Have you ever seen a brick or concrete wall that was covered in a white, chalky substance? That substance is called efflorescence and it can make your home look dilapidated and run down. Fortunately, you can remove it and get your home’s exterior looking as good as new.
What is Efflorescence?
Efflorescence forms when water evaporates from brick, concrete, stucco, or stone and leaves behind crystalline salt deposits. This can leave patches of powdery, white crystals covering an otherwise immaculate wall.
What Causes Efflorescence?
Efflorescence can appear anywhere a certain set of circumstances is present – indoors or outdoors. Generally, efflorescence happens when you have an environment where there are water-soluble salts, moisture that can hold those salts, and a surface that this moisture can cling to, leaving the salt behind when it evaporates.
Under normal circumstances, groundwater, rain, and snow are the culprits of efflorescence in and around your home. And though it can occur anywhere, there are several reasons why it may happen more prominently in some places rather than others.
Your home may be more susceptible to efflorescence if it has…
- Joint material (such as mortar) that’s failing.
- Improper ground storage.
- Masonary that lacks a healthy moisture barrier or proper ventilation.
- A poor use of through-wall flashing.
If you’ve dealt with efflorescence in the past, you may have noticed that it shows up more often during certain seasons than others. Generally, it’s more common during the winter months since rain, snow, and sleet are more likely to fall and cling to your home’s exterior.
Can Efflorescence be Prevented?
Yes, it can be prevented. There are a number of different things you can do to minimize the impact of efflorescence, including applying a hydrophobic sealant which will repel water, adding capillary breaks between your soil and building material, installing sprinklers a healthy distance from your home, utilizing grout with mechanical vibration, and more.
How to Remove Effloresence from Your Home…
If you already have efflorescence, it can be removed.
Pressure Washer. One of the simplest methods for removing it is to use a pressure washer. Since it’s nothing more than salt crystals, blasting it with a power washer will get your wall or other structure looking brand new in no time. But after you’re through, you may want to dry it off so that it doesn’t simply reappear after the pressurized water evaporates.
Vinegar. Vinegar is a wonder cleaner. And if you have some sitting around the house, you can slightly dilute it and use a rag to clean off any efflorescence you may have on the exterior of your home. It’s easy to use, handy, and it doesn’t have any harmful chemicals like industrial cleaners might.
Get Your Home Looking Brand New
You don’t have to settle for a salt-caked home exterior. You can get it clean and looking as good as new in no time. And after you’ve got it cleaned off, don’t forget to put some of the preventative measures in place that we mentioned above.
That way, you’ll never have to worry about efflorescence again.