brick efflorescence

One of the most common issues with brick masonry especially face brick is that of efflorescence, unfortunately this is common on new masonry units, it is powdery and sometimes “fluffy” deposit that forms on the surfaces of porous buildings such as concrete block, clay brick and mortar and concrete.

As a rule the formation of efflorescence requires 3 conditions; the presence of soluble salts, excessive amounts of water and evaporation of water as the masonry units dry, depositing salts on the surface.

The soluble salts that appear as efflorescence can enter the wall from various sources;

Mortar components, particularly cement, soil or fill in contact with the wall, Sea spray in coastal areas.

Dealing with efflorescence.

Any situation that allows excessive amounts of water to enter the wall is likely to promote efflorescence. The most common causes are; poor copings and flashings, The failure to protect new brickwork when rain interrupts bricklaying, poor storage of masonry units on site. Before units are placed in the wall they can absorb ground salts and excessive water in the stockpiled masonry, and can mobilise latent salts if they are present in the masonry.

Persistent efflorescence may be a warning that water is entering the wall through faulty copings, flashings or pipes.

Most efflorescence will naturally disappear over time, however its removal can be accelerated by brushing with a stiff dry brush. There are many products available to treat efflorescence such as Eff-Ex®.

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