choices of materials that are available. Below is a list of considerations that will help you prevent efflorescence on your next external tiling installation:

    1. Know the two most important reference documents relating to external tiling. i) AS 3958.1 - Guide to the Installation of Ceramic Tiles. ii) NSW Guide to Standards and Tolerances 2017.
    2. Begin with correct falls in the substrate. A screed should be of uniform thickness, particularly when it is an un-bonded screed.
    3. Consider adjacent details that might feed water into the tile system. I.e. Inadvertently burying brick cavity weep holes or sub-sill drainage of window and door frames below the finished height of your tiles can cause problems.
    4. Construction joints, sheet joints and movement joints in a substrate should either be expressed through a screed and tiling, or isolated from the finished tiling using slip sheets or crack isolation systems (i.e. a bonded or un-bonded tile system). N.B: A screed installed on top of a membrane is considered an un-bonded screed. To bond a screed, it should be slurry-bonded on to pre-scabbled/ shot-blasted concrete.
    5. Use General Purpose Cement and Efflock in the screed and mix your screed using a screed mixer. Liquid polymer additives can also be used in the screed to provide additional strength. N.B: Polymer additives will delay the repellent effect of Efflock until those polymers begin to dry. Inclement weather should be avoided for the first few days.
    6. Provide shade over the work area to avoid premature moisture loss. A cement slurry may be needed to bond the screed together between each batch. Thoroughly compact the screed and avoid voids.
    7. Moisture curing a screed is good practice. AS 3958.1 recommends moisture curing a screed for 7 days, followed by 2 weeks drying prior to tiling, to exhaust initial curing and shrinkage. Polymer additives in the screed can help to provide effective moisture curing.
    8. If applying a membrane/ second membrane over the screed, prime and caulk movement/control joints using a backing rod. Tamsi Hydrostop is a suitable primer for green screed so that the caulking can be installed along the joints early to prevent water penetrating the open joints. Keep the rest of the screed open to allow moisture to evaporate. Moisture test the screed to confirm a satisfactory moisture content for the membrane before applying the remaining sections of waterproofing over the tile screed. N.B: A second membrane is entirely optional for a screed that contains Efflock, but many builders opt for both. Putting Efflock in a screed is advantageous to repel rainwater for the duration that your screed is open to the weather, even when it is going to have a membrane.
    9. Use 1% Efflock in the gauging water of cement based tile adhesives. Notch the adhesive in the direction of the shortest dimension of the tile to minimise air entrapment. Tiles greater than 400mm should be back buttered achieving minimum 90% contact coverage. Avoid voids.
    10. Use 1% Efflock in the gauging water if using cement based grout. Install grout. N.B: If using Mapei Ultracolor Plus, Efflock is not required. If it has rained, never grout the water in! Rainwater should be extracted and the tiling given ample time to evaporate dry before grouting and caulking. Any water trapped under tiles is almost guaranteed to bring the salts and polymers out!
    11. Keep movement joints free of tile adhesive and grout. Movement joints are required at all perimeters, at all post and columns, and intermediate joints at maximum 4.5m centres, and all of them need to be caulked! The type of tile, colour of tile and width of joint will influence the frequency of intermediate movement joints. NB: Proprietary aluminium/neoprene expansion joint profiles are not recommended externally - from the point of keeping water out. A tile butting into an aluminium extrusion does not provide a seal.
    12. Install extruded polystyrene backing rods into all movement joints prior to caulking. This provides a compressible convex ‘formwork’ to keep the caulking thin enough in the middle to enable it to stretch, without detaching from one side or the other (see manufacturer’s technical data sheet for guidance on depth/width ratios). A caulked joint that becomes detached, functions as a strip drain instead of a sealed joint.
    13. Be sure to install movement joints at wall perimeters before installing skirting tiles. This detail is often overlooked!
    14. For balconies that drain to an edge, a metal balcony trim with a drip angle that sheds water away from the balcony fascia is helpful.
    15. Consider the expansion rates of metal trims and lineal drains in outdoor tiling. Consider breaking these accessories into shorter lengths and incorporating their own compressible movement joints between lengths. Caulking between tiles and these accessories is designed to stretch and compress across a joint, but it has very little tolerance in absorbing lineal shear forces. Remember – a failed caulked joint becomes a strip drain!
    16. When installing stormwater grates and lineal drains, always provide bleed points for water that may penetrate the screed/glue/grout to freely drain discreetly into the stormwater pipe. If a secondary membrane is installed on top of a screed, the second membrane should not lock off water from being able to escape from the bottom of the screed/primary membrane. I.e. Water that can potentially get in, must be allowed out!
    17. Seal porous tiles that are vulnerable to water absorption, salt attack or staining with an appropriate sealer for those tiles.



