Efflorescence is a crystalline deposit of salts often seen on the surface of concrete, brick, stucco, tile or natural stone surfaces from passing water/moisture. It’s often a powdery white substance that can be easily recognized on floors and walls. Efflorescence is “to flower out” in French, salt flowering out of the surface. The most common reaction happens on any material containing Portland cement. It starts forming as moisture passes through the porous concrete or grout. Once the moisture passes through and begins to evaporate into the air, minerals are left behind as deposits on surfaces. When efflorescence happens and that salt coating forms on your home stucco, brick or stone you can try a few cleaning techniques. For some salts, you might be able to use a dry brush to scrub away the salt deposits. If that does not work, try using cleaning agents to wash away or a power washer, depending on the surface.
It’s best to try and remove the calcium hydroxide efflorescence before it combines with carbon dioxide as it become almost impossible to remove. For this reoccurring process cleaning efflorescence from a surface, is a treatment rather than a cure.
Efflorescence can sometimes indicate internal structural weakness. sealing a surface might be a solution, but the surface could start spalling if water comes in contact. Concrete spalling can appear when humidity and water gets exposed to the rebar, resulting in rust. The reaction is driven by water, either from above or below a cement slab. Only vapor barriers can prevent the movement of moisture form the subgrade to the surface of a slab.
If you notice any white powdery substance on your tile floors, this is an early warning sign of a much bigger problem. Efflorescence on tile can only happen if you have moister passing through and evaporating leaving behind salt deposits. Foundation Waterproofing 101 is the only waterproofing expert in Florida and we fully understand how to properly correct your Efflorescence and Calcium Deposit issues.
Please feel free to call our office and ask any questions or to schedule your free inspection.