What Efflorescence Means For Your Home
Efflorescence is a crystalline deposit appearing on the surfaces of masonry, stucco, or concrete. It is whitish in appearance and is the result of water moving through a wall or other structure. In some cases it might indicate that water is being driven out of the efflorescent surface from within. In reality, the whitish appearance is actually the result of salt deposits. These are water-soluble salts that come from a variety of sources. In order for efflorescence to be present, there must be water present to dissolve and transport the salts.
Groundwater is a common source of efflorescence. Channels in the soil move the salts, which then end up on as a whitish deposit on the outside of your home’s foundation. The salt-bearing water evaporates when it reaches a structure (such as your home), and this is what deposits the salt. In low humidity conditions, the water may evaporate before it reaches the surface of the structure. This means that the salt is deposited beneath the surface of the soil, instead of on the side of your house. However, in Maryland low humidity conditions are a rarity. Hence, the commonness of efflorescence on the exterior walls of Maryland homes.
There are a variety of ways to remove efflorescence from masonry. In some cases, brushing the surface with a stiff brush is enough to remove the whitish deposits from the side of a building. Long-term exposure to rain may also remove efflorescence in some cases. Some types of efflorescence, however, such as those that consist of calcium carbonate or calcium sulfate, can be more difficult to remove. In such cases, the masonry walls can be washed clean of efflorescence using a diluted muriatic acid and water solution followed by an alkaline (that is, vinegar) wash that is then rinsed with water.
Of course, since efflorescence is, in one sense, cause by moisture in or surrounding a structure, the presence of those tell tale whitish deposits may indicate a need for waterproofing. If you notice efflorescence on the side of your home, contact AA Action Waterproofing to discuss your waterproofing options.