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Removing Efflorescence from Masonry
Efflorescence is, for the most part, a visual problem. Very rarely does it cause structural problems. It is not always a simple problem to correct. Often, the efflorescence will diminish with time.

B 123 efflorescence

The condition can occur on concrete as well as brickwork or masonry surfaces. Several conditions must occur for efflorescence to appear. The soluble salts must be present in the bricks, mortar, or transported by water into the masonry from another source. You need sufficient water to carry the salts, in solution, to the surface of the masonry. Finally, evaporation must take place. This evaporation causes the salts to come out of the solution the result is a white crystalline deposit visual on the masonry surface called efflorescence.

The soluble salts which cause the problem can come from varies chemical elements or minerals. Many of these elements can be found in the materials from which bricks are made. Also, the sand which is used in the mortar can have significant quantities of soluble salts.

Efflorescence will in many cases cease on its own. The efflorescence can cease if supply of soluble salt material in the bricks or mortar becomes exhausted. It can also stop if the source of water which dissolves the soluble salts is cut off. The process can also stop if the water in which the salts are dissolved is prevented from getting to the surface of the masonry.

Depending upon the soluble salt which is causing the problem, you have several options as to removing the deposits. You can sometimes remove the dried deposits with a stiff brush.

B 123 brickwork wire brush

Sometimes water will wash the salts from the wall. However, this process can sometimes dissolve the salts and cause them to soak back into the wall.

Acid solutions can cause severe burns to skin and eyes. If you attempt to try to use an acid solution, always be certain to wear complete protective gear. Follow the directions on the acid container explicitly. Acid solutions improperly applied can damage the masonry surface as well.
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