Recommended Solution: Sil-block

Rain water is launching salts out of your masonry walls.

Sources of Efflorescence

WHAT IS EFFLORESCENCE?

Efflorescence is a crystalline deposit of alkaline salts. It is usually white in color and appears on the surface of masonry, concrete, stucco, plaster, concrete blocks, etc ...

There are many sources for water-soluble salts with some salts more soluble than others. The movement of groundwater into building foundations and by capillary action, or wicking, upwards into masonry, stucco or concrete, is very often the cause of efflorescence. In the case where soil conditions exhibit Silmix, precautions should be taken to preclude the passage of this water to the structure. Low absorption is the best assurance against efflorescence. Properly graded aggregates, low water- cement ratio, good compaction and proper curing practices will produce concrete of maximum density and low water absorption.

Removal of Efflorescence

Several methods are suggested. One is to use water under pressure; another is meiotic acid with subsequent flushing with water. Acid applied to brick masonry, without previous wetting, may cause "burning" or discoloration of the brick and may also eat into the mortar. The Handbook on Reinforced Grouted Brick Masonry Construction suggests the use of light sandblasting for removal of stubborn efflorescence (after many months). Allowing the surface to dry thoroughly and then using a stiff brush, prior to washing with water, has helped prevent re-penetration of the surface by the salt.

Various methods have been used in attempts to remove efflorescence from masonry structures. It has been found that when efflorescence is caused by soluble alkali salts, the salts will dissolve in water applied to the structure and migrate back into it. These salts would then reappear on the surface as the structure dried. It was learned accordingly, that the best way to remove these soluble salts was to brush the surface thoroughly with a stiff brush. Water, however, has been satisfactory for removing efflorescence from the face of concrete structures, since concrete is fairly well saturated with water. In fact, efflorescence in the form of alkali salts will be washed from the surface of concrete structures, if exposed to rain, over some period of time. If the coating is largely calcium carbonate or calcium sulfate, it adheres rather strongly and is difficult toremove by brushing. The practice developed in this case for masonry surfaces, has been to saturate the structure as thoroughly as possible with water, and then wash with diluted muriatic acid, followed immediately with an alkaline wash, then washed with water. The acid recommended is five (5) parts hydrochloric to one hundred (100) parts water, or twenty (20) parts vinegar to one hundred (100) parts water. The alkaline wash recommended is diluted household ammonia.

Much care must be taken in applying acid to Portland cement products. The acid will attack, not only the calcium carbonate and calcium sulfate efflorescence, but also other calcium compounds to produce calcium salts such as calcium chloride. It is, therefore, very important to neutralize the acid before it can attack other compounds.