What is efflorescence and how to minimise it

What is Efflorescence and How Do I Minimise It?

 What is efflorescence and how do to minimise it? First lets see what efflorescence is , so many homeowners recognize efflorescence as a white, powdery material that shows on walls and tiled areas. It may form on any concrete, stone, brick, or stucco surface and is most prone to occur quickly after a cold, rainy winter. Efflorescence has existed since the beginning of time and is a severe aesthetic concern in the construction industry 

Let’s learn what it is and how you can minimise it.

 

What is Efflorescence?

Efflorescence is a mineral deposit that can build up on water, soil, and concrete surfaces. It develops when water runs over an area long enough to dissolve the minerals in the ground. This can sometimes cause unsightly stains and patches on your landscaping.

 

What Causes Efflorescence?

Efflorescence happens when water-soluble salts migrate to the surface of the concrete. Mineral salts may be formed as a consequence of the cement hydration process. It can also originate from various sources, such as sulphate-rich sand. Porous concretes, brickwork, and mortars will be more prone to salt migration to the surface.

In addition, efflorescence is more likely to occur if the concrete has a high concentration of mineral salts. When salty water migrates to the surface, it evaporates, leaving a salt deposit that causes white colouring.

 

How to Remove Efflorescence

The most straightforward method for removing efflorescence is to wash the substrate and clean the affected area to check whether the spots vanish. To prevent the worsening of the problem, use clean water only. The sooner you try to remove the stains, the better, since time will be on your side.

To remove any standing water, it is critical to use a wet vacuum or sweep away with a broom or squeegee. If you have done the following and still aren’t getting any positive results, the next step is to dry-brush the area with a non-metallic brush. After brushing, use a scraper to remove any remaining loose salt.

You can also use commercial products specifically made to remove efflorescence from concrete. However, you need to make sure that all fractures and seams are well sealed. Always test the product on a small area first to ensure that it will function and not degrade the concrete.

 

How to Minimise Efflorescence

If not removed, efflorescence will continue to grow and damage your paving, bricks, or concrete. If you have vertical brickwork, you can easily brush away the deposits and eliminate them without further treatment. For horizontal surfaces such as pavers, the white stain will still be visible, especially if you have dark-coloured materials. This will require you to use specialty cleaning products to eliminate them.

As mentioned above, sealing your pavers is crucial as it prevents them from accumulating new water from the top and restarting the drying process. Note that you need to allow your pavers the chance to dry out thoroughly a few weeks after laying. This will prevent you from sealing in the efflorescence.

Remember, efflorescence can be treated. Allow your pavers to dry completely if you find them in your garden, patio, or driveway. This gives you a higher chance of as much efflorescence reaching the surface as possible. You can then use a specialized product to treat the affected area.