Efflorescence Causes, Removal, and Prevention

What is efflorescence?

EfflorescenceBrickEfflorescence is a crystalline deposit of salts (carbonates, sulfates, chlorides) that may appear as a chalky or white haze on surfaces of masonry, stucco or concrete.

The efflorescence  you are observing in your pavers is Calcium Carbonate, a by-product resulting from an interaction between the cement used to manufacture the paving stone and the natural environment, which includes the ground, the weather, and the atmosphere. In clay brick, the main component that can cause efflorescence is usually Sodium Chloride.

Efflorescence may appear soon after the pavers are installed or it could appear months after depending on several factors such as the climate, humidity, and the ingredients in the materials being used (such as cement, lime, pigments, and aggregate). When the stone is wet, you may notice that the efflorescence has disappeared but this is only due to water turning the efflorescence salts temporarily transparent rather than actually removing them. Once the surface dries, the efflorescence salts will re-appear.

EfflorenecePaversThere is no need to worry because your pavers and brick are not defective. Efflorescence is naturally occurring in cement based products and it will correct itself with time and exposure to the elements.

Why does efflorescence occur?

Concrete products contain cement which produces lime or water soluble calcium oxide. Since pavers have millions of microscopic capillaries, when moisture enters these capillaries it reacts with the calcium oxide and then calcium hydroxide is formed. This rises to the surface and reacts with carbon dioxide in the air and forms a white haze of calcium carbonate. When the moisture on the surface of the paver evaporates it leaves behind the white haze of efflorescence. Still curious about its formation? For a very in depth explanation of efflorescence please click here.

Efflorescence Diagram

How do you eliminate efflorescence?

As mentioned above, efflorescence is a naturally occurring phenomenon and it will correct itself with time and exposure to the natural elements.Since many factors are involved in the formation of efflorescence it is hard to determine when it will stop occurring. But if you would like to alleviate the problem quicker there are detergents available that can help clean and remove efflorescence. Another option to prevent efflorescence is to seal the pavers with a breathable sealant once the efflorescence is cleaned off.

Enjoy your beautiful pavers efflorescence free!

TLC Supply carries several professional grade detergents and breathable siloxane/silane sealers that can help alleviate the effects of efflorescence. We also carry a wide selection of premium pavers from Techo Bloc, GenestBelgard and Cambridge Pavers. Please visit our website to see even more hardscape and masonry products ranging from bluestone,granite,brick,natural stone,block,sand,cement, and much more!

Before you go check this out! You may even like our posts  on How to Build a Paver Patio

The experts at TLC Supply are happy to answer any of your project questions, just give us a shout! Leave your questions or comments below. 

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