Efflorescence Removal from the professionals
Efflorescence Removal Overview – What Is Efflorescence?
White Salt Build-up On Brick – Stone – Concrete & Masonry
Efflorescence (French for “to flower out”) is the migration of SALT to the surface of a porous material where it forms a coating of white salt stain. This typically occurs on brick, stone or concrete and leaves an uneven white coating of salt that stains the surface. The process usually occurs when the water that exists in the mortar between brick or mortar between stone during construction dissolves internal salts and the process of evaporation during curing migrates the salt to the surface where it dries leaving a white salt stain. This is called “primary efflorescence”. The process can also occur when salt water enters from the outside and then drying occurs, leaving the salt stain deposit on the surface. This is called “secondary efflorescence”.
Efflorescence is a cosmetic, aesthetic issue but (according to Wikipedia) “efflorescence may clog the pores of porous materials, resulting in the destruction of those materials by internal water pressure, as seen in the spalling of brick.”
Another problem occurs on concrete driveways, bridges and parking garages in which a saline solution from road salt is absorbed by concrete “where it can begin to dissolve cement stone, which is of primary structural importance… Where this process has taken hold, the structural integrity of… concrete… is at risk. This is a common traffic infrastructure and building maintenance concern. Secondary efflorescence is akin to osteoporosis of the concrete.”
The immediate and long range solutions are to remove the efflorescence white salt stain from the surface as it occurs. Various techniques of sealing have been tried but none to date are without consequences as bad or worse than the problems brought on by efflorescence.
Efflorescence removal on a Stone Chimney
Many contractors will not attempt to remove efflorescence from a brick, stone or masonry structure because it is difficult, time consuming, costly and sometimes dangerous. Removal of this white salt stain requires a knowledge of the material on the surface, proper equipment including safety equipment, proper chemicals and how to handle them safely and efficiently and sometimes an investment in OSHA training to operate the heavy equipment necessary to gain access to the structure’s surface.