The new “Eff” Word – Part 1
Talk a walk around your home and you have may noticed some pesky salt deposits. Maybe your paving has some white fluffy deposits. Or that the concrete paths around your home and garage have some salt and moisture stains. Your Lino might be crunchy to walk on or perhaps you have just recently lifted your old carpet and underneath it was wet and there is salt on your concrete floor.
These are all common occurrences in house-holds around Australia. And the problem is called Efflorescence.
Most masonry materials such as concrete, concrete pavers, concrete blocks, some clay bricks and many natural stones have a network of pores and capillaries that allow moisture to slowly pass through the masonry.
This moisture often contains water soluble salts.
Once it reaches the surface the moisture will evaporate depositing the salts on the surface where they bloom and form the coating.
Sources of Efflorescence?
Water soluble salts can be found in many sources.
Most commonly groundwater itself carries salts with it. When this groundwater is in direct contact with foundations, slabs, or retaining walls the moisture and salts pass through the masonry at a rate dependent on their porosity. It can take years for any evidence of efflorescence from groundwater to appear or it can take very little time at all.
Another potential source is that salts can exist in the mixing water that has been used in the mortar, render or concrete. Or the masonry products were exposed directly to the elements and moisture was allowed to absorb prior to construction.
The salts can also be naturally occurring in the masonry itself or in the case of clay products in the manufacturing process.
Effect of Efflorescence?
These salts if left unchecked will begin to negatively affect the overall appearance of the masonry/concrete. Firstly the salts themselves look unsightly.
Secondly the efflorescence will harden and will slowly begin to erode away the affected surface. This will crumble, pit and potentially expose aggregate.
Next time on the Blog will we cover how to prevent Efflorescence and how it can be best treated.