What is Efflorescence and is it Serious?

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What is Efflorescence and is it Serious?

Have you noticed something that looks like this on the brick or concrete areas of your home?

Efflorescence Blog Image 2 - What is Efflorescence and is it Serious?
Efflorescence Blog Image 1 300x300 - What is Efflorescence and is it Serious?

Perhaps the report you have received after a building inspection mentions the term ‘efflorescence’ and you’re not sure what it is.

We will look at what causes efflorescence, how it can be treated and prevented.

Efflorescence is a deposit or migration of mineral salts to the surface of a porous material such as concrete and masonry walls or floors, where it forms a coating.

It has a white, powdery appearance and can be evident in varying degrees on walls and tiles.

What causes efflorescence?

Efflorescence is caused when water-soluble salts travel to the surface of a building’s concrete, render, brick or mortar from the substrate (the layer of your home’s foundation over which floor coverings area laid).

It consists mainly of calcium carbonate.

How to remove efflorescence

Efflorescence will only stop forming when the migration of moisture through the substrate is eliminated.

Efflorescence can be removed by brushing with a stiff bristled brush, followed by the application of a mild (5%) solution of white vinegar in water. The affected area should then be wiped down with a damp cloth and allowed to dry thoroughly.

More severe cases of efflorescence can be treated with a stronger acidic solution (one part 35% commercial grade calcium chloride to three parts water). This should be allowed to dry for 48 hours. This should be carried out by a tradesperson experience in treating this issue.

Painted surfaces already damaged by efflorescence should not be repainted until the source of the moisture is identified and eliminated or blocked. This may require the services of a quality waterproofing specialist.

However, if efflorescence continues unabated, you may have a problem with moisture ingress from an external source, which may lead to significant problems down the track.

How to prevent water ingress into your home

As a home-owner, there are several things you can do to prevent moisture ingress:

  • Gutter maintenance – blocked guttering and broken downpipes can allow rainwater to splash against the exterior of your home, leading over time to penetrating dampness. Regularly clear out your gutters to prevent a build-up of leaf and dirt debris. Check your downpipes regularly for blockages and repair and replace as necessary.
  • Remove Vegetation – ivy, climbing plants and vegetation that grows right beside the exterior of your home can damage the exterior building materials and hold moisture against the wall surfaces, leading to moisture ingress. Cut back plants and make sure nothing is growing too close to the base of your exterior walls.
  • Check your external walls for cracks and pointing and render and areas where the render may have come away, or for bricks which have a rough or porous surface, and repair or replace as necessary.

If you are having a new home built, waterproofing measures at each crucial stage of the build will prevent damage from water ingress and water leaks throughout your home.

At the base stage, damp-proofing membrane is laid and taped. At the fixing stage, the quality of waterproofing, particularly in bathroom areas, should be checked so that the tiling of walls/and or floors can begin.

At the final stage (also called PCI or handover stage), an inspection checks that appropriate sealing and caulking has been made to all wet areas, and that all plumbing has been completed.

If you are searching for a new home, are embarking on a new home build, or have noticed an issue at your property that you think requires attention, contact The Home Inspection Hub.

We conduct fully-independent, thorough residential building inspections throughout Melbourne, Geelong and Central Victoria.

A pre-purchase building and pest inspection can uncover any serious issues that may be present with a property that you are interested in.

We are proud to partner with Crunch Pest Control for our pest inspections.

The Home Inspection Hub conducts all stage of new home construction inspections: base stage, frame stage, lock-up/pre-plaster stage, fixing stage and handover stage.

We offer a discount when you book a new home construction package of  four or more inspections.

Noticed an issue at your home and not sure how serious it is or what to do next?

We can arrange a special purpose inspection to investigate the issue and offer suggestions for rectification.

The Home Inspection Hub also conducts owner builder defects (137b) reports, renovation inspections, tax depreciation reports and VCAT reports and expert witness

We can also arrange stand-alone PCI reports, contract review and maintenance inspections for your new home.

Ready to book?

Call 1300 071 283, email info@thehomeinspectionhub.com.au or send us a free quote request today.