    Understanding how efflorescence occurs is the first step in knowing how to control it. Hopefully our suggestions above give some helpful guidance to preventing problems on your next project. Our staff and suppliers at MBS are always willing to assist you with advice for any specific job.


    I would also like to thank both Ben Burdett from Eco Liquids P/L and Colin Cass from Techtile Consulting P/L. Without their help and input this post would have not been possible and a big “thank you” must go to both of them for being so generous with their time.  


    Techtile Consulting P/L : 0414 539 549

    Eco Liquids P/L: 0414 730 736




    The advice in this blog post is general advice for a typical tiling installation and is given in good faith. Customers should always undertake their own assessment of methods and materials, materials compatibility and confirm the best approach required to completing a job seeking the correct advice from the material/product’s manufacturer.

    10May 10May

    Stop, Start....Stop

    Posted in General By m b

    Stop, start……stop:


    How can you get anywhere in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney in a hurry?

    Well the truth is you can’t! There are no more secret short cuts! No more under populated areas, just over populated suburbs with what seems an endless supply of units being built to further congest what is already a heavily congested area.

    The traffic congestion in the Eastern suburbs has steadily been growing year on year similar to that of the waste line of a fat house cat that is pampered and fed to the point of being immobile only to make you wonder how fat the cat can actually get before it rolls over and can’t move at all…..ok that’s probably an exaggeration but you get my drift.


    Matraville to Vaucluse is a driving commute of approximately 15kms yet it can take 25 minutes to 1 hour depending on the time of day and time of year! That’s right up to 1 hour!

    One hour is far too long and there’s definitely an issue when I can ride my push bike to Vaucluse from Maroubra faster than I can drive in peak hour traffic and believe me I’m no Lance Armstrong!

    It wasn’t always the case and I remember the days as a young fella when mum would drive me to my soccer games with no traffic at all…..what the hell happened?    


    I’ll tell you what happened………”the powers that be” who are obviously rocket scientists and responsible for our town planning stuffed up! They didn’t prepare/plan for the future and as a result have failed to deliver suitable transport/traffic solutions and now the tax payer is paying for a light rail network that is already obsolete before it’s even finished. This all sounds too familiar….that’s right M5 all over again. People living in suburbs south of Kingsford and Randwick are left wondering why the hell the network wasn’t extended to Maroubra and possibly even Little Bay; why?  

    Anyway……The bloke that designed the Harbour Bridge in the 1920’s was a “thinker”, he had the foresight to plan for the future and unfortunately the same foresight isn’t shared by the people planning our cities today!

    So right about now you have just realized that I sell sand and cement and are thinking; WTF?

    Well it’s simple; MBS battles this congestion every day yet we still manage to deliver! Yes sometimes we can be a little late but we still find a way to make it happen, your satisfaction and what I consider to be a mutually rewarding business relationship drives us to ensure we don’t let you down. We battle the traffic and try our best to deliver when promised!


    “Delivering premium service” even when traffic comes to a standstill…..yes I should be a town planner J

    07Apr 07Apr

    MBS Trade Night

    Posted By m b

    Our 35th year in business (wow, you get less for some crimes) is upon us and what better way to celebrate than with a Trade Night!!! Hip Hip Hooray!!!!!

    As part of our commitment to delivering "Premium Service & Value" we thought it would be best to bring all of our valued and respected customers together under one roof and celebrate all things building.

    As you are all aware, our landscape is changing, and as such, so too are the rules and regulations we need to live, breathe and build by.

    As a result, the demand for change in alternative building solutions, products and materials also changes, and we felt the need to bring you all together, not only to network, but also to meet, greet and ask any questions you may have to our purposely selected suppliers on the night.

