WHAT IS EFFLORESCENCE?
Efflorescence refers to the formation of a powdery or crystalline deposit on or underneath the surface of various types of masonry. The deposit is usually an unappealing shade of white, brown, gray, or yellow and mars the aesthetic appeal of the walls.
Efflorescence on walls results when water present in the building surfaces dissolves certain salts and migrates to other areas, leaving behind salty deposits as it evaporates. It is among the most challenging waterproofing problems to solve. Unfortunately, efflorescence cleaning is a major problem when it comes to concrete surfaces.
Concrete efflorescence can be triggered by faulty waterproofing, humidity, rain, and condensation. While exterior efflorescence is tricky enough, treating interior efflorescence is considered even more challenging.
Common Causes Of Efflorescence:
- The presence of certain salts in the construction materials used
- Improper raising of masonry following repointing
- Incomplete hydration process/improper curing of concrete
- Improper flashing or caulking
- Excessive water added to the concrete
- Improper drainage
- Inadequate provisions for ventilation
- Sulfation of pyrites in clay
- Improper ground storage
Two Kinds of Efflorescence
1. Primary Efflorescence
This type of efflorescence occurs when concrete is in the curing phase. If water with soluble salts or lime emerges to the surface and evaporates, leaving a powdery residue, it is known as primary efflorescence.
2. Secondary Efflorescence
Secondary efflorescence occurs after the concrete has hardened. When external moisture migrates to a concrete surface and infiltrates it causing the appearance of powdery deposits, it is known as secondary efflorescence.
The problems posed by efflorescence on walls aren’t just aesthetic. Left untreated, it can lead to structural damage as well. While there are many traditional methods for efflorescence cleaning, these are seldom effective.
HOW TO SPOT EFFLORESCENCE
Efflorescence can be a frustrating issue for property owners, affecting brick, concrete, and cement surfaces. It occurs when soluble salts, present in building materials, are drawn to the surface through moisture migration. If left untreated, it can lead to unsightly white, powdery deposits on walls and structures, compromising their aesthetics and structural integrity. To address efflorescence promptly and effectively, it's crucial to spot it early on. Here are some pointers to help you identify efflorescence:
- White, Powdery Deposits: The most evident sign of efflorescence is the appearance of white, chalky deposits on the surface of walls or other structures. These deposits are usually more noticeable after rain or periods of high humidity when moisture brings the salts to the surface.
- Discoloration and Stains: Efflorescence can cause discoloration and staining on the affected surfaces. As water evaporates, it leaves behind salt deposits, leading to unsightly marks on the brick, concrete, or cement.
- Crusty Residue: When you touch the affected area, you may notice a crusty texture caused by the accumulation of salts on the surface. The residue can be easily scraped off, but it may reappear if the underlying issue is not addressed.
- Damp or Moist Walls: Efflorescence is often associated with areas that experience moisture intrusion or water seepage. If you notice damp or moist walls, especially in basements or areas exposed to water, efflorescence may be a probable culprit.