While it is sometimes mislabeled as white mold, efflorescence has nothing to do with fungi. It is typically found on brick, concrete, and stone, though it can also appear on wood. Whether an inspector recently found efflorescence during a home inspection or you’ve spotted it in your current residence, below is a helpful guide.
What Is Efflorescence?
Made entirely of water-soluble salts, efflorescence occurs when water seeps into a porous surface such as concrete or brick. The liquid leaves salt deposits in its wake, creating a white, crystalline, powdery substance on the surface when the water evaporates. Rain, snow, groundwater wicking, and condensation are among the main causes of these deposits that create cosmetic and structural problems.
Without treatment, efflorescence succumbs to osmotic pressures—or the salt deposits attract water for dilution purposes. This creates hydrostatic pressure that stresses building materials and causes spalling, or the breaking down of brick, concrete, and similar materials.
How Does It Differ From Mold?
It is easy to distinguish efflorescence from mold. Simply use a stiff brush on the affected area; if it’s efflorescence, it will come right off. It also comes off immediately when you wipe it with a wet rag.
Mold requires more intensive cleaning and will remain stuck to its surface without professional removal services. Additionally, efflorescence is always white, while mold comes in several colors, including green, black, pink, and orange.
How Can You Remove Efflorescence?
Dry brushing and sandblasting both remove efflorescence; however, you need to do more to keep it from coming back. Along with installing eaves and effective gutter and drainage systems that direct rainwater and melting snow away from your home, consider hiring someone to apply a hydrophobic sealant to help solidify the masonry work against moisture.
If efflorescence was found during a home inspection, it is the owner’s job to remove it and seal the surface. If the owner does not want to perform the work, renegotiate the selling price since you will have to pay for the services yourself.
The team at Hoodnu Home Inspections check for efflorescence and any other issues affecting the sale of a house to help buyers make informed decisions. Based in Lakewood, CO, this InterNACHI-certified company provides the Denver Metro and surrounding areas with detailed home inspection services, including radon and sewer scope inspections. Call (720) 539-2080 today or reach out online.to make an appointment.