    The night will showcase product demonstrations, which means 2 CPD points (for all the professionals) will be offered for those that need them, to maintain their accreditation for the year.

    If theres any further info you may have or want to RSVP, make it known by letting any of our staff know either in person or by calling us on 96661000

    07Dec 07Dec


    It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do!


    It doesn’t matter whether it’s a show of appreciation, a simple hug or rolling up the sleeves and leading by example. The actions we take define us!

    When the going gets tough there isn’t anything worse than listening to someone promise the world and delivering nothing! How often have you heard someone say: “do it like this, it’s easy” or “I could do it better!”? Don’t say what you could, should or would do; rather show someone how it’s done! Take initiative, lead by example and earn my respect, don’t patronise me with your ability to do something without proving yourself!

    At MBS we have a “can do attitude” and as a result I’d like to think we define ourselves by ensuring customers are never let down. Yeah; we get shafted on different building sites, stuck in traffic, rare vehicle breakdowns etc but we still find a way to get it done. You need it, we’ll do it and we don’t compromise on service!

    Christmas is a fantastic time of the year as it’s a great opportunity to spend quality time with the family. Quality time isn’t just sitting at a table with loved ones, it’s so much more. Take action and give mum, dad, your siblings and those you love a hug. Tell them how important they are to you and what it means to have them in your life. The greatest gift you can give is love and although it seems so easy it’s so hard for a lot of us.

    Take action; don’t just say it…….do it!

    MBS wishes everyone a safe, happy and wonderful Christmas and new year.


    Fernando de Sousa 

    19Dec 19Dec

    The year that was 2016

    Posted By m b

    The year that was 2016


    Here we are once again, with Christmas only a few days away one wonders how quickly this “time” of year comes around as you get older. “Time” seems to fly by!

    Why does “time” fly by? I don’t know the exact answer to this question and I suppose everyone’s individual circumstances would contribute to answering this question differently; however I think that with every passing year we take on a little more responsibility be it with the family, work or the stresses of living in Sydney making us more “time” poor. “Time” is precious and I know that I personally take it for granted sometimes and I’m sure you occasionally do to. It isn’t until “time” is no longer available that you appreciate its worth.

    This year MBS lost a great long term friend. This person’s infectious cheerful personality is sadly missed and we grieve his loss. We will never hear his “G’day, G’day” greeting ever again. Unfortunately it isn’t until someone passes that we remind ourselves of what is really important in life…..”TIME”.

    From the moment we are born we are given a limited amount of “time” on this amazing planet and every day that passes is one day closer to our expiry date. “Time” is precious and one needs to manage it properly when it comes to family, friends, work and everyday life. Without “time” we cannot enjoy and appreciate the things we take for granted.

    2016 will forever be an unforgettable year for my Mrs and I as we welcomed our first child into the world. The moment the doctor placed her in our arms our world changed forever. She is the centre of our universe and we give her all the “time” we can, it fly’s by so quickly.

    33 years ago MBS was just a small hardware shop in Maroubra but over “time” has evolved into a one stop shop for masonry trades in Matraville with the ability to lift materials 17 meters on site with our “HULK” crane truck. As “time” has passed we have grown and it’s all thanks to you! Our loyal customers are the reason we are here and we thank you for your support. Wow……it’s been 33 years! THANK YOU!

    This Christmas I ask that you take some “time” to talk and laugh with your family and friends. Appreciate their time as it fly’s by so quickly.

    MBS wishes everyone a safe, happy and wonderful Christmas and all the best in the coming year.


    Fernando de Sousa

    General Manager

    04Nov 04Nov

    I know your name!

    Posted in General By m b

    I know your name!


    “Sorry what is your name?”……..I get asked this every time I visit my local gym (big chain brand). It’s frustrating because I’ve been a member there since 2005. That’s right; over 11 years and even though I see the same faces behind the counter every visit they still can’t acknowledge me by my name. I’m just a number! You know what I’m talking about and I’m sure you have a similar story.

    The guy at my local coffee shop on the other hand not only knows my name but starts making my coffee as soon as he sees my car pull up. I feel like my business is valued and I’m not “just another number”. His boisterous personality and the fact that he makes a damn good coffee coupled with his excellent service make me look forward to my “morning pick me up” every day.

