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Efflorescence

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Efflorescence results in whitish streaks appearing on masonry materials exposed to the elements. Soluble salts migrate with moisture and react with alkaline compounds in cement. We therefore see crystalline accumulations appear on the surface of masonry units when the water evaporates.

Be aware that soil moisture can also rise by capillary action in the walls and trigger the phenomenon.

Contrary to popular belief, efflorescence is not just normal, but its presence on brick very rarely affects its structural strength. Its occurrence is inevitable and widespread in humid climates like ours. However, it is possible to control it and reduce its effects.

The magnitude of the phenomenon lies in the concentration of soluble salts that can interact with water.

As such, the efflorescence that occurs on the surface is mainly an aesthetic problem that stains the materials. Its presence, on the other hand, indicates an excess of humidity in the affected material; such an anomaly must be investigated without delay to avoid unpleasant surprises, either invisible structural damage or mold growth.

Three situations can arise, and their severity turns out to be quite different:
First, the moisture that caused the efflorescence may have been picked up by the material when it was placed (for example, it comes from the water used to mix concrete or mortar). In this case, the problem will not repeat itself after the evaporation is complete and the surface cleaned.

Second, it can be water that permeates a dry material well after installation. This can happen if water seeps behind a brick siding or collects in the ground around or below a building. In such cases, the bloom could last as long as the problem persists. The corrective work required takes different forms depending on the situation: repair of the masonry structure, waterproofing or drainage of the foundations, etc.

Efflorescence

Another problem with efflorescence occurs in a very dry environment: sometimes the water evaporates before reaching the surface of the material and the salt deposit occurs instead below its surface. The efflorescence can then deteriorate the material through chipping or chipping.

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