Knowing More About Efflorescence And Its Effects

September 2, 2008
efflorescence
Do you know what efflorescence means? How does it occur and how it can be prevented? Well, most of us are not aware, and there are some who know what it is but does not know the procedure on how to remove it. Well it is simple and you don’t need to break your heads or pull your hairs out.

The efflorescence is nothing but a simple chemical phenomenon which affects bricks, concrete and other kinds of masonry that is common in many offices and homes. This efflorescence is caused or happens when there is loss of water from any kind of dissolved salt (i.e. a mineral compound) or hydrate salt (water saturated) when the particular material is exposure to low humidity and air.

Now this results in the formation of crystallization of the particular material. The example of the efflorescence is the creation of the table salt crystals which happens when a solution of table salt is kept in the open air. No doubt, the efflorescence can lead to various structural and cosmetic issue if they are not taken care properly.

Types of Efflorescence

Basically, there are two kinds of efflorescence –

  • Primary Efflorescence

Primary efflorescence often happens when there is the curing of the concrete, firestop mortars among the walls, and the presences of the cementitious materials. Now during the curing procedure, heat is created and this created heat will drive the given moisture to the given surface of the material. The water will carry along with it the salts which are often bounded to various components of the given surface of the material, thereby forming a special kind of fluffy white content called efflorescence.

The primary efflorescence content, especially in this context is called as ‘saltpetering’. This so called primary efflorescence can be easily wiped off. As the primary efflorescence takes out the salts which are not important for the structural integrity of the given materials, then it becomes a cosmetic concern.

  • Secondary Efflorescence

You don’t get the secondary efflorescence during the curing process. However, this usually happens when there are external concrete poisons like the chlorides. One of the common examples of the secondary efflorescence happens in garage floors, concrete bridges, sidewalks, driveways, and in other kinds of concrete structures which get exposed to road salt and even similar type of chemicals which are having chlorine.

The salt solutions will get stuck on the concrete and will easily penetrate it. Now the chlorines present in the salt solution can dissolve the cement stone and even sometimes weaken the structure. Most of the time, one can see various stalactites of hard and dissolved cement which hangs from the horizontal surfaces. Here the dissolved cement will create voids in the structure which can sometimes lead to crumbling and collapse.

Formation of Efflorescence In Houses

Most of the time, you can see the efflorescence getting formed on the concrete walls and floors of the building (especially on the inside). There are chances of the floor titles getting pop off especially when the efflorescence gets formed on the concrete which interferes with the adhesive. Now the same thing can occur with the concrete walls.

Most of the time, this occurs whenever there is any water problem like poor drainage, high amount of water tables, broken water lines and when the concrete absorbs the water which dissolves the salts that are present in the concrete. You can think of the efflorescence as a warning sign for tending the water issue before it leads to a structural deal.

Removal of Efflorescence

The method of protecting against the harmful kind of efflorescence is nothing but a matter of sealing the entire concrete, tile, brick and other kind of materials along with using a hydrophobic sealer product. There are various manufacturers of such kind of sealers like V-Seal and Aldon Chemical. However, it all depends on the climate. In climates which are subjected to thaw cycles and freeze, the anti- efflorescence sealers might lead to various kind of structural damage due to cracking.

Both the efflorescence can be removed using the dilute phosphoric acid. Once that is applied, the given acid solution will be removed and neutralized using a mild solution of detergent. This treatment will easily remove all the crystals of the efflorescence from the given surface. However it will not cure the major or the root cause of the efflorescence. The given efflorescence will again appear if the material is not secured against any kind of penetration of the salt solutions.

Wrapping Up

There are certain kinds of cements which are quite resistant to chlorides when compared to others. So, one thing you need to keep in mind is that the selection of cement will just affect the likelihood of the efflorescence formation. Therefore, the homeowners must consult contractors regarding the efflorescence resistant items.

 

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