    MBS has grown a lot over the years and today is big enough to deliver but still small enough to care. That’s where we differentiate ourselves from the opposition. I know all my customers….yes I know all of you by name…..yes it is a lot of names to remember, but I do. I encourage all the MBS staff to learn every customers name as well. Why? Because you’re not a “number”, your business is valued and because I genuinely care. We work with you to understand your business needs and the best way to service your projects; “if you’re not happy or satisfied with our service then we’re not happy!” 

    Your name is part of your identity and it would be disrespectful for me not to know it. We welcome you by name, talk to you and understand that you deserve to be treated respectfully and with dignity. I make myself available on my mobile after hours and any day of the week to assist you with any enquires. We try to offer a level of service that the competition can’t match and that you appreciate.

    Next time someone who ought to know your name asks what your name is; tell them: “you should know it by now”.  If they don’t acknowledge your comment then they obviously don’t care! 


    Team MBS thanks you for your support!

    Fernando de Sousa

    General Manager 

    07Jun 07Jun

    In The Know

    Posted in General By m b

    “Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.” 
    ― Albert Einstein


    As Australians we love the underdog…..who doesn’t love a great success story??? Maybe that’s why “reality TV” has become the highest rating TV occupying the “prime time” hours??? Regardless we love it and it is here to stay!

    Reality TV is great when it touches our emotions and inspires us, but why do we love watching it????....... Is it because we imagine ourselves in their shoes and how we would deal with different situations and scenarios? Is it because human nature is to be curious? Whatever the reason we love them and that’s why the major TV channels spend millions making these shows a success.

    Reality TV has no boundaries with everything from modelling, singing, dancing, cooking, weight loss, marriage, wife swapping, house wife’s, renovating and building becoming fair game for prime time TV ratings. These shows are highly successful but where is the “value” in what we are watching?? What can and are we learning from these shows? The take home message can sometimes be a little misleading and unrealistic.

    The shows I find the worst and most misleading are the renovating and building shows. They are laden with inappropriate practice and the lack of “value” in what we watch is massive. The lack of “value” comes with another and often neglected downside. THEY ARE UNREALISTIC!! It is unrealistic to demolish, rough in, render, screed, waterproof (2coats), tile and fitout a bathroom in 5 days. It’s unrealistic because things have and require a due process. Things need to dry, cure etc before application….but its TV and we don’t see what the job looks like 6 months later. There is no “value” in watching things being done incorrectly!


    MBS has the privilege of supplying some of Sydney’s best tradies. Some of whom have been loyal customers for over 10, 20 and 30years, who have worked onsite building a wealth of knowledge through hard work and experience. Then reality TV comes along broadcasting a bunch of inexperienced people that are “want to be builders” pushed by stupid unrealistic deadlines and managed by people who should know better………. and everyone thinks it’s easy to be a tradie. It’s easy to build a home and anyone can do it. NO THEY CAN’T!!!

    These shows under value a tradesman’s worth. All the years of going to TAFE, blood, sweat and tears shed in the elements learning and mastering a trade to one day call yourself a “tradesman” and be successful in your field only to have your “value” thrown in your face by some reality TV show that glorifies things done incorrectly and on the “cheap” by inexperienced people. I can’t think of a worse show……and people love it. People think this is how it works in the real world and the reality is the opposite. A quality job done by a licensed tradie takes experienced hands, time, comes with warranty/insurance providing you with peace of mind and costing you less long term.

    These reality TV shows may be successful but they undervalue real tradie’s who have worked so hard to be successful and provide the “value” for money people pay for, guaranteeing every job with their reputation and lively hood on the line! 

    10Feb 10Feb

    In The Know

    Posted in General By m b

    “Every man’s home is his castle”!


    In the movie “The Castle” the great Australian dream is all about owning your own home. A place we can call our own, a place where we can enjoy time with our families and grow.

    There are many reasons for which owning your own home is appealing but the biggest is the fact that you have something that is yours. Owning a home means that you have invested in yourself and your future! It’s not someone else’s place that you’re paying off, we all know that “rent money is dead money!”

