What is Efflorescence?
You probably have seen it on basement walls. You may have thought it was dust or a type of mold or mildew. It’s that light, powdery substance that shows up on masonry walls, and it’s called efflorescence.
The good news is efflorescence does not pose a health risk to you or your family. The bad news is, if it’s in your basement, you have a moisture problem.
Efflorescence is residue left behind when water-soluble salts and minerals seep through porous masonry surfaces in liquid form, and then the moisture evaporates. Usually it’s white, but depending on the type of salt and minerals present, it may appear brown, green or yellow.
Conditions must be just right for efflorescence to occur. Salt and soluble alkali sulfates are typically present in cement, grout and masonry materials, but there must be moisture to combine with these salts or minerals, and a path—a gap or crack—in the masonry through which the dissolved minerals can pass. All three of these elements must be present for efflorescence to exist.
While efflorescence isn’t harmful, it is unattractive, and over time it can cause your basement wall to deteriorate, peeling, cracking and flaking so that masonry begins to crumble and eventually needs repair. Since its occurrence usually is an indication that a moisture problem is developing in your basement walls, it is best to address those powdery patches quickly.
At Garrett Basement Waterproofing, we identify the efflorescence on your basement walls, then choose the best method to remove it so your walls and foundation are not further damaged. Sandblasting or chemical cleaning are both effective in removing efflorescence when used properly.
Then we locate and correct the moisture source in your basement walls that is allowing the production of efflorescence. Repair and preventative waterproofing is our proven method to prevent the reappearance of ugly efflorescence on your walls and floors.
Don’t try to address efflorescence yourself. Even if you are successful in removing it, it will reoccur if you have not addressed the problem that allowed it to develop in the first place. If you see efflorescence on your basement walls, call the experts at Garrett to take care of it so your walls and foundation are protected.