How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes
Is efflorescence a serious problem?
Saturday, April 11, 2020
Efflorescence is not harmful and is primarily just a cosmetic problem. But it is a symptom of ongoing moisture intrusion behind the porous surface of a masonry wall, which can eventually cause structural damage if allowed to continue. The powder that forms is salts that are wicked to the surface of the wall and then left behind by the evaporating water.
Efflorescence can be removed with a diluted acid wash. White vinegar can be used, and then rinsed off, for small residential areas. There are also proprietary foumulas available. The water rinse should be used sparingly to avoid adding more moisture to the wall.
Sometimes efflorescence occurs in the months immediately after when a masonry wall is laid, as the the material releases moisture to adjust to the climate. This initial discoloration may disappear within a few months.
Also see our blog posts What are those powdery white areas on my brick walls? and What causes the surface of old bricks to erode away into sandy powder? and What causes raised white lines of residue on a block wall that are crusty and crumbling? and What does freeze damaged brick look like?
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To learn more about exterior walls and structures, see these other blog posts:
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