    It’s an investment that continues to grow over time…..bought it for a million today and sold it for 2 million 5 years later. Obviously that is overly exaggerated but you get the picture, property is a sound investment or at least it has been in Australia. 


    In my opinion owning a property does not mean you own a “home”…….my belief is we buy a property and over time we turn it into a “home”. A “home” is a sanctuary, a place where we are the ruler and king and no man can come and dictate his terms and if someone enters my house they do it under my rules. It is where families grow together, a place where memories are created and a place where we can hide from the world.


    My partner and I have just moved into our house. It is not yet a “home” but a great starting place for our vision of what a “home” should be. It will be where my partner and i start a family and where memories will etch themselves forever, a place where we will remember moments of our lives that make us smile, bring a tear to our eye and we will for ever hold an emotional attachment.


    I have started the process of renovating my house with the ultimate goal of turning it into a “home”. The renovation will include knocking down walls, new bathroom, new kitchen and cleaning up bits and pieces. I’m fortunate to work at MBS and as a result I can source most of the materials I need for my renovation quickly and easily.


    MBS is no longer simply a “sand and cement yard”, but a comprehensive and handy masonry one stop shop! Whether it’s a tiling, concreting, bricklaying or rendering job; MBS has the right materials at the right price to help you turn your house into “the great Australian dream”!


     “A house is a house until it becomes a home”!


    Fernando de Sousa

    10Dec 10Dec

    In The Know

    Posted in General By m b


    Family is the most important thing in the world.

    Princess Diana

    The stresses of everyday life can sometimes leave us with a cloudy vision of what is important and what should take priority in our lives.

     With the “silly season” upon us we are overloaded with a multitude of materialistic needs and wants...none of which are genuinely important. It is easy to get caught up in all the marketing hype the retail industry creates, temptation is all around us and one must exercise discipline in order to avoid maxing out the credit card.

     Amongst work and other distractions it is easy to take family for granted. The people closest to me are the same people who I put on the back burner……..i shouldn’t but the routine of daily life……..I’m just ranting and creating excuses………...

     This time of the year offers a great opportunity to spend quality time with the family. The simplest things in life end up creating some of the best memories and heart-warming moments so make the most off the opportunity to talk, laugh, celebrate and enjoy each other’s company. You can max out a credit card but you cannot max out love and appreciation for your family.

     Don’t place the importance of “presents and gifts” in place of being around the people you love and who love you back unconditionally!

     I take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe, happy and wonderful Christmas break and a prosperous new year.


    Team MBS,

    05Nov 05Nov

    In The Know

    Posted in General By m b



    Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do.

    Potter Stewart


    So right about now you are wondering:

    What is this about???? Ethics??? What does this have to do with selling sand, cement and building materials?

    As a little boy I did a paper run for a local newsagency in Clovelly. I shared this role with another two boys and each of us was given a specific route completely covering our local area. Being 11 years old and trying to save for a “Nintendo” meant that the more papers I sold the more commission I would receive, combine this with the potential tips from extra sales and I would be playing “Nintendo” in no time………This goal could have been achieved sooner had I been sneaky and over lapped on my fellow work mates route, but even at such a tender age I knew that this would be wrong and ethically incorrect.

    You see, my parents taught me well. Mum always said: “do to others as you would have them do to you”. This has never left my train of thought and I live everyday “ethically” as best I can. Now….im not perfect and no one is, but I know the difference between what is right and what is wrong.

    The other day one of our loyal customers renovating his home mentioned that he had an MBS competitor site board appear on his fence without his approval. …   Looking further into this we noticed the competitor going hard out with site signs appearing on every job site in the area, even sites that are not supplied by them.

    So what’s wrong with this practice??  A business works very hard to build a customer relationship.   You need to understand the customer needs, budget, deadlines, preferred products and delivery requirements.  But even more important in the customer relationship is a successful partnership that includes sincerity, honesty and transparency. 

    I come to work every day in full knowledge of what I hope to achieve each day. My goal is to provide you with the best service possible, competitive pricing and most importantly making your MBS experience a positive one. 

     Animals don’t practice ethical behaviour only humans, that’s why we are top of the food chain! 

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